from my sketchbook: june preisser

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Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.
Nine-year old June Preisser, along with her sister Cherry, performed as child acrobats from their hometown of New Orleans to New York City, to the famous music halls of Paris, Berlin and London. They even were given an audience with King George of England. Their act caught the interest of show-biz impresario Florenz Ziegfeld and they went to work in the famous Ziegfeld Follies in the late 1930s.

Cherry married and retired from the act leaving June to continue as a solo. June was soon signed to a contract with MGM and was cast as Judy Garland‘s rival for Mickey Rooney’s affections in the musicals Babes in Arms in 1939 and Strike Up the Band in 1940. She appeared as essentially the same character in several of Rooney’s popular Andy Hardy pictures. After her marriage at 22 and the birth of her son, MGM expressed little interest in further promotion of her career. June signed on with Monogram Pictures, a studio known for their low-budget pictures. She made eight films in the “Teen Ager” musical series playing peppy high-schooler Dodie Rogers, despite being in her middle 20s.

June called it a career in 1948 following her appearance in a stage production of Annie Get Your Gun. After a bitter divorce, she opened a chain of dance schools in Los Angeles.  Her dance school endeavor tanked and she moved to Florida with her grown son.

June’s name surfaced in the news in 1984, when it was reported that she and her son had died in a car accident during a severe Florida rainstorm. June was 63.




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