June Haver: Actress Became Nun & Major Fox Musical Star

June Haver: Hollywood actress who briefly became a nun has died

June Haver actressActress June Haver, the blonde star of several popular 20th Century Fox musicals such as Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944), The Dolly Sisters (1945), and Three Little Girls in Blue (1946), and the widow of actor Fred MacMurray, died of respiratory failure in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood on July 4. Haver was 79.

With her peaches-and-cream complexion, June Haver (born June Stovenour on June 10, 1926, in Rock Island, Illinois) graced the screen for about a decade, invariably cast as a sort of walking, talking, and singing blonde doll. Haver's movies were usually musicals, in addition to a couple of light comedies (Love Nest, The Girl Next Door) and Henry Hathaway's pleasant, rural-set romantic comedy/drama Home in Indiana (1944), co-starring fellow youthful Fox actors Jeanne Crain and Lon McCallister. (McCallister and Haver would join forces again in the 1948 romantic comedy-drama Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!)

June Haver: Fox's 'threat' to pin-up Betty Grable

Initially, June Haver was to have been 20th Century Fox's “threat” to the studio's top peaches-and-cream blonde, Betty Grable, with whom Haver co-starred in Irving Cummings' highly successful The Dolly Sisters. But despite a handful of popular movies to her credit, Haver was never to become one of the studio's top stars. Betty Grable continued to reign supreme well into the early '50s.

Following the unexpected death of her fiance, dentist John Duzik, in 1949, June Haver apparently lost interest in her career. (Ironically, one of Haver's 1949 releases was called Look for the Silver Lining, a musical about Broadway entertainer Marilyn Miller.) In the '50s, Haver starred in only four movies: the musicals I'll Get By (1950) and The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (1950), and the aforementioned light comedies Love Nest (1951), opposite William Lundigan and with Marilyn Monroe in a small supporting role, and The Girl Next Door (1953), with Dan Dailey.

Leaving Hollywood to become a nun

June Haver was a devout Roman Catholic. After quitting films, she decided to become a nun and entered a convent in Kansas. Several months later, however, Haver left the convent, reportedly for health reasons. Other reports claimed she missed her family.

In 1954, Haver married the recently widowed Fred MacMurray, with whom she had co-starred in the 1945 musical Where Do We Go from Here?. The couple remained married until MacMurray's death in 1991.

In later years, June Haver told San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ruthe Stein that she had no regrets about giving up her acting career, saying that the working actresses of her day “ended up sleeping alone and being very lonely. Their children are writing awful books about them.”

Haver also remarked that her two (adopted) daughters had promised never to write a tell-all book about her. She then added. “I told them if they wanted to write about their dad, that was OK.”

Betty Grable The Dolly Sisters June HaverThe 20th Century Fox blondes: Their movies together

At 20th Century Fox, the studio's blonde female stars were at some point in their careers featured in the same film alongside their (potential) predecessors / competitors / successors. Here are a few examples: Alice Faye and Madeleine Carroll in On the Avenue (1937), Alice Faye and Betty Grable in Tin Pan Alley (1940), Betty Grable and June Haver in the aforementioned The Dolly Sisters (photo), and Betty Grable and Carole Landis in Moon Over Miami (1941) and I Wake Up Screaming (1942).

A few more: Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Betty Grable and Sheree North in How to Be Very Very Popular (1955), June Haver and Marilyn Monroe in the aforementioned Love Nest, Marilyn Monroe and Hope Lange in Bus Stop (1956).

June Haver / Betty Grable The Dolly Sisters image: 20th Century Fox.

June Haver: Actress Became Nun & Major Fox Musical Star © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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14 Comments to June Haver: Actress Became Nun & Major Fox Musical Star

  1. J.B.

    Did June Haver leave movies TEMPORARILY for a convent in Kansas to have an illegitimate birth - possibly a love-child of Dan Dailey? ..giving the reason she left movies to become a nun?
    Where is the child now?

  2. Alt Film Guide
  3. David Perky Perkins

    how come in June Haver's Bio it say nothing about her being the sister of Gypsy Rose Lee

  4. Carole Elder

    My teenage friends and I didn't miss a musical in

    the 40s and 50s. My favorites were June Haver, Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Betty Huton, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller. I have autographed pictures of all of them, as well of other mega stars. My one and only male dancer was Gene Kelly. Donald O'Connor was a favorite too. The spataculars helped everyones morale after World War two.
    Thanks for a chance to go down memory lane.
    Carole Elder

  5. editor

    According to a March 1954 “Kansas City Times” report, her convent was located in Kansas. Not sure whether *they* had the right info.


  6. J. Pat Geis

    I did my postulancy at St. Benedicts Monastery in Atchison, KS in 1949 at the same time that June Haver did hers. I left not knowing that she would also be leaving the convent.
    At the time that I was in the monastery, we were told that June was in a convent across the river in Missouri.
    — This should not be published without further verification because it was only what we were told —
    J. Pat Geis

  7. Bob Howell

    June Haver was my idol for many years.

  8. Susannah Pate

    nd sweet. Recently say “The Dolly Sisters” with Betty Grable as her costar. June Havor more than held her own in the film.

  9. Brona Glasgow

    I just loved June Haver& every thing she stood for.She was a great actress & person.It made my day when. She married Fred MacMurray. Loved him also.

  10. What about her two other musicals I wonder who's kissing him now. Also oh you beautiful doll.

  11. al knopka

    june & fred were neighbors when i lived in the russian river area…words cannot express how everyone surely misses both now. She was always my favorite when i was a young boy. Now, my mom's best friend, betty hutton lives by me and i help assist with her eveeryday livings….she will be 85 in february…..i just found out about the passing of june and my heart goes with her family and friends….she'll always be remembered.

  12. lora d. mora

    i last heard from June in July of this year, and she made no mention of her health. told me how she was enjoiying her grand children. we were coking partners in high school together. my heart goes out to all in her family. She was such a great gal.

  13. I just read in your website that my favorite actress
    June Haver died this summer.
    I remember in my childhood years in Crete -Greece
    that I was always saying to my friends how much I liked her
    and how talented and beauful she was. My favorite actress indeed!

    I am really sorry! My deepest condolences to her family.

    Dr. Sophia Metzakis Laszlo

  14. Kay Abshire

    I was so sorry to hear of June Haver's death. She was a beautiful, talented star. My deepest condolences to her family. Sincerely, Kay Abshire