Actress June Haver, the Sunny Blonde of the 1940s Musicals, Died at 79

June Haver, formerly promoted by the Hollywood studios as the next Betty Grable died of respiratory failure on Monday.

Actress June Haver, 79, died of respiratory failure at home, on Monday, according to her family. The attractive blonde-haired star of the frothy musicals, which had been watched by the wartime audiences in the 1940s, had been promoted as the next Betty Grable.

Haver, whose real name was June Stovenour, spent her childhood in Illinois and Ohio, singing on radio shows and appearing in local stage productions. As a teenager, she signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox and made her film debut in 1943 with a part in "The Gang's All Here".

Her role from the 1994's "Home in Indiana" convinced the Twentieth Century Fox Studios boss Daryl F. Zanuck to distribute her in more movies, as he has pictured Haver as the next Betty Grable.

She had the chance to co-star with Grable herself in "The Dolly Sisters", which were followed by the contracts for musicals like "Three Little Girls in Blue", "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" and "Oh, You Beautiful Doll".

Zanuck loaned the sunny-blond star to Warner Bros. for two of her most popular musicals, "Look for the Silver Lining (1949)" and "The Daughter of Rosy O'Grady" (1950).

When Fox discovered the promising blond Norma Jean, who was to become the famous Marilyn Monroe, her life has changed into chaos.

After the six-weeks- marriage with trumpet player Jimmy Zito, she made up with her former fiancé, studio dentist John Duzik, who soon died of complications of surgery.

In 1953, she chose to spurn her $3,500-a-week movie contract to become a novice nun at the Sisters of Charity convent in Kansas, after the release of her last film, "The Girl Next Door" (Associated Press).
Eight months later, she came back to Hollywood.

Haver married the recently widowed actor Fred MacMurray, whom she co-starred with in the 1945 "Where Do We Go From Here?"
MacMurray died in 1991, leaving her with daughter Kate and Laurie MacMurray, stepson Robert MacMurray, stepdaughter Susan Pool, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

"I had been making movies for 10 years, and I think I got it all out of my system", June Haver told reporters after she had taken the decision to retire from her acting career. "I made 14 musicals, which is a lot of singing and dancing. I wanted to be a wife and mother", the actress added.


By    7 Jul 2005, 08:17 GMT