Joan Parker, said to be the model for Spenser's girlfriend, psychologist Susan Silverman, collaborated with Robert B. Parker on teleplays for the “Spenser: For Hire” and “A Man Called Hawk” series, which ran on the ABC network in 1985–88 and 1989, respectively.
Read At Home with Joan Parker, Death and the Private Eye in the NYT: profile by Joyce Wadler after Robert Parker’s death at 77 in January 2010 described the Parkers’ “unconventional marriage” arrived at as a solution after a two-year separation:
They lived together, but separately, he on the ground floor of their Victorian house, she on the second floor. They had separate kitchens and bathrooms and, to a great extent, led separate lives. She was at charity functions most weeknights; he preferred staying in and watching baseball …
After Mr. Parker died this winter at his desk, following a heart attack, there were those who told Ms. Parker she was luckier than most, that the separate accommodations were a rehearsal for widowhood. They were partly right, Ms. Parker says. She does not have to adjust, say, to not seeing her husband puttering about the kitchen because she had her own kitchen.Materials from throughout the Parkers’ life are stored in The Robert B. And Joan H. Parker Collection at The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.