She played many instruments and appeared on radio and television, but she was best known for the skill that led to a role in Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose.”
As the title character in his film “Broadway Danny Rose” (1984), Woody Allen is a hapless talent agent known for his stable of weird, hard-to-book novelty acts: a blind xylophone player, a stuttering ventriloquist, a balloon folder — and Gloria Parker, who plays music by rubbing her moistened fingers along the rims of 28 crystal wine glasses.
“She is the Jascha Heifetz of this instrument,” Danny says in one scene, pitching her to the skeptical owner of a summer resort as she plays “The Band Played On.” “It’s incredible. Never took a lesson. This is self-taught. Next year, my hand to God, she’s going to be at Carnegie Hall.”
Miss Parker would later say that the film — in which she also performs for Danny’s clientele at a Thanksgiving dinner — led to an uptick in offers for bookings and increased attention for her mastery of the “singing glasses,” or glasspiel, which she learned from her grandfather.