June Allyson Dies

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Katie
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June Allyson Dies

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Just heard this on CNN a few mintues ago, she was 88 years old.

Her daughter announced it - She died of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis after a long illness.


Although she wasn't a Doris Day to me, I still enjoyed watching her movies whenever they aired on TCM

June always seemed like total 'Girl Next Door' to me, much more so than Doris.

Anyway, it's just very sad that they're aren't many classic stars left...
- Katie

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Unread post by bluebird1115 »

June was a sweet gal, and quite a trooper. She never sent me into the clouds, but I always found her charming. We'll miss you June. You're right, Katie....very few of the old-timers still around. Thank goodness for the films, because if I had to pick a star today to follow I'd be out of luck.

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Sad News

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It is very sad to hear about the death of June Allyson - she shares my birthday - the date, not the year (Oct 7) !!

I love June, her voice etc, she was great and I agree, she 'was' the typical girl next door.

What I also loved about June was the fact she never seemed to age that much and never changed. Any recent (or relatively recent) picture of June was not too different from the June of the 1950's.

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June Allyson

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June Allyson

Actor whose sunny style and quivering lip embodied a simpler age


Ronald Bergan. Wednesday July 12, 2006. The Guardian

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Hollywood star June Allyson, who has died aged 88, was the screen embodiment of sweetness and light, whether enlivening MGM movies in the 1940s with her sunny personality or playing the faithful, lip-quivering wife in the 1950s. In a less cynical age than today, audiences found her irresistible, particularly when she was teamed up as James Stewart's wife, patiently waiting for him to return home: in The Stratton Story (1949), The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and Strategic Air Command (1955).

When Allyson was cast against type - as, for example, José Ferrer's shrewish wife in The Shrike (1955) - 90% of the audience at a preview wrote on their cards that they would never accept her in a wicked role. As a result, the film ending was re-shot with the character seeing the error of her ways, though it was not enough to appease the fans and the film flopped. After that she returned to more exemplary uxorial roles.
Allyson was born Ella Geisman in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of a building superintendent. Because of a bad fall at the age of eight, she was forced to wear a back brace for four years. She then took up swimming and dancing lessons to strengthen her limbs, and was soon good enough to enter dance competitions. "I used to cut school to go and see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers," she recalled. "I would brag that I could dance as well as them, so when an ad appeared in the papers for dancers, my friends dared me to audition." Years later she missed her chance to star opposite Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951) because she was pregnant.

While still a teenager Allyson got work in the chorus of nightclub shows, on Broadway and in a few short films, the first of which was Swing for Sale (1937). In 1940 she understudied Betty Hutton in Two for the Show. When Hutton contracted measles, Allyson took over for a few performances and was seen by producer George Abbott, who put her in Best Foot Forward, which earned her a part in the 1943 movie version and an MGM contract.

In her first three musicals, Allyson had to be content with speciality numbers, among them In a Little Spanish Town, sung with Gloria DeHaven in Thousands Cheer (1943), and Treat Me Rough, in Girl Crazy (1943), which also involved violently throwing Mickey Rooney around. The following year, she got her first top billing, in Two Girls and a Sailor (with DeHaven and Van Johnson), the movie that established her girl-next-door persona and gave her a historic jazz number, Young Man with a Horn, with trumpeter Harry James.

This was followed by Music for Millions (1945) and Two Sisters from Boston (1946), in both of which she played the responsible older sister to Margaret O'Brien and Kathryn Grayson, respectively. She made notable guest appearances in two biopics, singing the Jerome Kern title song of Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), and Rogers and Hart's Thou Swell, dwarfed between the rangy Blackburn twins in Words and Music (1947). By far her best role in a musical - and possibly her best film - was as a college girl in Charles Walters' campus caper Good News (1947), teaching Peter Lawford in The French Lesson and smiling through the dance finale, The Varsity Drag. She was also effective in such non-musicals as High Barbaree (1947), opposite Van Johnson, and as Constance to Gene Kelly's D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers (1948).

Allyson admitted to liking Louis B Mayer (a rare claim) because "my own father died when I was six months old, and I looked on him as a father". None the less, in 1949, when she told him she was going to marry Dick Powell, a twice-divorced man 13 years her senior, Mayer threatened to suspend her, a position he moderated only when Allyson asked him to give her away at the wedding. In spite of that he would not loan her out to play the title role in All About Eve (1950) at 20th Century Fox.

Allyson co-starred with her new husband twice in 1950, in The Reformer and the Redhead and Right Cross, neither of which provided as many sparks as her work with James Stewart. After Strategic Air Command she looked up at the sky again in The McConnell Story (1955), as husband Alan Ladd tested jets, and exuded wifely support to Van Heflin in A Woman's World (1954) and William Holden in Executive Suite (1954).

Curiously, Allyson appeared in more remakes than any other star in cinema history, and inevitably suffered by comparison with those who previously took the roles. Exceptions could be made for Good News, in the Bessie Love part, and in The Opposite Sex (1955), the musical remake of The Women, in which she was less anaemic than Norma Shearer. She was a spunky Jo in Little Women (1949); the runaway heiress in You Can't Run Away from It (1956), a lame musical directed by Powell; the rich girl falling for her butler in My Man Godfrey (1957); and an American tourist involved in a doomed affair in Munich in the soppy Interlude (1957). But although she gave a good account of herself in all of them, she could not obliterate the memory of Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard and Irene Dunne.

During their 18-year marriage Allyson and Powell had several public breakups, but were reconciled before his death from cancer in 1963. Allyson soon remarried, though it lasted barely a year. Her third marriage, in 1976 to dentist David Ashrow, lasted until her death.

Nine years after retiring in 1963, she returned to the screen in They Only Kill Their Masters, a whodunit in which she delighted in playing a bitter murderess, the sort of role she would never have been allowed to take on in her younger days. She appeared in only one other film, Blackout (1978), as a woman terrorised by criminals during a power failure in New York.

Visiting England in 1985 to plug the reissue of The Glenn Miller Story, Allyson looked almost the same as in those MGM musicals. When asked why she gave up show business, she said that the only roles she was being offered were as psychologically disturbed older women wanting younger men. She is survived by her husband, her son and her daughter.

· June Allyson (Eleanor Geisman), actor, born October 7 1917; died July 8 2006

(Amazing the studio took 7 years off her age! And that she could have had the Bette Davis part in "All About Eve.))

http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0 ... e_continue
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Thanks!

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Thanks, for that very informative bio, Bryan. Like me, Junie was born in the Bronx. I believe that she and DD had a fairly friendly relationship. I've seen pictures of them together on a number of occassions. She was a charming presence on film. I enjoyed much of what she did. Rest in peace.

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Unread post by DawnRenae »

She was right up there with Doris to me and I was a big fan. For some resaon I never even heard about it and I was just checking her website and saw the bad news. I was already having a bad day, and that does not help things. But, I came across this article

Allyson's niceness wouldn't fly in today's Hollywood

By Ed Blank
TRIBUNE-REVIEW FILM AND THEATER CRITIC
Sunday, July 23, 2006


If you think they're a dying breed, you're ... well, who's to argue with you?
We still have Doris Day, who was born April 3, 1924, the same day as the late Marlon Brando, who never worked with her.

And we have Jane Powell (April 1, 1929) and Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932), their early April links duly noted.

They're the last three, or at least the most successful three, surviving American "girls next door" now that June Allyson's July 8 death at age 88 removes her from a list that once included Judy Garland, Donna Reed and many others.

It's not that the actresses in question necessarily were who we perceived them to be. All privately were more ambitious than any character they played.

Although it was Powell who named her biography "The Girl Next Door," playing off her image from such movies as "Royal Wedding" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," Allyson embodied the girl-next-door concept more absolutely and in more movies than anyone.

Girls next door might be tomboys, like the one Day played in "On Moonlight Bay" and again in "By the Light of the Silvery Moon." She might win the family picnic softball game, get all greasy repairing the engine of dad's LaSalle or park her fists on her hips while telling off some bully.

But the girl next door was as sweet as "The Girl That I Marry" that the character Frank Butler rhapsodized about in "Annie Get Your Gun."

She could have gumption and get-up-and-go, but beyond the inevitable, even necessary, attractiveness, she was diplomatic, smarter than she let on, sensitive, conciliatory and, though virginal at her wedding, rarin' to become the perfect wife and the perfect mother without even a hint that maybe one led to the other.

She was nothing if not supportive. And being home all day keeping house, she was prepared to invest herself in the worries brought home by her breadwinning spouse in the post-World War II years.

The girl next door wasn't quite real, of course. She exemplified an ideal of American family life that was prevalent in the movies of the 1930s and '40s, that peaked in the early 1950s and had all but vanished by the late '60s.

It's easier for audiences today to appreciate the tougher, more independent, career-minded personality styles of Rosalind Russell and others, especially Katharine Hepburn, because such actresses seldom were offered, or accepted, parts that failed to define them as standing apart.

Hepburn and Allyson, both of whom played spunky Jo March in film versions of "Little Women," were men's best friends -- great allies in vastly different respects.

Hepburn marched into battles rattling a psychological saber, her eyes betraying a sharp wit and intelligence that even she, for all her mastery of craft, could not mask.

She was fond of saying that when she made nine films with the authoritative Spencer Tracy from 1942-67, the audience enjoyed seeing her buzz around him like an impertinent, smarter-than-he bee, but that the audience also savored the moment when he, even if just verbally, swatted her one.

No one swatted, or even glared in the direction of, the incomparably more docile Allyson, who won whatever she wanted with sheer niceness. She wasn't paired with the Tracys and the John Waynes of the business. Her one teaming with tough guy Humphrey Bogart in "Battle Circus" didn't work for either.

Allyson was paired multiple times with the more temperamentally suited Van Johnson, Peter Lawford and Jimmy Stewart -- but only when he was in nice guy mode. None was likely to betray or impose on such niceness.

We've changed so much as a society in so many ways since Allyson's heyday in "Good News" and "The Glenn Miller Story" that the world her movies defined and reflected must seem like an alien culture to any young person watching them today -- if that ever even happens.

Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton occupy today's magazine covers and project personae so far removed from mid-20th-century girls next door that the change is irreconcilable.

The girl next door moved. If she were to return, like Dorothy at the end of "The Wizard of Oz," she wouldn't recognize the farm from which she was evicted.

Dawn :cry:

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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This is an old topic but I've resurrected it because I was looking for a particular photo of Doris and came across lots of Doris and June Allyson and I couldn't remember if June had died or not - even though I had posted in the topic above! And also because it mentions her chance to play Eve in "All About Eve", a film that Johnny recently brought up in relation to Doris playing that role.

"Allyson admitted to liking Louis B Mayer (a rare claim) because "my own father died when I was six months old, and I looked on him as a father". Nonetheless, in 1949, when she told him she was going to marry Dick Powell, a twice-divorced man 13 years her senior, Mayer threatened to suspend her, a position he moderated only when Allyson asked him to give her away at the wedding. In spite of that he would not loan her out to play the title role in All About Eve (1950) at 20th Century Fox."

Read more in my post from The Guardian, London, above.

This is the photo I was looking for (without the branding on it):

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doris day with june allyson and rosalind russell 1958
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Re: June Allyson Dies

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3 great talents. I adore Rosalind Russell.

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Yes, me too, jas - curtain up, light the lights, we've got nothing to hit but the heights, etc! :) (Gypsy)

Also My Girl Friday, with Cary Grant, Travels With My Aunt, etc...
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Re: June Allyson Dies

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"Good News" with June Allyson and Peter Lawford ... one of my favorite MGM musicals!
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Haven't seen that, Howard, will see if I can find it on YouTube, etc.

I love June Allyson - as the Guardian article says, she was much more the girl next door than Doris - probably why they were such good friends. Also love Dick Powell - you can't beat those old Hollywood movies!

Amazing that MGM took 7 years off June's age- Doris was lucky that Warners only took 2 years off her's!
(I've been told.) :wink:
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Re: June Allyson Dies

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You bad boy!!!
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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I don't mean to be! I'm just thinking of times I've knocked a couple of years off my own age! (I was young and foolish then!) So I don't see it as any big deal. I saw a copy of her Cincinatti residence record online that suggest she was born in 1923/24 - hard to work out but could easily have been 1924, as she says, so let's go with that. :)
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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Re Rosalind - yes Bryan, what performances in His Girl Friday and Auntie Mame, also fabulous performances in The Women and Picnic.

Re June- she sang with Judy on her 1964 TV show and her voice was lovely- don't know why they didn't let her sing more at MGM - [own voice].

Re Doris' age- I am convinced it is 1922 but to me that just makes DD all the more amazing.

Olivia- Olivia De Haviland is 100 soon - and I read she is trying to rush through her autobiography - what a gal too!

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Yes, meant Auntie Mame, Jas - Travels With My Aunt was Maggie Smith - same story, I think? Auntie Mame being more of a musical if memory serves correct. This was a little tribute to it on my film site:
http://www.classicfilmsreloaded.com/index.html

As for June, I saw a documentary recently about the making of That's Entertainment (III, I think) and she arrived at MGM in a big 1920s car (by design). She looked so fresh and still young for her age - at least 7 years younger! - that it must have made me forget that she has passed away. Must be very strange for Doris that most of her friends and costars have died.

Great that Olivia is still with us. Long may she continue, as we hope with Doris. It will be a sad day for us all when she goes and certainly the end of an era.
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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Yes Bryan - I agree - we just have to rejoice that Doris [and some others] are still with us and still vibrant and making such a wonderful contribution - in Doris' case- with her animal work.

What a catalogue of wonderful work and joy those great stars have brought us and those classics will always be there - just fabulous.

I think it is a matter of lifestyle, but more, a matter of fate and luck who survives and how they survive - it is just thrilling to me [as I am sure it is to us all] that Doris has had such good health - there are indeed so few left from her era - we have to just cherish the survivors all the more.

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Well said, James. In addition to fate, luck and lifestyle, I think that attitude is also a factor in longevity (although attitude might be considered a component of lifestyle). Doris is not just a survivor, she's a thriver.

Years ago I saved a short clipping from Mayo Clinic reporting on a study it did. It noted these 5 common traits of people who are happy and who stay young: They devote time to family and/or friends, appreciate what they have, maintain an optimistic outlook, feel a sense of purpose, and live in the moment.

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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I agree wholeheartedly Musiclover.

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Doris' health secrets

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'You have to say active and positive': Movie icon of the 1950s Doris Day, 92, reveals her secrets to a happy life as a senior

'You have to stay positive,' Doris told Closer Weekly. She cautioned that worrying is a waste of time. 'Whatever will happen, will happen.' She also said she has been blessed. 'I’m lucky. I’ve been blessed with good health,' Doris added. 'It’s important to stay active. I like to walk with my doggies.'

The blonde celebrated her birthday with Chinese food and a birthday cake. She added she 'never paid much attention to age or birthdays,' she liked this one.

'I’m overwhelmed and so touched by all the birthday wishes I’ve been getting from all over the world,' said Day. 'So many of my fans come to Carmel, [California] for my birthday every year and I love being able to talk with them. They are so kind and loving and I love them all.'

As far as the night, pal Lea said: 'It was a nice quiet dinner with friends,' she told Closer.
'After dinner, we watched a video that [Doris’ pal] Scott Dreier produced called Celebrating Doris: Stories from Doris Day’s Co-Stars. It features interviews with people she’s worked with, including some who were up for the weekend.'

The only annoying thing about the article is the caption below:

Image
Another comedy: She had fireworks with James Cagney in 1955's Love Me Or Leave Me

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/ar ... evity.html
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Re: June Allyson Dies

Unread post by Tybear2015 »

Youre right Bryan, maybe the journalist should watch the movie before they write the article so they know about the subject theyre supposed to be writing about. Love Me or Leave Me is anything but a comedy.

Tybear

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Re: June Allyson Dies

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Yes, it couldn't be less of a comedy, could it! Even the posters made that clear.
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