June Haver (June 10, 1926 – July 4, 2005), was an American film actress. She is most well-known as a popular star of 20th Century-Fox musicals in the late 1940s, most notably The Dolly Sisters, with Betty Grable. She is also often linked to her second husband, actor Fred MacMurray.
Born June Stovenour, Haver was born in Rock Island, Illinois. She later took the last name of her stepfather Bert Haver. After the family moved to Ohio, seven-year-old Haver entered and won a contest of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. At age 10, she moved back to Rock Island, where she began performing for Rudy Vallée. Her mother being an actress and her father being a musician, Haver often doubted who she - careerwise - wanted to follow. At age eight, she won a film test by imitating famous actresses including Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn and Helen Hayes. Haver's mother, however, prohibited her daughter from becoming a child actress in the film industry, feeling she was too young.
Working regularly as a band singer by her teens, she performed with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra for $75 a week. Other bandleaders she worked for were Dick Jurgens and Freddy Martin. Furthermore, she became a well-known child star on the radio.
In the summer of 1942, Haver moved to Hollywood, where she finished high school. She acted in plays in her spare time and during a performance, she was discovered by a scout from 20th Century Fox. In 1943, Haver signed a $3,500 a week contract with the studio. She debuted on screen as Cri-Cri in Home In Indiana (1944). According to the actress, she was only sixteen years old when her scenes were filmed. Later that year she co-starred with future husband, Fred MacMurray, in Where Do We Go From Here?, which was the only time the pair appeared together in a film.
During her career at Fox, Haver was originally groomed to be the next Betty Grable (she was known as "Pocket Grable"). She even co-starred with Grable in the 1945 film, The Dolly Sisters, a film for which she had to put on weight. While filming, there were a lot of rumors about a possible clash between the two actresses, mostly because of their often comparison, but Haver refuted this, saying: "Betty is a big star and I'm just starting. I try to be nice to her, and she reciprocated by being just as nice to me. It's silly to think two girls can't work together without querreling. You see, I've two sisters. I'm the ham between the bread and butter - the middle sister - and I understand girls pretty well. Betty likes to talk about her baby, so we talk about her baby."
Possibly best known for her roles in optimistic musicals, Haver debuted in 1948 in a dramatic role in Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!, which became a major success. The same year, she starred as Marilyn Miller in the musical Look for the Silver Lining (1948). To resemble the actress as much as possible, Haver had to drive to the studio an hour earlier for make-up.
Following her marriage to Fred MacMurray, Haver remained largely retired from acting (her last appearances were as herself on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in 1958 and Disneyland '59); she later found some success as an interior decorator. The couple adopted two daughters and remained together until MacMurray's death in 1991.
At the urging of friends Ann Miller and Ann Rutherford, Haver finally joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the age of 75. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, June Haver has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1777 Vine Street.
Haver insisted she has always been very close with her family. Her sisters followed her to Hollywood and served as her stand-ins, while her mother was Haver's personal secretary.
On March 9, 1947, Haver married trumpet player James Zito. She met him at age 15, while touring with Ted Fio Rito's orchestra. They initially lost contact after Haver moved from Illinois to Beverly Hills, but started dating when Haver made a short visit to her home town when she was already a film actress. Haver filed for divorce shorter than a year after eloping with Zito, winning interlocutory decree on March 25, 1948. She admitted to the press the marriage was a failure from the beginning, saying: "I want to forget as soon as possible. We hadn't been married hours before I realized I had never really known Jimmy. He was a stranger. He was either down in the dumps or up high. I never knew from one moment to the next how he would be." Because of her devotion to religion, Haver tried to make the marriage work, turning to church to forget her unhappiness.
After her divorce from Zito, Haver started dating Dr. John L. Duzik, whom she already dated with before marrying Zito. They planned on marrying, but Duzik died on October 31, 1949 following surgery complications. While taking care of him in his final days, she started attending church more often. According to friends, it was in this period when she was inspired to become a nun. Following Duzik's death, Haver reportedly became tired of Hollywood, and never really was in love with the men she dated afterwards. In February 1953, Haver entered a convent, but she stayed there only until October, saying she left because of "poor health".
Around that time, Haver met MacMurray, one of the wealthiest and most conservative men in Hollywood, again, and a romantic relationship developed. On June 28, 1954, they were married. She told the press: "When I married Fred, he was terribly set in his ways. He was a fuss-budget. He hadn't quite progressed to being a lint picker, but he was already an ash-tray emptier, and that's just about as set in his ways as a man can get." Haver insisted on adopting a girl, but MacMurray, 19 years her senior, initially refused to, explaining he already has been a father. Shortly after, he agreed on adopting a child, and with the help of a doctor, they were able to take in a twin.
Haver died from respiratory failure on July 4, 2005 at her home in Brentwood, California at the age of 79 and was buried with her husband at Holy Cross Cemetery, in Culver City. She left behind two stepchildren (by MacMurray's first marriage), two adopted children, and seven grandchildren.