|Intro||American actress, vaudeville performer, and memoirist|
|A.K.A.||Ellen Evangeline Hovick|
|Was||Theater professional Actor Stage actor Television actor Theatre director|
|From||United States of America Canada|
|Field||Arts Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
|Birth||8 November 1912, Vancouver|
|Death||28 March 2010, Connecticut (aged 97 years)|
June Havoc (born Ellen June Hovick, November 8, 1912 – March 28, 2010) was a Canadian-born American actress, dancer, writer, and theater director.
Havoc was a child vaudeville performer under the tutelage of her mother, Rose Thompson Hovick. 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 the well-known stage performer, Gypsy Rose Lee.
She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1912, according to the Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 (state file #06956). For many years, however, 1916 was cited as her year of birth. She herself was reportedly uncertain of the year. Her mother forged various birth certificates for both her daughters to evade child labor laws. Her lifelong career in show business began when she was a child, billed as "Baby June". Her sister, Rose Louise Hovick (1911–1970), was called "Louise" by her family members. Their parents were Rose Thompson Hovick (1890–1954), of German descent, and John Olaf Hovick (c. 1885-1952), the son of Norwegian immigrants, who worked as an advertising agent and reporter at The Seattle Times.
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. Weeks later after performing at the Jayhawk Theatre in Topeka, Kansas, on December 29, 1928, Rose reported Reed to the Topeka 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. She then physically attacked her soon-to-be new son-in-law and the police had to pry her off the hapless Reed. June soon 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 was a daughter, born April Rose Hyde (April 2, c. 1932, New York City – December 28, 1998, Paris, France). A marriage license, dated November 30, 1928 for Ellen Hovick and Weldon Hyde, would seem to indicate that Bobby Reed's real name was Weldon Hyde. April 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 appeared in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey on Broadway. Havoc moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s, and had roles 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, but gave her agreement in her sister's financial interest. Havoc and Lee reportedly were estranged for more than a decade, but 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 was directed and choreographed by June Havoc and opened at a Broadway theatre in December 1963, running for 48 performances and receiving four Tony Award nominations.
Havoc was married three times. Her first marriage, at age 16, was in December 1928 to Bobby Reed, a boy in her vaudeville act. 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-1970s, Havoc purchased an abandoned train depot and various 19th-century buildings in Wilton, Connecticut called Cannon Crossing. Restoring, rebuilding and repurposing several small buildings from other locations, she worked hands-on and successfully completed this vast restoration project, which remains a popular destination today. It is home to artisan shops, galleries, boutiques, a cafe and a restaurant.
A long-time resident of Fairfield County (Weston, Wilton and 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 dogs over the decades. The tailgate of her station wagon was never without a Friends of Animals "WARNING: I Brake For Animals" bumper sticker.
Havoc died at her Stamford, Connecticut home on March 28, 2010, at age 97 of unspecified natural causes.
Havoc was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play in 1964 for Marathon '33, which she wrote.
In 2000, Havoc was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
In 1960, Havoc was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one at 6618 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the motion picture industry, and the other at 6413 Hollywood Boulevard for television.
The June Havoc Theatre, housed at the Abingdon Theatre in New York City, was named for her in 2003.
- 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)
- Mother Didn't Tell Me (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)
- Hey There! (1918)
- On the Jump (1918)
- Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 6 (1942)
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
- McMillan and Wife ("The Easy Sunday Murder Case", 1971)
- 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)