June Allyson

Ella Geisman (1917 – 2006): Singer / Dancer / Actress on film, stage and television

Born Ella Geisman in Bronx, NY on October 7, 1917. Her mother and father separated, and she lived with her mother, who barely managed to keep things together for them. At age eight she was seriously injured when a large tree branch fell on her, and it was feared she would never walk again. But she went on to become one of Hollywood’s most celebrated singing and dancing stars.

June began dancing when just a young girl, and by the time she was in high school, she was determined to make a career of it. She entered amateur dancing contests and began looking for work as a dancer. She found work in nightclubs and Broadway shows, and even made some short films. She worked hard and steadily moved into better shows and bigger parts.

At last she got her big break when she understudied Betty Hutton in the Broadway production of “Panama Hattie”. Hutton fell ill, and June played the part. George Abbott, the director, caught her act and offered her a part in “Best Foot Forward”. Later, when MGM bought the film rights to “Best Foot Forward”, June went to Hollywood to repeat her role in the film version.

June Allyson was one of the most popular actresses in the 1940s and 1950s. She worked in comedies, musicals, and dramas, mostly at MGM. Some of her best-remembered musicals include Good News, The Glenn Miller Story and Two Girls and a Sailor. She had a charming personality, she was a wonderful dancer, and she was known for her rather “husky” sounding singing voice, which caused a sensation during the war years.

June was married to Dick Powell from August 19, 1945 until his death in 1963. They had two children. Later she was married again, to Glenn Maxwell and then to David Askrow.

June was in a total of 42 feature films. She also had a television series of her own in 1960.