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Subject: Considering she was America's clean, innocent sweetheart, but few knew of Allyson's rough childhood, filled with challenges ...


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Date Posted: Saturday, October 07, 11:31:05pm
In reply to: 1992 's message, "Today's photo: June Allyson--Shame that some people today probably remember her more for a Depends commercial" on Saturday, October 07, 06:23:49pm

...June Allyson was born Eleanor Geisman, nicknamed "Ella", in the Bronx, New York City. She was the daughter of Clara (née Provost) and Robert Geisman. She had a brother, Henry, who was two years older. She said she had been raised as a Roman Catholic, but a discrepancy exists relating to her early life, and her studio biography was often the source of the confusion. Her paternal grandparents, Harry Geisman and Anna Hafner, were immigrants from Germany although Allyson claimed her last name was originally "Van Geisman", and was of Dutch origin. Studio biographies listed her as "Jan Allyson" born to French-English parents. Upon her death, her daughter said Allyson was born "Eleanor Geisman to a French mother and Dutch father."

In April 1918 (when Allyson was six months old), her alcoholic father, who had worked as a janitor, abandoned the family. Allyson was brought up in near poverty, living with her maternal grandparents. To make ends meet, her mother worked as a telephone operator and restaurant cashier. When she had enough funds, she would occasionally reunite with her daughter, but more often Allyson was "farmed" out to her grandparents or other relatives.

In 1925 (when Allyson was eight), a tree branch fell on her while she was riding on her tricycle with her pet terrier in tow. Allyson sustained a fractured skull and broken back, and her dog was killed. Her doctors said she would never walk again and confined her to a heavy steel brace from neck to hips for four years, and she ultimately regained her health, but when Allyson had become famous, she was terrified that people would discover her background from the "tenement side of New York City", and she readily agreed to studio tales of a "rosy life" including a concocted story that she underwent months of swimming exercises in rehabilitation to emerge as a star swimmer. In her later memoirs, Allyson does describe a summer program of swimming that did help her recovery. After, she gradually progressing from a wheelchair to crutches to braces.

...Allyson's true escape from her impoverished life was to go to the cinema, where she was enraptured by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies. As a teen, Allyson memorized the trademark Ginger Rogers dance routines; she claimed later to have watched The Gay Divorcee 17 times. She also tried to emulate the singing styles of movie stars although she never mastered reading music. When her mother remarried and the family was reunited with a more stable financial standing, Allyson was enrolled in the Ned Wayburn Dancing Academy and began to enter dance competitions with the stage name of "Elaine Peters". With the death of her stepfather and a bleak future ahead, she left high school after completing two and half years, to seek jobs as a dancer. Her first $60-a-week job was as a tap dancer at the Lido Club in Montreal. Returning to New York, she found work as an actress in movie short subjects filmed by Educational Pictures at its Astoria, Long Island, studio. Fiercely ambitious, Allyson tried her hand at modeling, but to her consternation became the "sad-looking before part" in a before-and-after bathing suit magazine ad. Her first career break came when Educational cast her as an ingenue opposite singer Lee Sullivan, comic dancers Herman Timberg, Jr., and Pat Rooney, Jr., and future comedy star Danny Kaye. When Educational ceased operations, Allyson moved to Vitaphone in Brooklyn and starred or co-starred (with dancer Hal Le Roy) in musical shorts.

Learn MORE on the Life & Career of June Allyson ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Allyson

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Husband Dick Powell died on Jan. 2, 1963 (NT)She outlived him 43 yearsSunday, October 08, 11:45:46am


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