The wonderful, adorable,talented, and ever-vivacious June Allyson is one of my absolute favorite stars. She’s in a delectable group of similar stars (Doris Day, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Eve Arden…) who bring us more joy and happiness than we could ever describe, yet don’t often break into our top 3 of “favorite actors or actresses.” Why? I suppose there are several reasons. For one, with a few notable exceptions, their roles weren’t usually the type of roles that brought critical acclaim or award nominations.
They understood their “role” in Hollywood as well as they did their “roles” – they were there to bring happiness to movie-goers. The fact that they did so with such passion makes them among my favorite kinds of stars.
I mean, a legacy of happiness, laughter, and ear to ear smiles isn’t just a wonderful legacy – it’s the best legacy.
Another reason they may not make most people’s top 3 lists is the fact that they, more than many stars, seemed more like family. It’s often hard to think of Bob Hope or June Allyson as “actors” because we simply believe that IS them on the screen!
Naturally, if we slow down and think it through, we realize that they were as talented as anyone. They simply played the roles given to them so beautifully that we fell for the act hook, line, and sinker.
Below are 20 facts about June Allyson you may not know. She was a very lovable lady – onscreen and off.
- in The Bronx, New York.
- She initially turned down the offer to be a celebrity spokesperson for Depends undergarments. Understandably, given the sensitive nature of the subject. However, word is her mother changed her mind when she made June realize this was a serious problem many people dealt with and seeing a star they love talk about the subject could remove the stigma – making them feel less self conscious. She could also present them with a wonderful product that could help them a great deal.
- On August 28, 2019, she was honored as one of Turner Classic Movies Summer Under the Stars (I made a holiday of it and only budged from the den a handful of times!).
- Was close friends with: Esther Williams, Van Johnson, Claudette Colbert, Kathryn Grayson, Judy Garland, Jane Wyman, Gloria DeHaven, Ann Rutherford, James Stewart, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
- The Love Boat often paired actors and actresses who had worked together in the past. In 1978, in a segment titled, “Her Own Two Feet,” June Allyson and her friend and frequent costar Van Johnson starred in a story about a husband who is struggling to face the truth that his wife is losing her sight.
- June was very good friends with James Stewart and played his wife in three different films.
- She initially wanted to be a doctor, and got into acting merely as a way to make money to pay for medical school. Lucky for us, she stuck with acting and, instead, paid for her brother to become a doctor.
- Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1537 Vine Street.
- June could cry on cue, a talent she shared with her “Little Women” (1949) co-star Margaret O’Brien. June’s method for triggering tears was to “try very, very hard not to cry . . . So the more I thought about not crying the more I cried.” According to Allyson, during O’Brien’s death scene in Little Women, the two of them, “could not stop” crying!
- June Allyson was as huge a fan of Agatha Christie as I am. Like me, she collected every novel Agatha Christie ever wrote. She also cited the Christie character Jane Marple to be her favorite female detective.
- When she was eight years old, she was crushed by a falling tree limb while riding a bicycle. She wore a steel back brace for four years. Swimming therapy helped her regain her mobility and strength.
- She taught herself to dance by watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films.
- She married actor Dick Powell in 1945. They remained married until his death in 1963. He was only 58.
- Their first child, Pamela Powell, was adopted in 1948. As the couple were set to adopt a baby boy, June discovered that she was, in fact, pregnant. Their son Dick Powell, Jr. was born in 1950.
- June Allyson and Judy Garland were very, very close friends. In interviews after Judy Garland’s death, Allyson said that she could hardly talk about Judy without crying because she was such a special lady who didn’t have appropriate help available to her in her lifetime.
- She confessed, in her autobiography, that she had a short-term relationship with Alan Ladd.
- In May 2014, she was honored as Turner Classic Movie’s Star of the Month.
- She was a very petite 5′ 1.”
- Along with her husband Dick Powell, she persuaded future President of the United States Ronald Reagan to switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in 1962.
- She was fan of the TV shows Touched by an Angel, Mad About You, and Law & Order.