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June Allyson On The Spot!

The rumor that there was a new June Allyson running around Hollywood brought us face to face with June—Mrs. Richard Powell, that is—for a question and answer session. June agreed to play a new game with us. It’s called truth without consequences, and it’s played by two people: us, looking for the truth about June Allyson 1958 style . . . and a smiling, pert mother of two who happens to be a movie star—

Q: Is it true that there’s a new June? A girl who insists on leading her own life?

June: Maybe it just shows more now, but I’ve always been June Allyson, girl-individual. Even though Richard is basically the boss, I make my own decisions about most things. I played in The Shrike even though Richard was against it.

Q: Do you think you can be a real wife and a real help to your husband without sacrificing your independence?

June: At the risk of sticking my neck out I say: absolutely. I lead my own life, but here I am like a hen hovering over my brood. So of course, I think independence and family life can go together.

Q: How about the eternally ticklish problem of separate interests?

June: I think just about everybody has separate interests. It depends on how you handle the problem. I believe in not forcing your interests on your loving spouse. And I think, by now, Richard agrees with me. We tried to force our pet projects on each other once. Wow! Like that time I begged Richard to go skiing with me, against his better judgment. P.S.—he broke his shoulder.

And one time, he took me on the boat he’d bought. Naturally I got terribly sick. P.S.—we sold the boat.

Q: Is there a new interest in your life?

June: Is there ever! I love to cook now. I’d rather cook than anything. When I’m cooking, I’m the queen of Mandeville Canyon. Why, one night I gave a party for a friend . . . and sixty-two people came! And I barbecued sixty-two steaks—myself. Well, ever since then, I’ve adored cooking for six or sixty hungry people.

Q: Who are your best friends?

June: Two small people named Pam and Ricky. I feel if you can’t be friends with your kids, what good is anything? Oh, I’m strict with them. But I’m strict only because I want them to be liked. Many times I’ll chastise one of them and then go to my room and cry. But sometimes it’s got to be done. Like one time when Ricky was planning to have lunch with the carpenter who works for us. It’s a big treat for him. But he was a bad boy that morning and I had to forbid him to go. Well, he sobbed and sobbed. It took all the strength I have to stop myself from wiping the tears from his eyes and sending him off to his lunch treat. But I didn’t. And the next day—well, it would make a better story to tell you he was bad the next day. But he was as good as gold. And he even forgave me.

Q: How about you, June? Are you sentimental?

June: Are you kidding? Everything makes me melt. I’m soft-hearted Sally, a sitting duck. Richard (Sr., that is) claims that I cry at the commercials on television. But that hasn’t been proved yet. Richard is sentimental too. But you’ll never get him to admit it.

Q: Do you think marriage to Dick has changed you in any important ways?

June: Yes. In at least one very important way. I’m not so selfish any more. In marriage you’ve just got to think of the other person. You give up things that you wanted very much, by adjusting to your husband. And then, suddenly, you find you didn’t really want those things at all. What you really want is a happy husband.

Q: What’s the nicest gift you ever received from your husband?

June: That’s an easy one to answer, but you may find the answer a little odd. It’s nothing frilly, or feminine or the least bit romantic. Last Monday was our anniversary and Richard gave me my heart’s desire: a big, large, gigantic, new refrigerator!

Q: That’s a nice small dream to have come true. Have you had any big dreams come true lately?

June: Yes. When I was a little girl I wanted more than anything else to be—not a nurse, like most girls, but a doctor. But we never had enough money. And, do you know what? My brother lives with us now, in a cottage near the house and he’s going to medical school. So, in a way, it’s my old dream coming true. Not for me, but for my brother.

Q: Is there a big dream hidden away somewhere right now?

June: The answer to that is emphatically yes! Except it’s not hidden very well. want more than anything else to be able to sing, really sing! And with more lessons and some patience from my family while I practice, I’ll do it! I want to fulfill all the talents I neglected when I was a kid. I started out as a singer-dancer. People forget that and are so surprised when I’m mentioned for a musical picture. I know it sounds funny but quiet Mrs. June Powell was a chorus girl in New York years ago.

Q: What was the most awful day of your life?

June: Hmmm. I won’t say it was the most awful, but the day I have in mind was the saddest. It was Christmas Eve and I had just gotten a job in a Broadway show. And on Christmas, I lost the job. I went down to the bus stop the next day and saw the company off with real tears in my eyes. It was like an unhappy ending to a fairy tale. It was even snowing as I waved good-bye to the company.

Q: Doesn’t that make Christmas a pretty sad memory?

June: No siree. Because some years later, after little June came to Hollywood, married and lived happily ever after—she had a child. A boy named Ricky. And he was born on Christmas Eve. All during my pregnancy I used to joke with Richard saying, “I’ll give you a Christmas present no one can match.” And I wanted to give birth at Christmas time so very much that I really think I kind of willed it to happen just at the right time. My doctor doesn’t go along with this theory. I do.

Q: How about the size of your family? Will you leave it at the status quo, or have more children?

June: I like good-sized families. In fact right now I’m trying to talk Richard into having more children. Two more. But Dick is reluctant because he has two kids from a former marriage you know. And, from his point of view, he feels maybe a total of four is enough. But I haven’t given up the campaign yet.

Q: June, have you ever lost hope completely? Ever given in to despair?

June: No, I’ve always been able to see my way out of . . . No, I’m wrong. There was one time. When Richard (Sr.) almost died. He was in the bedroom with me when he suddenly collapsed on the floor with a burst appendix.

Somehow (I’ll never know how), I managed to drag him to the bed and call the doctor. I lost twenty pounds in the first four days he was in the hospital. They’d given him up for dead. I stayed there day and night until finally one of the Sisters at the hospital sent me home to change my clothes. As soon as I got to the house the phone rang. It was the hospital. I was to come back right away. They’d given Richard the last rites.

I tell you, I didn’t cry any more, or pray any more. I was drained of everything. There was nothing left inside of me to go on living. Four weeks later, thanks to God and Dick’s own good strength, they brought him home almost well. Then I cried, finally, and prayed in gratitude.

Q: People have said you’re a very temperamental star. Is that true?

June: Absolutely not; I do not go flouncing off sets and throwing dresses at people. I don’t know how that got started, but people used to write these things about me. Then when I showed up on the set of a new picture everybody expected me to be impossible to work with. I’ve had prop men and make-up people come to me and apologize for the ideas they’d had about me.

Q: How about the fact that some people (probably the same ones) have said that youre a—dare we repeat it?—scatterbrain?

June: That’s an easy one to answer. Once again I think that’s a fantasy based on a few parts I’ve played in movies. The same as the “Girl In The Peter Pan Collar” idea. I’m level-headed, not scrambled-brained, and next week I’m going to a party and I’ll wear a lovely dress.

Q: Do you have an ideal image of the kind of woman you admire, would want to be like? 

June: My ideal has always been Ingrid Bergman, whom I’ve kind of worshiped from afar. Also, Ginger Rogers. And Ginger is now my very good friend.

Q: What do you think is a woman’s best friend . . . her greatest need?

June: (WITH A BROAD GRIN) A great big large, gigantic, new . . . refrigerator.

Q: Every public figure, especially a movie star, is often the center of a lot of conjecture . . . some true, some false. What do you most wish people would stop thinking, saying and writing about you?

June: (Soberly) Most of all I wish that people would stop saying that Richard and I are breaking up again. It’s fantastic really. A while ago, Richard and I had a sort of second honeymoon. We went to Honolulu and had a sun-drenched, romantic holiday to end all sun-drenched romantic holidays. Then, in the middle of the night, suddenly the phone rang. Richard answered. It was my agent.

“Listen,” he said to Dick, “I’m sorry to wake you, but there have been reports that you and June are in Honolulu together but that you’re living at separate hotels.”

Richard scrubbed his eyes sleepily and answered, “Well, there’s a bed next to mine. And in that bed there’s a blonde I think I recognize the hair . . . one minute while I check the face. Yep, it’s my wife June all right. So I guess somebody must be wrong.”

And whoever’s wrong it’s not Richard and me. Because we’re right. We’re a right as two people can be.


June will be appearing in U-I’s AND RIDE A TIGER.



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