June Haver was an American film actress, singer, and dancer born on June 10, 1926, in Rock Island, Illinois. She was originally named Beverly June Stovenour but later adopted the surname of her stepfather, Bert Haver. Haver began her career in the entertainment industry as a child, performing on stage and eventually transitioning to films. She was best known for her roles in musicals produced by 20th Century Fox during the 1940s.
Haver was once groomed by the studio to become “the next Betty Grable,” a popular actress and pin-up model of the time. Despite appearing in numerous musical productions, Haver never achieved the same level of fame as Grable. Despite this, she remained a well-regarded figure in the world of film, with a career that spanned over several decades.
Throughout her life, June Haver experienced numerous personal and professional ups and downs. These included her eventual decision to leave the world of acting to join a convent, and later, her marriage to actor Fred MacMurray.
Early Life and Career
Childhood in Rock Island
June Haver was born Beverly June Stovenour on June 10, 1926, in Rock Island, Illinois. Her parents divorced at a young age, and she was adopted by her stepfather, Bert Haver. June, along with her mother and stepfather, moved to Cincinnati, where she began her career in the entertainment industry.
Recognition by Big Bands
At the age of six, Haver appeared on stage for the first time at a local theater. As she grew older, she continued to perform, and her talents caught the attention of notable big bands. She joined the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra, followed by stints with the bands of Dick Jurgens and Buddy Martin. Haver’s work with these orchestras helped her gain recognition, paving her way to Hollywood.
Entry in Hollywood
In the early 1940s, June Haver made her way to Hollywood, where she was groomed by 20th Century Fox to be “the next Betty Grable.” Although she appeared in a string of musicals, Haver never achieved Grable’s level of popularity. Some of her notable films include Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944), The Dolly Sisters (1945), and Three Little Girls in Blue (1946). Later in her life, Haver settled in Brentwood, California, and married actor Fred MacMurray.
Rise to Fame at Fox Studios
Partnership With Betty Grable
June Haver started her career in Hollywood at 20th Century Fox Studios, where she was groomed to be “the next Betty Grable”. She had a strong partnership with Betty Grable, appearing together in a number of classic movies. Their most famous collaboration was in The Dolly Sisters, a late 1940s Fox musical. Working with Betty Grable helped propel June Haver’s career and establish her in the industry.
Role in Musicals
Ms Haver was primarily known for her roles in Fox musicals, particularly during the late 1940s. Some of her most notable performances include Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944), The Dolly Sisters (1945), and Three Little Girls in Blue (1946). Under the leadership of Darryl F. Zanuck, Fox Studios succeeded in promoting Haver as a talented and charismatic lead actress in their musical productions.
Comparison With Marilyn Monroe
While American film actress June Haver never achieved the same level of fame as Marilyn Monroe, both actresses had similar starts in their career at Fox Studios. Haver, like Monroe, was considered a talented singer and dancer, and was often typecast as a blonde bombshell. However, Haver’s career trajectory diverged from Monroe’s when she retired from acting in the 1950s, choosing to focus on her personal life and marriage to actor Fred MacMurray.
The Dolly Sisters
In “The Dolly Sisters” (1945), June Haver starred alongside Betty Grable as the real-life Hungarian-born performing sisters. Earning recognition for their outstanding performances, both Haver and Grable helped to bring the story of the sisters’ rise to fame and their personal lives to the screen.
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
“Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (1944) featured June Haver playing the role of Eileen Eivers, who becomes the muse of a struggling songwriter, Chauncey Olcott (played by Dick Haymes). This musical biopic showcased Haver’s singing and acting abilities and contributed to her ascent in Hollywood.
The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady
In “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (1950), June Haver starred as Patricia O’Grady, the daughter of a retired Irish performer. Alongside her co-star Gordon MacRae, Haver captivated the audience with her charming presence and her performances of several musical numbers.
I’ll Get By
June Haver took on the role of Liza Martin in the musical comedy “I’ll Get By” (1950). Sharing the screen with William Lundigan, Haver’s portrayal of the young songwriter was a testament to her versatility as an actress.
Look for the Silver Lining
Haver starred as Marilyn Miller in the biographical musical film “Look for the Silver Lining” (1949). The film portrayed the life and career of the famous Broadway star, with Haver delivering a captivating performance and showcasing her talents in singing and dancing.
Where Do We Go From Here?
In the musical fantasy comedy “Where Do We Go From Here?” (1945), June Haver played the role of Sally Smith, a woman caught in a love triangle with two men (played by Fred MacMurray and Anthony Quinn) who unexpectedly travel through time. The film showcased Haver’s comedic skills and provided another opportunity for her to display her musical talent.
Marriage to Fred MacMurray
June Haver married actor Fred MacMurray on June 28, 1954. The couple had a strong bond and adopted twin girls, Laurie and Roberta. They named their daughters after their own names, June = Laurie and Fred = Robert. Fred MacMurray was a well-known actor, perhaps most famous for his role in the television series “My Three Sons.”
Life After Hollywood
After her marriage to Fred MacMurray, June Haver gradually withdrew from her career in Hollywood. She focused primarily on her family and personal life, spending time at their Brentwood home. Haver had a background in singing and, together with MacMurray, participated in charitable events such as the “Singers of Charity” in Cincinnati.
Later Life and Death
Ms Haver’s career took an unexpected turn when she decided to leave acting. She joined a convent, seeking a more spiritual and meaningful life. However, her time as a nun was short-lived, as she eventually chose to return to her personal life.
In her later years, Haver was married to actor Fred MacMurray, known for his roles in numerous films and television shows. The couple enjoyed a happy and lasting marriage, which continued until MacMurray’s death in 1991.
June Haver faced her own health challenges towards the end of her life. On July 4, 2005, she passed away due to respiratory failure at the age of 79 in Brentwood, California. Haver’s legacy as a talented actress, singer, and dancer will be remembered by many, as well as her dedication to her faith and personal relationships.