June Havoc

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June Havoc

Photographed in 1952
BornEllen Evangeline Hovick
November 8, 1912
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
DiedMarch 28, 2010(2010-03-28) (aged 97)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationActress, dancer, director, writer
Years active1918–1990
Spouse(s)Bobby Reed (1929–19??)
Donald S. Gibbs
(1935–1942)[1]
William Spier (1948–1973)[2]
ChildrenApril Hyde (April 2, 1930 – December 28, 1998)
ParentsJohn Olaf Hovick
Rose Thompson Hovick
 
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June Havoc

Photographed in 1952
BornEllen Evangeline Hovick
November 8, 1912
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
DiedMarch 28, 2010(2010-03-28) (aged 97)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationActress, dancer, director, writer
Years active1918–1990
Spouse(s)Bobby Reed (1929–19??)
Donald S. Gibbs
(1935–1942)[1]
William Spier (1948–1973)[2]
ChildrenApril Hyde (April 2, 1930 – December 28, 1998)
ParentsJohn Olaf Hovick
Rose Thompson Hovick

June Havoc (November 8, 1912 – March 28, 2010)[3][4] was a Canadian-born American actress, dancer, writer, and theater director. Havoc was a child Vaudeville performer under the tutelage of her mother.[5] She later acted on Broadway and in Hollywood, and stage directed, both on and off-Broadway. She last appeared on television in 1990 on General Hospital. Havoc was the younger sister of burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee.

Contents

Life and career

She was born as either "Ellen Evangeline Hovick" or "Ellen June Hovick," in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, probably in 1912, although some sources indicate 1913. She herself was uncertain of the year – according to The New York Times obituary, her mother forged several birth certificates.[6] (Her mother reportedly had five birth certificates for her.[6])

Her lifelong career in show business began when she was a child, billed as "Baby June".[7] Her only full sibling, Rose Louise Hovick (1911–1970), was called "Louise" by her family members. Their parents were Rose Thompson Hovick (1890–1954) and John Olaf Hovick, a Norwegian American,[4][8] who worked as a newspaper advertising man.

13 November 1927 ad in the Decatur Review

Following their parents' divorce, the two sisters earned the family's income by appearing in Vaudeville, where June's talent often overshadowed Louise. Baby June got an audition with Alexander Pantages (1876–1936), who had come to Seattle in 1902 to build theaters up and down the west coast of the United States. Soon, she was launched in Vaudeville and also appeared in Hollywood movies. She couldn’t speak until the age of three, but the films were all silent. She would cry for the cameras when her mother told her that the family's dog had died.[9]

In December 1928, aged 15 or 16, Havoc, in an effort to escape her overbearing mother's ambitions for her career, eloped with Bobby Reed, a boy in the vaudeville act. Rose reported Reed to the police and he was arrested. Rose had a concealed gun on her when she met Bobby at the police station. She pulled the trigger, but the safety was on. Eventually, Reed was released and June married him, leaving both her family and the act. The marriage did not last, but the two remained on friendly terms. By the age of 17, she had an affair with an older married man, Jamie Smythe, reportedly a big-time marathon promoter. He fathered her only child, April Hyde (April 2, 1930 – December 28, 1998),[10][11] who was an actress in the 1950s known as April Kent.[12]

June's elder sister, Louise, gravitated to burlesque and became a well-known performer using the stage name Gypsy Rose Lee. June adopted the surname of Havoc, a variant of her birth name. She got her first acting break on Broadway in Sigmund Romberg's Forbidden Melody in 1936. She later starred in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey on Broadway. Havoc moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s, appearing in such movies as Gentleman's Agreement. She married for a second time, in 1935, to Donald S. Gibbs; they later divorced. Her third marriage, to radio and television director and producer William Spier (1906–1973), lasted from January 25, 1948 until his death.[6]

Havoc and her sister Gypsy continued to get demands for money from their mother, who had opened a boarding house for women in a 10-room apartment on West End Avenue in Manhattan, the property rented for her by Gypsy, and a farm in Highland Mills, New York. Rose shot and killed one of her guests (who, according to Erik Lee Preminger, Gypsy's son, was Rose's female lover and had made a pass at Gypsy). The incident was explained away as a suicide and Rose was not prosecuted.[13]

Rose died in 1954 of cancer. The sisters then were free to write about her without risking a lawsuit. Gypsy's memoir, titled Gypsy, was published in 1957 and was taken as inspirational material for the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents Broadway musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable. June did not like the way she was portrayed in the piece but was eventually persuaded not to oppose it for her sister's sake. The play also sparked such famous songs as "Small World", "Together (Wherever We Go)", and "Everything's Coming Up Roses". The play and the subsequent movie deal assured Gypsy a steady income. Gypsy Rose Lee died of lung cancer in 1970, aged 59, and is interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, in Inglewood, California.

Havoc wrote two memoirs, Early Havoc and More Havoc. She also wrote a play entitled Marathon '33, based on Early Havoc with elements of They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The play starred Julie Harris, and ran briefly on Broadway.

Death

Havoc died at her Stamford, Connecticut home on March 28, 2010, at age 97.[14] Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the garden of her Connecticut home.[2]

Honors

Havoc was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play in 1964 for Marathon '33,[15] which she also wrote.[16]

Legacy

The June Havoc Theatre, housed at the Abingdon Theatre in New York City, was named for her in 2003.[17][18]

Filmography

Features

Short subjects

Television work

References

  1. ^ Simonson, Robert (28 March 2010). "June Havoc, Stage Star Whose Life Became Legend in Gypsy, Dies at 96". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/138252-June-Havoc-Stage-Star-Whose-Life-Became-Legend-in-Gypsy-Dies-at-96. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b June Havoc at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Beck, Kathrine K. (2004-04-08). "Historylink.org". Historylink.org. http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5686. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  4. ^ a b Frankel, Noralee (2009). Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536803-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=O2xxhFcOXfwC&lpg=PP1&dq=stripping%20gypsy&pg=PP1. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  5. ^ McLellan, Dennis (2010-03-29). "Los Angeles Times obituary". Latimes.com. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-june-havoc30-2010mar30,0,691138.story. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  6. ^ a b c Gates, Anita (March 29, 2010). "June Havoc, Vaudeville Star, Is Dead". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/theater/30havoc.html. 
  7. ^ Klein, Alvin (1995-03-05). "June Havoc, Off Stage". The New York Times. http://theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?_r=1&res=990CE3DA1739F936A35750C0A963958260&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2006-05-09. 
  8. ^ Preminger, Erik Lee (2004) [1984]. My G-String Mother: And Home and Backstage with Gypsy Rose Lee. Berkeley, Calif: Frog. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-58394-096-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=7ZwKTFdIE5sC&lpg=PP1&dq=My%20G-string%20mother&pg=PA186. 
  9. ^ Havoc, June (1959). Early Havoc. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 20. OCLC 721747. 
  10. ^ "The real June is still singing out". Nytimes.com. 2003-08-10. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/10/theater/theater-the-real-june-is-still-singing-out.html?pagewanted=. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  11. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  12. ^ April Kent at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Jacobs, Laura (March 2003). "Taking It All Off". Vanity Fair. 
  14. ^ "June Havoc, immortalised in 'Gypsy', dies at 97". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36085662/ns/entertainment-celebrities. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  15. ^ "1964 Tony Award Winners". broadwayworld.com. http://www2.broadwayworld.com/tonyawardsyear.cfm?year=1964. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  16. ^ "Marathon 33". amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Marathon-33-June-Havoc/dp/0822207303/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328473592&sr=8-1. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  17. ^ "Abingdon Theatre Company, June Havoc Theatre". NYC Music Spaces. http://www.nycmusicplaces.org/space_detail.php?id=782&term=&type=nl. Retrieved 2006-05-09. 
  18. ^ Entertainment editors (2003-11-03). "Actress-Director-Playwright June Havoc Honored by Abingdon Theatre Company with Naming of Theatre Tonight". Business Wire. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2003_Nov_3/ai_109577811. Retrieved 2006-05-09. 

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