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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

June Allyson RIP

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the passing of June Allyson has only gotten a mere blip on the news. I saw it yesterday on the Comcast homepage and Google is only starting to show mentions of it here and there.
I guess most of my generation only knows June from her Depends commercials (or was it denture stuff...no, that was Jane Powell) and that right there is kindly sad. She did a lot more work than advertise stuff for the incontinent.

I loved her in The Glenn Miller Story, which has been on On Demand lately. May still be on. She was great in Little Women and she got to cozy up to Peter Lawford in Good News. She was married to actor Dick Powell . She was in a ton of movies and was part of that Golden Era of Hollywood that is dying out pretty quickly. I always loved to see her on Larry King and other shows where all the old girls sat around and told old Hollywood stories.

I guess June's passing might've made more of a splash had she been arrested for shoplifting, had umpteen husbands or umpteen babies without being married, killed somebody, had a meth lab in her house or something negative about her. When Lana Turner died, seems there was a little more press and that was mostly because all people wanted to recollect about her was how her daughter stabbed her abusive boyfriend.

***Update*** I stand corrected. CNN has a nice article about my girl, June. Maybe they were just a little slow getting their info.

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Anonymous said...

June Allyson and Memories: Gone, but Not Forgotten...

June Allyson, the Passing of a Legend (Ojai Valley News - 07/12/2006)...

My Tribute to June Allyson (1917 to 2006)...

Jack Heinzman's Tribute to June Allyson (1917 to 2006)...

Charles Michel's Tribute to June Allyson (1917 to 2006)...

Jim Bishop's Tribute to June Allyson (1917 to 2006)...

"Like the memory of her smile and her tears and her raspy little voice, some things will stay with us forever." -- from Jim Bishop's Tribute to June Allyson

Guestbook for June Allyson...

June Allyson Images (WireImage.com)...

Down on Your Heels, and Up On Your Toes!
by Len Bourret (Copyright 2006)

She was the girl GIs gravitated towards, the kind of woman every man wanted to marry, and the special friend everyone wanted to know. She loved people, and they loved her back. She exuded positive energy and a sunshiny smile that was uplifting--and, somehow, just being around her was uplifting and made people feel better. She was, and shall always be, "Good News" itself. Harry James' trumpet (from "Two Girls and
a Sailor") is blowing in the heavens, and one can hear and see June Allyson exuberantly singing, "He's the young man with a horn!"

To know "Junie" (as she was personified by her closed friends), one only had to become familiar with Ella
Van Geisman, the little girl from the Bronx. She was a hard worker, and a powerhouse. She danced her
way out of poverty and, on a dare from her schoolchums, learned to dance like and eventually befriended
her #1 heroine, Ginger Rogers. And, out of a Third Avenue el, she learned to follow in the footsteps of her
#1 hero, Fred Astaire. She had a distinctive voice, and a winsome personality. And, it was not an accident
or coincidental that she became destined to become the actress and human being that everyone wanted to
emulate and have as their nextdoor neighbor. Hers was a rags-to-riches story, a kind of Shirley Temple
real-life doll (more than merely on paper), a Jo March tomboy with feminine grace. She was a princess,
who married a prince, Richard Ewing Powell. And Richard, or Dick Powell as he is known to the world,
was a kind man who loved kids. But, he was--and taught June Allyson to be, strong as a redwood--
and this served to be her strength, after Richard's passing. And, indeed, June Allyson went through an
extremely difficult period from 1963 (after Richard passed from this earth) to 1976 (when she married
an equally-kind man, David Ashrow). But, during this time of magnificent independence, the little girl became quite a woman. And, she was a loyal friend and partner (she was married to Dick Powell for
almost 20 years, and was married to David Ashrow for almost 30 years).

When I was a little boy, Dick Powell used to call me from Four Star Television (where he became a
still-respected Louis B. Mayer kind of television mogul), and he gave me a 16m.m. print of "Sister
Mary Slugger" (a segment I loved from early-television's June Allyson Show). I deeply cherished
and faithfully preserved the print, for years, and presented it to June Allyson on videocassette. And,
at the Judy Garland Festival in 2002, I had the rare opportunity to read my poetry to June Allyson.
Some people are fortunate to meet their heroine once in a lifetime. I was privileged and proud to
meet June Allyson on four special occasions: once when she was appearing in "Goodbye Ghost"
(in Coconut Grove, Florida), twice when she was appearing in "Forty Carats" (on Broadway), thrice
when she was appearing in "No No Nanette" (in Hollywood), and at the Judy Garland Festival (an
annual event held to honor June Allyson's friend in Judy Garland's hometown of Grand Rapids,
Minnesota). But, this shall not be yours and my final meeting. We shall see June, Judy, and Richard
at the rainbow--and June Allyson will be dancing and singing The Varsity Drag (from MGM's
"Good News")!

Author's Note: How about an award, or two, for June Allyson's performance in "Good News" and
"The Glenn Miller Story"?


L e o n a r d J . B o u r r e t
4 0 - B P a s c a l L a n e
M a n c h e s t e r , C T 0 6 0 4 0 - 4 6 2 6
P h o n e : ( 8 6 0 ) 6 4 7 - 9 6 0 6
e - M a i l : Len9876@juno.com

July 12, 2006

Dr. David Ashrow
1651 Foothill Road
Ojai, CA 93023-1748

Dear Dr. David:

Junie was, and shall always be, "Good News" itself. Harry James' trumpet (from "Two Girls
and a Sailor") is blowing in the heavens, and one can hear and see June Allyson exuberantly
singing, "He's the young man with a horn!"

This shall not be a final meeting of yours and mine. We shall see June, Judy, and Richard at
the rainbow--and Junie will be dancing and singing The Varsity Drag! Down on your heels,
and up on your toes!

To you, Pam and Rick, I send my best wishes.

Warmest Regards,

Len Bourret
Poet and Writer


Anonymous said...

L e o n a r d J . B o u r r e t
4 0 - B P a s c a l L a n e
M a n c h e s t e r , CT 0 6 0 4 0 - 4 6 2 6
P h o n e : ( 8 6 0 ) 6 4 7 - 9 6 0 6
e - M a i l : Len9876@juno.com

September 30, 2006

To: karen@karencadleinternational.com
Karen Cadle
Karen Cadle International

To: RutaLeeWebbLowe@aol.com
Ruta Lee
the Thalians

Links: Hollywood Salutes June Allyson...
http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=12352, and

Dear Karen and Ruta:

Re: Tribute to June Allyson - As a long-standing June Allyson fan for more than fifty years, I
was befriended by Dick Powell when I was a little boy. I have had the honor and privilege
of meeting June, on four special occasions, which included reading my poetry to her (which
she thoroughly enjoyed) at the Judy Garland Festival 2002.

I am moved by the gala event, Hollywood Salutes June Allyson, scheduled on Thursday,
November 2nd, at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, California. I am gratified
that it will be a star-studded tribute to June Allyson-Powell-Ashrow, a fitting tribute so
close to the former Four Star Productions (the company which Dick Powell served as
president and studio head), and that there will be testimonials by many stars (including
Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse, Margaret O'Brien, Gloria DeHaven, Debbie Reynolds,
and Kathryn Grayson). Will Van Johnson be able to attend? Can I share this information
with June Allyson's fans (some who have loved her for over sixty years)? Please advise,
and thank you.

As a disabled person (thankful for the work of the Thalians), I have one request: Will
there be memorabilia available for this event? June Allyson is still very much loved by
multitudes of fans, young and old, with a new generation of fans becoming exposed
to, and enjoying, her movies--including "The Glenn Miller Story", "Good News", "Little
Women", and "The Stratton Story". June Allyson, more than average or fair-to-middling,
continues to be an exceptionally-bright star, to dream about and reach for.

I have been in phone contact with Dr. David, and he is most gratified by your showering
of affection for Junie. I hope that the Thalians will pay tribute to Junie, Ann Miller, Glenn
Ford, Jan Murray, Janet Leigh, Red Buttons, and others from Hollywood's golden era
(so many have passed from this earth). May God bless you, and yours!

Warmest Regards,

Len Bourret
Poet and Writer

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