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June Allyson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (43) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 7 October 1917The Bronx, New York, USA
Date of Death 8 July 2006Ojai, California, USA  (pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis)
Birth NameEleanor Geisman
Nickname Junie
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American leading lady whose sweet smile and sunny disposition made her the prototypical girl-next-door of American movies of the 1940s. Raised in semi-poverty in Bronx neighborhoods by her divorced mother, Allyson (nee Ella Geisman) was injured in a fall at age eight and spent four years confined within a steel brace. Swimming therapy slowly gave her mobility again, and she began to study dance as well. She entered dance contests after high school and earned roles in several musical short films. In 1938, she made her Broadway debut in the musical "Sing Out the News." After several roles in the chorus of various musicals, she was hired to understudy Betty Hutton in "Panama Hattie." Hutton's measles gave Allyson a shot at a performance and she impressed director George Abbott so much that he gave her a role in his next musical, "Best Foot Forward." She was subsequently hired by MGM to recreate her role in the screen version. The studio realized what it had in her and offered her a contract.

Her smoky voice and winning personality made her very popular and she made more than a score of films for MGM, most often in musicals and comedies. She became a box-office attraction, paired with many of the major stars of the day. In 1945, she married actor-director Dick Powell, with whom she occasionally co-starred. Following Powell's death from cancer in 1963, she retreated somewhat from film work, appearing only infrequently on screen and slightly more often in television films. Occasional nightclub appearances and commercials were her only other public performances since, and she died of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis on July 8, 2006, after a long illness.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (4)

David Ashrow (30 October 1976 - 8 July 2006) (her death)
Alfred Glenn Maxwell (1 April 1966 - 17 March 1970) (divorced)
Alfred Glenn Maxwell (13 October 1963 - 20 April 1965) (divorced)
Dick Powell (19 August 1945 - 2 January 1963) (his death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Her husky speaking and singing voice

Trivia (43)

On contract to MGM for 12 years.
Was a good friend of Judy Garland. They were both under contract at MGM in the 1940s, and Judy used to give June rides in Judy's car to the studio whenever possible. In interviews after Garland's passing, Allyson said that she could hardly talk about Garland without getting tears in her eyes because she was such a special lady who didn't have appropriate help available to her in her lifetime.
She was just 5' 1" and weighed 99 lbs. in 1945.
From 1963 to 1975, she had a long term, ill-fated romance with writer/director Dirk Wayne Summers, often announcing to the press that the couple would be married soon. She and Summers were the lead item in Walter Winchell's then influential column more than a few times. They often traveled together through Europe. Although Summers apparently loved her and their life together, he refused her many proposals of marriage, much to her chagrin. Members of the nascent jet-set, they were frequently seen in Cap d'Antibes, Madrid, Rome and London, where they called Hugh M. Hefner's borrowed Mayfair penthouse home.
After the death of first husband Dick Powell, she went through a bitter court battle with her mother over custody of her son Dick Powell Jr., and adopted daughter Pamela Powell. Reports at the time revealed that Dirk Wayne Summers was named legal guardian for Dick and Pamela, as a result of a court petition.
Witnessed Joan Crawford's cruel treatment of her daughter Christina Crawford and claims the book and film adaptation Mommie Dearest (1981) are honest accounts of how Joan treated her children.
After her film career was over, she continued to do occasional Broadway & off-Broadway plays, television appearances and commercials, including her famous Depends commercials, from the 1960s through the 1990s.
She was a valued resource in preserving information about Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Hollywood's golden years. She was a spokesperson on the issue of incontinence, and was instrumental in establishing the June Allyson Foundation for Public Awareness and Medical Research. She and her husband, Dr. David Ashrow, actively supported fund-raising efforts for both the James Stewart and Judy Garland museums. Stewart and Garland were both close friends.
Mother of Dick Powell Jr., and Pamela Powell from her marriage to Dick Powell.
Separated from Powell once when she fell in love with actor Alan Ladd during filming of The McConnell Story (1955). Ladd was also married at the time.
Very seldom was able to break out of her spry "goody two shoes" types. The couple of times she did, however, were extreme. She played a harsh, cold-hearted wife to José Ferrer in The Shrike (1955) who nags him to the point of a nervous breakdown. Audiences would not accept her in the role and the movie failed at the box office. Another time she played a lesbian murderess in They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), one of her final films.
Filed for divorce once during her marriage to Dick Powell, but the turbulent marriage lasted until his death from cancer in 1963. She struggled with alcoholism following his death which may have triggered a custody battle against her mother.
Her second husband, Glenn Maxwell, was Dick Powell's former barber. Her last husband, David Ashrow, who survived her, was a retired dentist turned actor.
Her father, an alcoholic, abandoned the family when she was six months old.
When she was eight years old, she was crushed by a falling tree limb while riding a bicycle. She wore a back brace for four years and taught herself to dance by watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. She was told that the accident would prevent her from having children. Her first child, Pamela Powell, was adopted in 1948. In 1950, however, she gave normal birth to her son, Dick Powell Jr..
In 1945, Harvard Lampoon voted her worst actress of the year. That year's worst actor was regular co-star Van Johnson.
Longtime friend of Esther Williams.
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.
Married to husband David Ashrow at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, California, in October 1976. There is a photograph of the wedding party hanging at the historic hotel garden to this day.
In Italy, her films were dubbed mainly by Miranda Bonansea. As she matured, she was dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta and Rina Morelli. She was once dubbed by Andreina Pagnani in Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), released in Italy after the war.
Good friend of James Stewart and played his wife in three different films.
Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007). The film footage showed Miss Allyson on stage at the Academy Awards smiling and laughing.
Son Dick Powell Jr. born December 24, 1950.
Daughter Pamela Powell born June 18, 1948. She was adopted in August 1948.
Could cry on cue, a talent she shared with Margaret O'Brien. Allyson'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 (1949), they "could not stop" crying.
June married Dr. David Ashrow, a retired dentist-turned actor in October of 1976. June and David toured the country together in the late seventies/early eighties in the stage play "My Daughter, Your Son" to fine reviews. A few years earlier, June starred in the same show with her son Dick Powell Jr..
She was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party.
When she married Alfred Glenn Maxwell, her family allowance from the estate of Dick Powell was reduced from $5,000 per month to $2,500 per month.
She initially turned down the opportunity to be a celebrity spokesperson for Depends undergarments because "it was not a very pleasant subject". Reportedly, her mother changed her mind because she convinced Allyson that she could actually help people with a very real and widespread problem that they were too embarrassed to talk about with friends or family.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1537 Vine Street.
In December 1993, June Allyson dedicated the Holland-America Line cruise ship the MS Maasdam.
Her father, Robert Geisman, was born in Roanoke, VA on September 29, 1892 and died in Ventura County, California on April 19, 1983 at the age of 90. Her mother, Clara Josephine Provost, was born in New York, NY on October 21, 1897 and died on April 23, 1994 in Ventura County, California at the age of 97.
She had one sibling, a brother named Henry Allyson Geisman, who was born November 22, 1915 in New York, NY and died Jan 6, 1995 in Riverside, CA.
Stepmother of Norman S. Powell and Ellen Powell.
After filming _The Secret Heart (1946) together, June and her co-star, Claudette Colbert, became great friends. Claudette became godmother to June's daughter, Pamela Powell.
In the 1980s, 1990's, and early 2000's, she was the spokeswomen for Depend undergarments.
Her favorite actors were Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and Meg Ryan.
She was fan of the TV shows Touched by an Angel (1994), Mad About You (1992), and Law & Order (1990).
Was a fan of the mystery writer Agatha Christie, so much in fact that her personal library consisted of every novel that Christie ever wrote. She also cited the Christie character Jane Marple to be her favorite female detective.
Her father was of German descent. Her mother had Dutch and Channel Islands (Guernsey) ancestry.
Initially wanted to be a doctor, and got into acting merely as a way to make money to pay for medical school. She ended up sticking with it, and instead paid for her brother to become a doctor. She took a lifelong interest in health and medical research.
In May 2014, she was honored as Turner Classic Movie's Star of the Month.

Personal Quotes (7)

In real life I'm a poor dressmaker and a terrible cook - anything in fact but the perfect wife.
MGM was my mother and father, mentor and guide, my all-powerful and benevolent crutch. When I left them, it was like walking into space.
[on Joan Crawford] I tried to be a good listener. I decided that was what she wanted all along - not so much a friend as an audience.
[assessing her appeal as a performer] I have big teeth. I lisp. My eyes disappear when I smile. My voice is funny. I don't sing like Judy Garland. I don't dance like Cyd Charisse. But women identify with me. And while men desire Cyd Charisse, they'd take me home to meet Mom.
I couldn't dance, and, Lord knows, I couldn't sing, but I got by somehow. Richard Rodgers was always keeping them from firing me.
If you see someone without a smile, give him yours.
The only parental authority I had was the studio. When I was a star, there was always somebody with me, to guard me. I was not allowed to be photographed with a cigarette, a drink, a cup of coffee or even a glass of water because someone might think it was liquor. When I left the studio I was already married and had two children, but I felt as sad as a child leaving home for the first time.

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