June Preston (born December 29,1928 Glendale, California) is an American former Hollywood child star who went on to become a world famous Opera singer debuting with The Metropolitan Opera "Stars of the Metropolitan Opera" opposite Jan Peerce in 1952. She made her screen debut at age 4 at the RKO film studio as Mrs. Blewett's Daughter in Anne of Green Gables, and went on to do many other movies such as Christmas In July, Second Chorus, The Strawberry Blond, Maytime, and starring in many Our Gang comedies.
She made her screen debut at age 4 at the RKO film studio as Mrs. Blewett's Daughter in Anne of Green Gables. Preston had paid a visit to the studio where an executive saw her and called for an immediate screen test, which resulted in a 5-year contract. Preston acted, sang, and danced, and went on to work with Universal Studios, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, MGM, Republic Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Columbia.
After signing with RKO, she signed with Edward D. Schuwall of the Pottstown, Penn Clothing Firm in New York, who started an 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 June Preston dolls, paint sets, phonographs, an assortment of toys that sold millions worldwide.
Following her years in film Preston pursued a second career as an opera singer. Her range varied from Spinto Soprano to Contralto. In 1952, at the tender age of 24, she debuted on a South American opera tour called "Stars of the Metropolitan Opera" in a leading role. The tour featured June Preston as Mimì in La bohème opposite Metropolitan star Jan Peerce as Rodolfo. She continued touring singing leading roles opposite, Salvatore Baccaloni, Nicola Moscona, Robert Weede, and again with Jan Peerce, and many others. Before retiring, Preston went on to sing well into the 1990s.
Preston favored recitals above all, and was particularly well known for her concert recitals ranging from Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms to Puccini. She made her American debut with the St. Louis Symphony, singing in a performance 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 and also the title role 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.
June Preston was sponsored by Coca Cola in her early operatic career.
- 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)