June Allyson

June Allyson


June Allyson
Film: West side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Actress | Dancer | Singer
Born Eleanor Geisman on Oct. 7, 1917 in Bronx, N.Y.
Died July 8, 2006 in Ojai, CA

Actress June Allyson, a perky blond with a husky voice, was one of Hollywood's most beloved stars in the 1940s and 1950s.

Allyson rose from teenage chorus girl on Broadway to contract player for MGM. She began in Hollywood as a dancer and singer in short films. She later costarred with Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson and Dick Powell.

After several years in many chorus lines, Allyson graduated to small parts, including a bit she did with Ethel Merman in Cole Porter's "Panama Hattie." In that same musical, Allyson was understudy to Betty Hutton in the comic role of Florrie and, in a classic Broadway fantasy, Allyson stepped in for Hutton when the star got the measles.

Allyson's performance caught the attention of Broadway director George Abbott, who needed someone like her to "ham up" scenes with Nancy Walker in "Best Foot Forward." When the musical got picked up by MGM for a film, Allyson found herself a contract player in Hollywood.

In 1945, she married Powell, who was one of the biggest stars of his era. They adopted two children. After their marriage, Allyson made a few films and TV movies and had her own TV show, an anthology series, from 1959 to 1961.

She continued working in films and appeared on Broadway after Powell's death in 1963, succeeding Julie Harris in "40 Carats." She also appeared on many television programs, with guest spots on CBS' "The Judy Garland Show" and roles in several series.

But life was not easy for Allyson after Powell's death. Talking to CNN's Larry King in 2001 about what she called her "tunnel years," Allyson said, "I just locked myself away and — I found the bottle."

She married and divorced Powell's barber — twice. She said she felt her ties to the "good life" were unraveling.

She credited David Ashrow, a dentist turned actor whom she married in 1976, with helping her to turn her life around. They were wed for 29 years until her death at age 88.

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