BiographyNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Best known at MGM for giving young Judy Garland competition over the attentions of Mickey Rooney in a couple of their famous let's-put-on-a-show musical films, this dimpled blonde cream puff was first and foremost an acrobatic dancer and contortionist. June Preisser was born in New Orleans in 1920, one of six children. Her outstanding physical agility was noticed early in the game and a vaudeville act was formed with one of her other sisters, Cherry, that showcased their amazing skills. Read more... where they once performed for King George. In the mid-1930s they caught the eye of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. who put them in his Follies shows in both 1934 and 1936. June and Cherry also appeared in the musical "You Never Know" on Broadway at the Winter Garden. With adorable kewpie-doll looks, curly locks and a sweet, cooing voice, it was the petite June, and not Cherry, who was snatched up by MGM for films. Toying with young Rooney in both Babes in Arms (1939) and Strike Up the Band (1940), she commonly played pretty girls of privilege who initially seemed to have everything that Garland lacked in attracting a boy. In the latter film, she was featured in the "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-de-Ay" number. Somehow the producers always found room for her unusual pretzel-like tumbling skills. In addition, she appeared in a couple of Rooney's "Andy Hardy" pictures. In 1942, June married a radio announcer and writer and bore him a son, Ricky. She also returned to Broadway that year in the musical "Count Me In." By the late 40s, however, she had been demoted to the "B" ranks, co-starring with Freddie Stewart in the "Teen Agers" musical series of mild but energetic bobbysoxer films over at Monogram Pictures. In her late-20s, June was still playing peppy school girls. The series of eight films included Junior Prom (1946), Sarge Goes to College (1947) and Campus Sleuth (1948). June's film career fell away after this and, following a stint in "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, retired from the business. Following a bitter divorce, she briefly opened a chain of dancing and acrobatics schools in California and when that folded, moved with her son to Florida and for a time worked in a stationery store. Not much was heard of her until September 19, 1984, when it was learned she and her son had been tragically killed in a car accident. She was 64.