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For Lovers Only—June Haver & Fred MacMurray

For June Haver and Fred MacMurray there was no honeymoon hideaway. Their bridal suite was a glamourless bungalow overlooking a forest of cameras and floodlights. Privacy? Not much, but June and Fred thought it was heavenly.

They drove to Moran, Wyoming, a picturesque village in the beautiful Grand Teton National Forest. Fred was on location working in Blue Horizons, a film about the Lewis & Clark Expedition, “trying to earn some money to pay for the house we just bought.” (A month before they were married, June and Fred bought Nelson Eddy’s Hollywood estate for $130,000.)

While Fred was emoting with Charlton Heston and Donna Reed in front of the VistaVision cameras, June remained in their one-room bungalow, fighting the Wyoming mosquitoes and ironing her husband’s shirts on an ironing board borrowed from the prop department.

One morning Fred returned from the location with a little grin playing across his face. June was busy rinsing out a few of her own clothes.

Fred took her in his arms and kissed her lightly on the lips. “Listen, Shorty,” he said, “how about a little fishing up in Yellowstone this afternoon? I finished early today.”

“Just great!” June agreed. “I’ll pack a picnic lunch and we’ll have a ball.”

Thirty minutes later the newlyweds were sitting in their grey Cadillac convertible, and Fred was driving to one of his favorite trout streams.

Arriving at the picnic site, June began to unpack the hamper while Fred with his fishing rod made a bee-line for the trout.

Once she had her picnic lunch set out neatly and properly, June flopped down on the grass, clasped her hands behind her neck, and closed her eyes. This was joy and love and peace and contentment—resting here on a river bank, waiting for the sound of a loved one’s voice or the soft touch of his hand. And then it came, the moist pressure upon her forehead.

“Ah, Fred,” June murmured, her eyes still closed in ecstatic bliss.

Another kiss, this one extremely wet. And then June MacMurray opened her big blue eyes and found herself looking up at a full-sized grizzly bear, one of the hundreds that are allowed to roam at will around Yellowstone National Park.

“Fred!” June shouted, scampering to her feet. “Fred!” And with that she broke all existing speed records sprinting down to the trout stream.

“A bear,” she called out. “A bear, Fred. He’s eating our picnic lunch. I thought he was you.”

MacMurray edged his way out of the stream. He grabbed a small log. “You stay behind me,” he cautioned. Then he advanced toward the grizzly, slowly and carefully.

He succeeded in frightening the bear away from the picnic lunch but not for long. The bear sniffed more food in Fred’s car and shuffled toward the Cadillac. Fred was afraid the animal might dig its claws into the convertible top and rip it, so he took a sandwich and using it as bait, drew the bear from the car. Then he and June slid in and drove back to Moran, laughing most of the way.

That night when Fred and June told producer Bill Pine what had happened to them, Pine grinned.

“That,” he said, “is exactly the kind of story the publicity department is accused of making up.”

But to June the bear incident “will always remain one of the highlights of our honeymoon.”

This honeymoon began on June 28 when Fred and June slipped away from Hollywood and were married in a double ring civil ceremony at the Ojai Valley Inn.

“It was really very exciting,” June recalls, “because Fred worked until two o’clock in the afternoon on the day we were married.

“We tried to keep the wedding a secret because we didn’t want to get married in front of a hundred reporters and cameramen. I have lots of friends in the press and I love them all, but there’s a time and place for everything.

“Anyway, I was sure that when Fred left the studio on Monday one or two press ears would follow him. Hedda Hopper had called me a day before and said, ‘I’m sure you’re getting married on Monday. Where’s the wedding to be held?’

“I said we weren’t sure, and that was really the truth because Fred and I didn’t even have a marriage license. As a matter of fact, the license bureau in Ventura stayed open after five o’clock on Monday so that we could get a license.

“Then we drove back to the inn at Ojai, and it was there in Don Burger’s apartment—he’s a friend of ours—that we were married.”

The rites were performed by Superior Court Judge Charles F. Blackstock with Mr. and Mrs. Bo Roos of Beverly Hills as witnesses. Bo is Fred’s business manager. Fred’s mother, Mrs. Melita MacMurray, and June’s mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Andy Ottestad, were. Present.

The ceremony was short and neither June nor Fred was nervous. June never looked lovelier. She wore a champagne-colored silk dress with a full skirt, pearl buttons, a Peter Pan collar and a tiny silk hat. Fred wore a dark blue business suit.

The actor slipped a wedding band of five diamonds in a platinum setting, on June’s finger. His ring was a plain band of solid gold.

After the ceremony, Fred and June phoned his two adopted children, Susan, fourteen, and Robert, ten, who were staying at the MacMurray cattle ranch in Healdsburg.

“We just got married,” Fred announced.

“That’s great!” Bobby shouted. “Let me talk. to Mom.”

June took the phone and her luminous blue eyes were filled with tears of happiness. In her heart she knew that her days of sorrow and loneliness were over. This, for her, was the beginning of a new life, a life in which the most important thing was to keep Fred happy.

That night the newlyweds drove to Fresno. They spent the first night in a small motel at the edge of the city. The following morning they read in the newspapers that they were on their way to St. George, Utah, to visit actor John Wayne at whose Christmas party they had met, thus beginning their love affair.

The papers gave other erroneous information about their plans which they enjoyed reading. But the newspapers were correct about one thing. That was the effect of June’s marriage upon her status in the Catholic church.

By marrying MacMurray, a Presbyterian, in a civil ceremony, June deprived herself of the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church of which she has been a devout member since she was converted to Catholicism twelve years ago. This is because the Catholic Church does not recognize June’s divorce from musician Jimmy Zito.

Before she married Fred, June consulted the marriage court of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, hoping for a special Papal Dispensation, praying that the Church would annul her marriage to Zito. But when she was told that such a procedure might take years and that even then, the decision might go against her, she decided to marry MacMurray anyway.

She knew she would be ineligible for such sacraments as Holy Communion and Penance, but in her own words, “I fell in love with Fred, and I had a great decision to make—one of the greatest in my life, and now I’m glad I made it.”

From Fresno the honeymooners went to Yosemite National Park. There they ran into Red and Georgia Skelton and all the little Skeltons, vacationing.

Red has known Fred and June for years, and when he saw them he threw his arms around their necks and kissed them both.

“Just got married!” he shouted. “These two just got married. A wedding present, Georgia. Gotta give ’em a wedding present.”

Red always carries three or four cameras. This time he had a new Polaroid, a camera that gives a finished photograph in one minute. Red not only snapped the honeymooners but gave them his Polaroid as well.

“Where you heading?” he asked.

“I’m doing a picture up in Wyoming,” Fred explained. “Jackson Hole.”

“I know Jackson very well,” Red kidded. “Once got stuck in the same hole with him.” Everyone laughed. “Kidding aside,” Red continued, “got a radio with you?”

June shook her head.

“Who ever heard of going on a honeymoon without a radio?” Red demanded. “How can you keep up with the baseball scores?” And he handed Fred a large portable Zenith.

Later that evening the MacMurrays headed for Reno. “And there,” June recalls, “Fred won two dime jackpots playing the slot machines. He got a big kick out of it.”

The MacMurrays spent the first week of their honeymoon on the road and while they were recognized everywhere there was no invasion of their privacy. Fred is a dignified, conservative man.

When he and June arrived in Wyoming on July 6 (when Blue Horizons got under way) it was Fred who suggested that they stay at a lodge that was thirty-five miles away from the location.

“I think this is better,” he said, “than staying at the same place with the rest of the crew.” Fred isn’t snobbish. He was afraid of the usual honeymoon kidding.

June, as ever, was completely agreeable.

“Anything you say, darling.”

So Fred drove up to a dude ranch and asked the manager what the rates were.

“Forty to fifty dollars a day.”

“Sorry,” Fred said. “That’s too much.”

“But doesn’t the studio pay while you’re on location?” June asked later.

Fred nodded. “Sure the studio pays,” he said. “But I don’t throw my money around and I’m not going to throw Paramount’s around either. Come on, Shorty. We’ll stay up at Moran with the rest of the crew.” That night Fred and June MacMurray checked into Jackson Lake Lodge.

They occupied a one-room bungalow with double bed and throughout the entire production not one member of the location crew made “honeymoon” remarks.

“I’ve never seen two finer people,” one of the production assistants said, “than June and Fred. Never a gripe, never a complaint. The mosquitoes were something awful and when the wind blew, our rooms were full of dust. But Fred and June never blew their tops. They are calm, polite, friendly. They seemed to be very much in love but they didn’t act like honeymooners.

“They acted like people who knew what love and marriage was all about. June used to come down for lunch and Fred would always kiss her hello and goodbye but there was never any mawkish or silly or embarrassed love-making.

Although Fred’s welfare and the happiness of her two stepchildren come first for June, she says she has no intention of giving up her screen career.

“I’ve spoken to Fred about it,” she asserts, “and he’s said anything I want to do about it is okay with him.

“I was offered a part in Oklahoma but if I had taken it I would’ve had to give up my honeymoon with Fred. And there isn’t a screen role big enough to make me do that. However, if any good parts come along, I’m certainly in the market for them.

“After all, Bobby is ten and Sue is fourteen, and they both go off to school, and we have help to take care of the house; and I’ve always liked to stay busy. And pictures is the one business I know a little about, so I might as well stick to it.”

Despite Rumors to the contrary, June has no intention of altering her religious affiliation. She is still a devout Catholic. On her honeymoon she said a rosary for Fred each time he went fishing.

“I wanted him to catch his full allowance of five trout a day,” she explained.

MacMurray, who is seventeen years older than his twenty-eight-year-old bride, is happy. And for one reason: “Life isn’t too much fun unless a man can share his living with someone he loves.”





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