Havoc in 1950s
|Born||Ellen Evangeline Hovick
November 8, 1912
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||March 28, 2010
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, director, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Bobby Reed (1929–19??)
Donald S. Gibbs
William Spier (1948–1973)
|Children||April Kent (April 2, 1935 – December 28, 1998)|
|Parents||John Olaf Hovick
Rose Thompson Hovick
|Relatives||Gypsy Rose Lee|
Havoc was a child vaudeville performer under the tutelage of her mother. She later acted on Broadway and in Hollywood, and stage directed, both on and off-Broadway. She last appeared on television in 1990 in a story arc on the soap opera General Hospital. Her elder sister, Louise, gravitated to burlesque and became a well-known performer using the stage name Gypsy Rose Lee.
She was born as either "Ellen Evangeline Hovick" or "Ellen June Hovick" in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1912. For many years her year of birth was given as 1916. She herself was reportedly uncertain of the year; according to The New York Times obituary, her mother forged various birth certificates for both her daughters so as to evade child labor laws. (Her mother reportedly had five birth certificates for her).
Her lifelong career in show business began when she was a child, billed as "Baby June". Her only full sibling, Rose Louise Hovick (1911–1970), was called "Louise" by her family members. Their parents were Rose Thompson Hovick (1890–1954) and John Olaf Hovick, a Norwegian American, who worked as a newspaper advertising man.
Following their parents' divorce, the two sisters earned the family's income by appearing in vaudeville, where June's talent often overshadowed Louise's. Baby June got an audition with Alexander Pantages (1876–1936), who had come to Seattle, Washington in 1902 to build theaters up and down the west coast of the United States. Soon, she was launched in vaudeville and also appeared in Hollywood movies. She could not speak until the age of three, but the films were all silent. She would cry for the cameras when her mother told her that the family's dog had died.
In December 1928, Havoc, in an effort to escape her overbearing mother, eloped with Bobby Reed, a boy in the vaudeville act. Rose reported Reed to the police and he was arrested. Rose had a concealed gun on her when she met Bobby at the police station. She pulled the trigger, but the safety was on. Eventually, Reed was released and June married him, leaving both her family and the act. The marriage did not last, but the two remained on friendly terms. June's only child (a daughter named April) bore Reed's last name although she was actually fathered by another man well after the two separated (April 2, 1935 – December 28, 1998), who became an actress in the 1950s known as April Kent. She predeceased her mother, dying in Paris in 1998.
Film and stage
She adopted the surname of Havoc, a variant of her birth name. She got her first acting break on Broadway in Sigmund Romberg's Forbidden Melody in 1936. She later starred in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey on Broadway. Havoc moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s, appearing in such movies as Gentleman's Agreement. Havoc and her sister continued to get demands for money and gifts from their mother until her death in 1954.
After their mother's death, the sisters then were free to write about her without risking a lawsuit. Lee's memoir, titled Gypsy, was published in 1957 and was taken as inspirational material for the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents Broadway musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Havoc did not like the way she was portrayed in the piece which became a source of contention between the two. Havoc and Lee became estranged for many years, but later reconciled shortly before Lee's death in 1970.
Havoc wrote two memoirs, Early Havoc and More Havoc. She also wrote a play entitled Marathon '33, based on Early Havoc with elements of They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The play starred Julie Harris, and ran briefly on Broadway.
She married, secondly, in 1935 to Donald S. Gibbs; they later divorced. Her third marriage, to radio and television director and producer William Spier (1906–1973), lasted from January 25, 1948 until his death.
Havoc's sister, Gypsy Rose Lee, died of lung cancer in 1970, aged 59, and is interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, in Inglewood, California.
In the mid 1970's, Havoc purchased an abandoned train depot and various 19th century buildings in Wilton, Connecticut called Cannon Crossing. Restoring, rebuilding & re-homing several small buildings from other locations, she worked hands-on and successfully completed this vast restoration project which remains a popular destination today. It's home to artisan shops, galleries, boutiques, a cafe and a restaurant.
A long-time resident of Fairfield County (Weston, Wilton & lastly North Stamford) Connecticut, Havoc was fiercely devoted to the care and well-being of animals. Her homes were a nurturing and loving sanctuary to many orphaned geese, donkeys, cats and of course dogs over the decades. The tailgate of her station wagon was never without a Friends of Animals "WARNING: I Brake For Animals" bumper sticker.
- Four Jacks and a Jill (1942)
- Powder Town (1942)
- My Sister Eileen (1942)
- Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
- No Time for Love (1943)
- Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)
- Brewster's Millions (1945)
- Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
- The Iron Curtain (1948)
- When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948)
- Chicago Deadline (1949)
- Red, Hot and Blue (1949)
- Once a Thief (1950)
- Follow the Sun (1951)
- Lady Possessed (1952)
- Can't Stop the Music (1980)
- A Return to Salem's Lot (1987)
- Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003)
Selected television work
- Willy (1954–55)
- What's My Line? January 18, 1953 (as Mystery Guest)
- The Untouchables ("The Larry Fay Story"; 1960)
- The June Havoc Show (1964) (cancelled after a few weeks)
- The Outer Limits: Cry of Silence (1964) with Eddie Albert and Arthur Hunnicutt
- The Paper Chase (episode "The Clay Footed Idol", as Mrs Margaret Peters; 1979)
- Search for Tomorrow (cast member in 1986)
- Murder, She Wrote ("The Grand Old Lady", 1989)
- General Hospital (1990)
- Simonson, Robert (March 28, 2010). "June Havoc, Stage Star Whose Life Became Legend in Gypsy, Dies at 96". Playbill. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Simpson, Robert (March 28, 2010). "June Havoc, Stage Star Whose Life Became Legend in Gypsy, Dies at 96". playbill.com. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Beck, Kathrine K. (April 8, 2004). "Historylink.org". Historylink.org. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- Frankel, Noralee (2009). Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536803-1. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- McLellan, Dennis (March 29, 2010). "Los Angeles Times obituary". Latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- Gates, Anita (March 29, 2010). "June Havoc, Vaudeville Star, Is Dead". The New York Times.
- Klein, Alvin (March 5, 1995). "June Havoc, Off Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-05-09.
- Preminger, Erik Lee (2004) . My G-String Mother: And Home and Backstage with Gypsy Rose Lee. Berkeley, California: Frog. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-58394-096-9.
- Havoc, June (1959). Early Havoc. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 20. OCLC 721747.
- Dates of birth and death of April Kent, familysearch.org; accessed August 6, 2014.
- "The real June is still singing out". Nytimes.com. August 10, 2003. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- April Kent at the Internet Movie Database
- Obituary for June Havoc, playbill.com; accessed August 6, 2014.
- Aaker, Everett (2013). George Raft: The Films. McFarland, pg. 130; ISBN 0786493135
- "June Havoc, immortalised in 'Gypsy', dies at 97". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "1964 Tony Award Winners". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Marathon 33". amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Theater family comes together to celebrate Hall of Fame honorees". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- "Abingdon Theatre Company, June Havoc Theatre". NYC Music Spaces. Retrieved 2006-05-09.
- Entertainment editors (November 3, 2003). "Actress-Director-Playwright June Havoc Honored by Abingdon Theatre Company with Naming of Theatre Tonight". Business Wire. Retrieved 2006-05-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to June Havoc.|
- June Havoc at the Internet Movie Database
- June Havoc at the Internet Broadway Database
- June Havoc at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- June Havoc at Find a Grave
- Baby June (June Havoc) in the 1918 Harold Lloyd film, On the Jump on YouTube