Director, Performer, Writer, Source Material
( b. Nov 08, 1912 Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - d. Mar 28, 2010 Stamford, Connecticut, USA ) Female
Havoc appeared on vaudeville stages when she was 2 as Baby June and went on to a successful acting career, but saw her accomplishments overshadowed by the fictionalized portrayal of her in the 1959 musical Gypsy.
In Gypsy whose book, by Arthur Laurents, was based on a memoir by her sister, the strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, the adorable, pampered June quits show business to elope with one of the boys in her act and is never heard from again. In real life, not long after her sister gained burlesque fame in the 1930s, Ms. Havoc established a solid career on Broadway and in Hollywood films.
Her marriage to Bobby Reed did not last long, but the two stayed together professionally out of necessity. To keep body and soul together during the Depression, they went on the grueling dance marathon circuit, dancing thousands of hours just to get the free meals provided to contestants. Because they were so young, they posed as brother and sister.
In New York, Ms. Havoc slept on bus-station benches and survived on food-stand meals while trying to break into legitimate stage work, although her mother and her sister were living in luxury just a subway ride away. Her mother did take her in (albeit as a paying tenant) when June turned up pregnant by a married marathon promoter and determined to bring up the child alone.
Onstage she often had her name in lights. In addition to being in Pal Joey, she had the title role in the melodrama That Ryan Girl, Sadie Thompson, and the evil Miss Hannigan in the original Broadway production of Annie. It was her final Broadway appearance. Long after her glory days, Ms. Havoc continued to work on both stage and screen. She was artistic director of the New Orleans Repertory Theater in 1970 but stayed only one season. In the early 1980s she toured with a stage show, An Unexpected Evening With June Havoc.
Over the years Ms. Havoc tended to be diplomatic when speaking of her mother and her sister. But in a 2003 interview with Alex Witchel of The New York Times, she was particularly straightforward: "My sister was beautiful and clever, and ruthless. My mother was endearing and adorable, and lethal. They were the same person. I was the fool of the family. The one who thought I really was loved for me, for myself."
Source: The New York Times obituary