June Preston (born December 29, 1928) is an American former child actress who went on to become an internationally renowned opera singer. She made her screen debut at age 4 under optimistic eyes of RKO as Mrs. Blewett's Daughter in Anne of Green Gables. Preston had paid a visit to the studio where a keen-eyed executive saw her and called for a screen test, which resulted in a 5-year contract. Preston acted, sang, and danced, becoming a worldwide celebrated child star who went on to work with Universal Studios, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, MGM, Republic Pictures, and Paramount Pictures.
After signing with RKO, she signed with Edward D. Schuwall of the Pottstown, Penn Clothing Firm in New York, who started a worldwide apparel line bearing the name ‘June Preston Frock’ by JP Loomcraft, better known now as Fruit of the Loom. Her products included dresses, coats, snowsuits, shoes, undergarments, beachwear, purses and hats. In addition there were other products that had her likeness on them such as dolls, paint sets, phonographs, and toys that sold millions worldwide.
Preston later became an internationally renowned opera singer. Her range varied from Spinto Soprano to Contralto. In 1952, at the age of 24, she was one of the youngest artists to debut her tour with the 'Stars of the Metropolitan Opera' in a leading role. The Metropolitan Opera South American Tour featured June as Mimi in La Bohème opposite Jan Peerce as Rodolfo. (In this role she originated a bit of stage prop that has been used ever since, dropping her fur muff to the floor as Mimi dies in the last act.) She continued touring singing leading roles opposite Salvotore Vaccolini, Nicola Mascono, Robert Weede, and again with Jan Peerce, and went on to sing well into the 1990s at which point she retired.
Preston favored recitals above all, and was particularly well known for her concert recitals ranging from Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms to Puccini. She later began her American debut with the St. Louis Symphony, performing a recital of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; followed by her 1962 European debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, thereafter touring all European countries in recitals. The majority of her performances were overseas until later in her career.
Her roles included: Micaela in Aida, Carmen in Carmen, Count Octavian Rofrano in Der Rosenkavalier, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Mimi in La Bohème, Violetta Valery in La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly, Camille in The Merry Widow, Floria Tosca in Tosca, Turandot in Turandot.
- Anne of Green Gables (1934)
- Thin Ice (1937)
- History Is Made at Night (1937)
- Maytime (1937)
- Valley of the Giants (1938)
- Second Fiddle (1939)
- You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
- Christmas in July (1940)
- Second Chorus (1940)
- Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
- The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
- The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
- Our Gang Comedies (various throughout 1934–1938)
and many more...