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CNN Larry King Live

June Allyson Discusses Her Career

Aired July 04, 2001 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST: ... brightest stars for many years, made so many outstanding films. All that, and then becomes TV's Depends lady.

We're going to trace the whole career of the incredible June Allyson, who looks fantastic.

I must say you look terrific.

JUNE ALLYSON, ACTRESS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Do you ever think about doing any movies?

ALLYSON: No, but you know, like all actresses, if there's a really good part that came along, I would do it.

KING: Doesn't anyone come along and say, we need a nice pretty person? You know, of an older age, to play this? You never see a script?


KING: Not very good.


KING: What about a television movie?

ALLYSON: Well, it's practically the same thing. It's a good script either way or a bad script either way.

KING: That's right. You either like it or you don't like it. If you liked it, you would do it.

ALLYSON: Oh, yes.

KING: You were born in the Bronx?


KING: I was from Brooklyn.

ALLYSON: I love it. KING: Too far a train ride.


KING: Bronx is a long way away. How did you come into this field?

ALLYSON: Well...


ALLYSON: ...Ginger Rogers. And of course, I couldn't dance a step, but they saw an ad in a newspaper running chorus girls and they dared me to go down and audition for the part.

KING: Broadway show?

ALLYSON: Yeah, "Sing Out The News," I think it was.

KING: If you couldn't dance, how could you audition?

ALLYSON: Jump up and down a lot. I was, well, I'll do what Ginger did.

KING: Faking it.

ALLYSON: Yeah. And they called me back three times, I couldn't believe it. And the third time, just as I was starting to sing, a voice way in the back of the theater said, hold it, please don't have her stay here, because she'll only sing again, and I can't stand it. But they hired me.

KING: They did?


KING: In the chorus.

ALLYSON: In the chorus. I did not sing.

KING: If you couldn't danced, no dance training and couldn't sing and you make it, what do you think it was?

ALLYSON: I have no idea to this day. I don't know.

KING: Did you do a lot of theater?

ALLYSON: No, I didn't. I wasn't comfortable in theater. I was always very frightened to go out on the stage.

KING: Really?

ALLYSON: Yes. I still am.

KING: And you had a serious fall, didn't you? ALLYSON: When I was 12 years old. It wasn't actually a fall. A tree fell down -- one of the huge limbs hit me, I think I was on a bicycle, they took me to the hospital and they told my mother that night that I probably wouldn't last until morning.

KING: Wow. What saved you?

ALLYSON: I have no idea. I guess the wonderful doctors, I'm married to one so they're pretty wonderful people. I guess God. God chooses his people, I think.

KING: He chose well with you. What took you to Hollywood?

ALLYSON: Another lucky thing. It had nothing to do with me. I was in a Broadway show called "Best Foot Forward."

KING: A very famous show.

ALLYSON: Yeah. And MGM bought the whole play, and everybody in it. And I went along in a package deal.

KING: And were you in the film, too?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes. I even sang.

KING: What part did you have in "Best Foot Forward"?

ALLYSON: I played the part of Nova.

KING: What a name? No one is named Nova anymore.

ALLYSON: They wouldn't dare.

KING: Who starred in that?

ALLYSON: Lucille Ball.

KING: That's right. That brought her to Hollywood.

ALLYSON: Right and also she introduced me to my husband, Dick Powell.

KING: That famous marriage. Were you married to him when he died?


KING: He died of cancer, right?

ALLYSON: Yes, he did.

KING: Lung cancer.

ALLYSON: Lung cancer.

KING: Smoked too much? ALLYSON: Yes.

KING: He could sing and he could dance.

ALLYSON: He could do everything.

KING: That was like a storybook marriage. Today, that would be like one of the big tabloid marriages of all time, Dick Powell and June Allyson.

ALLYSON: I think so.

KING: You were both stars when you married, right?

ALLYSON: Yes, well, I never felt that I reached the pinnacle that he did, but I was what they call, I guess, a star then, but not a truly, truly one.

KING: And he was one of the starters of Desilu?


KING: And he got early into producing films?

ALLYSON: Very early. And I advised him against it.

KING: Our guest is June Allyson. What a treat. We will be right back.


ALLYSON: Oh, Mr. James.


ALLYSON: That was awfully good. I certainly hope you're not going to stick to the classics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's wrong with the classics?

ALLYSON: Oh, brother I can't stand them. You can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe we've got something in common.

ALLYSON: If it's common, we've got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't like the bee, stop buzzing around and telling us what you do like.

ALLYSON: The Three B's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Three B's. Boys, let's wrap it up so they can sell it.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the matter? What are you looking at?

ALLYSON: The man I just married. You know, the first time I even suspected anything was when I found myself packing. Remember, you met me at the station. You kissed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was that kiss that convinced you?

ALLYSON: And if you don't mind, I'd like to be convinced all over again.


KING: We are back with June Allyson, tracing her career. We have clips to show you lost of fun. Your name was Ella Geisman.


KING: Is that Jewish, German?

ALLYSON: No, that's Dutch.

KING: Dutch.

ALLYSON: It's actually Ella Van Geisman.

KING: Ella Van Geisman. How do you go from that to June Allyson? There's not even a semblance of comparison.

ALLYSON: I know. Actually it was George Abbot.

KING: The famous George Abbot, who lived forever.

ALLYSON: Forever. He was 125 when he passed away.

KING: Still directing when he died.


KING: Still writing.

ALLYSON: And dancing. He said you just don't look like a Ella Van Geisman. He said what month is this? I said June. He said that's a nice name for you, kind of sunny. Do you have a nice second name in your family we can use? I said my older brother's name is Allison. He said, we'll call you June Allyson.

KING: Just like that.


KING: And Allison would have been spelled with an I, right? And they spelled yours with a Y?


KING: So they bring you to Hollywood.


KING: What's your break in which the public gets to know June Allyson? What was your breakthrough film?

ALLYSON: I think it was "Two Girls And A Sailor" with (UNINTELLIGIBLE), who is still my very best friend.

KING: Great lady. She was married to Bernard Frank, the mayor of Miami Beach.

ALLYSON: Oh, my gosh. I missed him. She had been married several times.

KING: I know, but John Payne was also something. He could also sing.

ALLYSON: Yes, everybody could sing except me.

KING: You keep getting ahead, without being able to sing. But that picture made you?

ALLYSON: Yes, it did.

KING: And would you agree that your uniqueness was your freshness? That -- like George (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was correct, June fit you? As you looked at yourself, you were -- everybody liked you, right?

ALLYSON: I don't know. I really don't know. I've never ever felt that I was pretty. I never felt that I had very much talent. I knew things I wanted to do and I never lost that dream about wanting to be a doctor.

And so, when I made enough money to become a doctor, I financed my brother's career and he's a famous doctor today.

KING: No kidding?

ALLYSON: Yes. And I'm married to a doctor.

KING: So, medicine is still at the core of you.


KING: Dating back to them saving your life.

ALLYSON: Yes, always.

KING: You didn't think you had talent?


KING: You didn't think were you pretty.


KING: So what do you think it was? I mean, you must at sometimes think about it.

ALLYSON: Well, I really, when people ask me that, I answer and I'm not sure I'm joking. I say, I think they felt a little bit sorry for me because I tried so hard, and they were willing to give this poor little tyke a break.

KING: You were a hard worker.


KING: Obviously other things. You obviously like the camera. The camera liked you. You can't fool a camera.

ALLYSON: No, I guess you can't.

KING: So, obviously you had an affinity with that camera.

ALLYSON: Like you do. I watch you all the time.

KING: But I don't know what I'm doing.

ALLYSON: Well, I don't either.

KING: But it seems like -- they said Gary Cooper understood a camera. He understood where the camera was. He knew what it was doing, he knew how he looked. You didn't?

ALLYSON: I had no idea. I never knew where the camera was. Lucille Ball always knew where the lights belonged, and she would say put a highlight over there and my hair light over there.

KING: And you to this day don't know where the lights are?

ALLYSON: Haven't the foggiest. Where are they?

KING: Like a girl from the Bronx. We will be right back with June Allyson. don't go away.


ALLYSON (singing): A love like ours is something very precious. Don't abuse it or you will be sorry. It ain't wise to jeopardize a love like ours.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And you think my face frightens people, do you? ALLYSON: Yes, sir. Frankly, I do. You understand, I don't think you mean to frighten them, but your face -- well, you asked me, sir, and yes, I do think so.


ALLYSON: I've heard you bark, yes, sir. Perhaps you don't bark all the time, but you do bark, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And with all that, you rather like me do you?

ALLYSON: Yes, I do, I really do, in spite of everything.


KING: We are back with June Allyson. What was that like, the MGM days?

ALLYSON: It was fabulous. I thought I was at Disneyland every day. You walk down the street and see all these famous stars and they know your name.

KING: And you knew them and they knew you?

ALLYSON: Yes, I'd say hi, Gary.

KING: And those were also days, I understand, when stars rooted for each other. You wanted the other guys film to do well.

ALLYSON: Oh, yes.

KING: It was not competitive inside MGM.

ALLYSON: No, we were all friends.

KING: But you had to take any script they gave you? Was that the contract or could you turn down a film?

ALLYSON: Well, you could turn down. but then you could get suspended too, so I very rarely turned anything down.

KING: How many movies did you make?

ALLYSON: Oh, gosh, I would say in the 30s.

KING: Was the work atmosphere terrific?

ALLYSON: Yes. It was wonderful. We didn't work that hard and I loved being at the studio.

KING: Why?

ALLYSON: It was a second home for me, because I didn't have really the kind of home life most kids have and papa Mayer figured I was his child, and I just always felt very comfortable there. KING: Did you have a problem childhood?

ALLYSON: Yes, I did.

KING: Father, mother, both?

ALLYSON: My mother and dad separated when I was 6 months old and my mother had to go to work so I very rarely saw her. But I loved her very much. She just passed away.

KING: Brothers and sisters?


KING: Your brother you sent through medical school.

ALLYSON: He's wonderful. He's so brilliant. He got my brains.

KING: You got a lot of chutzpah, though. You did "Best Foot Forward," "Girl Crazy," "Meat the People," "Two Girls and a Sailor," "The Bride Goes Wild." You worked with Van Johnson a lot.


KING: Van is still around isn't he?

ALLYSON: I know. He lives in New York. You know that.

KING: Never see Van Johnson. There's a guy I never see, never hear about him.

ALLYSON: You know, when I married Richard Powell, Dick Powell, we got reverse fan mail -- how dare you marry Dick Powell? You were supposed to marry Van Johnson. And he got letters saying, how dare you let her marry that man. You should have asked her first.

KING: You like working with Van.

ALLYSON: Yes, very much.

KING: Because?

ALLYSON: He was wonderful. He's very serious, very serious, when he was working. But when he was playing he was the funniest man in the world.

KING: Did you know Ronald Reagan then?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes, sure. He and Richard were great friends and Nancy and I were great friends. And I haven't seen Ronnie since he's been ill but I've talked to Nancy. She's fine. She's remarkable.

KING: She's been on this show many times. She hangs tough.

ALLYSON: Oh, does she ever and she just takes the best care of him ever. I wonder if I would be that strong. KING: Well, one advantage is you wanted to be a doctor.


KING: So you probably would be.

ALLYSON: Probably.

KING: Are there still times you wish you were a doctor?

ALLYSON: Yes, especially when I have to go on stage.

KING: How did you get together with Dick Powell? How did that happen?

ALLYSON: Lucille Ball introduced me to him.

KING: Did you ever do a movie with him?

ALLYSON: Yes, I did a movie called "Meet the People" in which Lucy was tool.

KING: So she said, you two ought to know each other?

ALLYSON: No, I said, could you introduce me please? I think I fell in love with him immediately. I just had seen him on screen. So wonderful, in that glorious voice. And I met him and when he asked me out on a date I said, I was still kind of corny, I said I can't go out with you, you're married. And he said if you read the paper tomorrow morning and find out I'm no longer married.

So he and Joan Blondell were getting a divorce, and I thought OK. And I waited for about two weeks, and he used to tell this story to everyone: We were riding along in the car and suddenly I said to Richard, "I'd like to know what your intentions are." I was very serious.

And he said, "My intentions about what?" I said, "Getting married." He said, "Getting married? I don't want to get married again."

I said, "All right, then, I don't think we should see each other anymore."

He said, "All right, I'll take you home."

And he took me home, and I lived in this little tiny apartment and I was crying. He lived in Toluca Lake somewhere, and he called me as he did every night when he got home to tell me he got home safely.

And I was crying and he said, "Are you crying?"

And I said, "No, I'm not crying."

He said, "Oh god," hung up the phone, came all the way back, an hour drive, and he said: "OK, I'll marry you. Do you want to get married?"

I said, "Yes, I do."

And he said, "When?"

I said, "Next week."

He said, "Well, isn't that a little soon?"

I said, "No, I've got my dress."

KING: How long did it last?

ALLYSON: Seventeen years, until he passed away.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.


ALLYSON: I've been like this ever since I was a little girl -- rational, cool as a cucumber -- until I found someone being cruel to animals.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Your coffee's getting cold.

ALLYSON: When I was 9 I almost annihilated the girl next door for pulling the wings off a butterfly. Then I guess I didn't hit anybody until I was almost 11.


ALLYSON: You see, when I went to Sunday School I was taught "Thou shalt not kill." Well, as far as I'm concerned, that also applies to elephants.


ALLYSON: That is just an example. Elephants and all other animals.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What do you think you're eating?

ALLYSON: Hamburger.


ALLYSON: Oh, come now.




ALLYSON: I'm not a child.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, honey, I know you're not a child.

ALLYSON: You go, then we both go on active duty. Besides, what's wrong were being an Air Force wife and living in a barracks, or whatever you call them? Might be fun. Anything you do is fine with me, just so long as you don't leave me behind.


ALLYSON: Of course I do. I married you, Judge, not a hustler.


KING: We're back with June Allyson. That unusual voice -- another thing. You've always had this kind of soft -- do you have laryngitis today or is this June?


ALLYSON: This is June, yes. Do you know, I've been asked that all of my life? Do you have laryngitis? No, I don't.

KING: I've noticed this about Hollywood stars of the '40s and '50s: their voices were very distinctive. Today that's not true. You can pick out a few, but the average Hollywood star today, you wouldn't know. For example, it's not -- you don't know Tom Cruise's voice.

ALLYSON: No, you don't.

KING: If you heard him speaking on the radio you wouldn't know it was Tom Cruise, right?


KING: You wouldn't know a lot of the female stars. But back then, you knew June Allyson, you knew Joan Crawford, you know Betty Davis, Gregory Peck...

ALLYSON: That's true.

KING: ... John Wayne. The voices were distinctive. This was the deluxe radio theater. People like you doing movies, scripts on radio.

ALLYSON: That's right.

KING: So your voice may have been part of it.

ALLYSON: I think you're right.

KING: OK, we can't talk to June Allyson without mentioning Jimmy Stewart. It's like ham and eggs. How did that get-together happen?

ALLYSON: He wanted me for a picture. Actually, he wanted me for three pictures.

KING: He was three feet taller than you. ALLYSON: I know, and I never stood on a box.

KING: Never did.

ALLYSON: Never stood on a box.

KING: So when he kiss kissed you he always had to bend over.

ALLYSON: I made him bend over.

KING: He wanted you for a movie.

ALLYSON: Yes, and he said that: "I won't let you do the movie unless you do three of them." And he named the three. I said you want me?

He said: "You going to read the script?"

And I said, "No, sir, just want to work with you." And we did three films together, and they were probably, with the exception of "Little Women" the best pictures I've ever made.

KING: And that would be Monty Stratton's story, about the baseball player in the hunting accident, lost his leg.


KING: You played "Lindbergh."


KING: You were Lindbergh's wife.

ALLYSON: Yes. Glenn Miller's wife.

KING: And Glenn Miller's wife.

ALLYSON: And somebody else's. Who was the other one?

KING: Jimmy Stewart biographies -- you...

ALLYSON: Everybody thought I was married to Jimmy.

KING: How do you think that been link worked? First of all, we said two great voices -- unusual voices.

ALLYSON: Jimmy's was very distinct, yes.

KING: Two very different looking people.


KING: Why do you think it worked? You must have given some thought to that.

ALLYSON: Yes. I think we had a nice chemistry, and I think we liked each other. I don't mean we had a crush on each other or anything like that, but I do believe we liked each other so much and respected each other so much that it -- I don't know, it formed a bond between us.

And even when we were out, when we weren't doing a film, if we were in a room with 300 people, Jimmy being so tall, I would see him and he would find me some way, and he'd come over, all the way over. And by this time I was married to my present husband, David, and he'd come over and pick me up and kiss me in front of everyone. And one day my husband, David, said, "You know, Jimmy, you really look like you're enjoying kissing Juney."

And he looked at David and he said, "Oh, I am."

KING: He was something.

ALLYSON: Oh, he was so special.

KING: Did you ever play someone bad?

ALLYSON: Once. And I was a miserable...

KING: Evil person.

ALLYSON: Evil person.

KING: Who was it? What was the movie?

ALLYSON: It was called "The Shrike."

KING: With Jose Ferrer?

ALLYSON: Yes, and people did not like it. They wrote letters to the studio saying, "How dare you allow June Allyson to do a film like that?"

KING: That was a pretty wild film, though. That's where he hypnotized himself in the mirror?


KING: You played who in that?

ALLYSON: What else? His wife.

KING: His wife. Did you like playing evil!

ALLYSON: Yes, I did.

KING: But you -- that's not you though, right?

ALLYSON: No. I tried to make it be me, but I guess I failed.

KING: You mentioned "Little Women." I want to talk about that because that's such a famous film. Were you surprised at how well you and Stewart hit it off, though? I mean, you... ALLYSON: Everything surprised me.

KING: You're still surprised, huh?

ALLYSON: I'm still surprised, yes. I'm surprised you asked me to come down and do your show. I'm serious.

KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Allyson -- still wants to be a doctor.


KING: We'll be right back with June Allyson on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


JIMMY STEWART, ACTOR: Look, she's beautiful. Look, she's beautiful, isn't she?

ALLYSON: He's a healthy baby. Look at those red cheeks.

STEWART: Yeah, look at your baby sister. Isn't she beautiful?

ALLYSON: Oh, you know I've been planning it for months, and I just told them I had to have her today and they were wonderful about it.

STEWART: Were they? How old is she?

ALLYSON: Six weeks today. She's a hungry old woman.

STEWART: This is going to take some expert action here. Her young father is going to feed her now. Let's have the bottle. There we go. All right, Johnny. There we are. How's your appetite, huh?




ALLYSON: I won't grow up and be Ms. March. I won't wear long gowns and look like a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Oh, I'll never get over my disappointment of not being a boy. Look at me, dying to go and fight by father's side, and here I am sitting and knitting like a pokey old woman.


KING: We're back with June Allyson. All right, tell me about "Little Women," how you got, and that -- that was a very famous film.

ALLYSON: Yes, it certainly was, and Mervyn LeRoy was the director.

KING: A great (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and a nice guy.

ALLYSON: Oh, I loved him, but he wanted me to test for it. And I had a theory that if ever I tested I would never get the role, because I'm not good under pressure and I would have been under pressure testing for a role. And I refused to do it, and he told "Papa Mayer" that if I didn't test for it I couldn't have it. So I outsat him.

KING: You held back?

ALLYSON: Yes. And I got it.

KING: You worked with Elizabeth Taylor in that movie?

ALLYSON: Yes, she was wonderful.

KING: Get along with her?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes, she is wonderful. She's very funny.

KING: Margaret O'Brien.

ALLYSON: delightful.

KING: Anyone you didn't get along with?

ALLYSON: No, I don't think there ever was anyone, because I don't know. I have a theory. It's old: I like everyone I meet until they do something I don't like.

KING: Why did "Little Women" do well?

ALLYSON: First of all, it's a very famous, famous book by Louisa May Alcott, and it had been done, oh, several times -- I think three or four times. Katherine Hepburn was the last one to do it.

KING: And stage also, wasn't it?

ALLYSON: Yes, it was a stage play. And it was just a lovely, lovely story about family, which we don't have today.

KING: Yeah. Did you like playing it?

ALLYSON: I loved it. I'm really Jo.

KING: Yeah, you are.

ALLYSON: I really am Jo. I had to play her.

KING: Were you good at memorizing your lines and all those things?

ALLYSON: Excellent. I really could go home and learn my scenes for the next day in one reading. And David or my husband, Richard, would cue me and I'd be letter perfect. KING: About you, I will read a quote from Ginger Rogers, who said, "She's the girl every man wants to marry and the girl every woman wants as a friend." Nice quote.


KING: Did you know her partner, Fred Astaire?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes, I loved them both.

KING: Did you ever dance with Fred Astaire?

ALLYSON: No, but I finally got assigned to a picture with him, and I was twirling around the floor with him and I was getting nauseated, and I thought, "I can't believe I'm this excited to stand..."

KING: He was dancing with him?

ALLYSON: Yeah, and I found out, of course, I was going to have my child, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'll speak to him about that later. So I stepped out of the picture, because I didn't want to lose my child because I had been told I couldn't have children. And so I thought I'll call Fred myself, I won't have the studio tell him. So I got him on the phone, and I said, "Mr. Astaire, I wanted you to be the first to know I'm going to have a baby." And he said, "Who is this?"


And I said, "It's me." And he said, "Me who?" And I said, "Your ex-dancing partner, June Allyson." He had no idea it was me.

KING: Didn't know that voice?

ALLYSON: No, apparently not.

KING: What movie was it?

ALLYSON: "A Royal Wedding." Jane Powell eventually did it.

KING: Another girl you were friendly with was Judy Garland, right?

ALLYSON: Oh, she was my idol.

KING: Did you work with her?

ALLYSON: Only once when she did her television show. Never in a film.

KING: You guested on her show?

ALLYSON: Yeah, and she was wonderful to me. It was right after Richard passed away. And I was in a restaurant, and she was there and she came over and she said: Enough of this feeling sorry for yourself. I want you at my studio tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, because you're going to be on my show. And I said, no, I can't do that, Judy, I'm not ready. She said, you're ready. And I did her show, and from that moment on, I was ready.

KING: A tragic case, Judy Garland.

ALLYSON: You know...

KING: Could someone have helped?

ALLYSON: I don't know. I don't really know. I rather doubt it, because I don't believe Judy ever realized or knew just how great she was, the great talent that she -- that she had.

KING: You mean she self-doubted?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

KING: Wow.

ALLYSON: Don't we all.

KING: Yeah, but with that ability it's uncanny to believe that.

ALLYSON: Yeah, but it's true.

KING: Our guest...


ALLYSON: I'm always interrupting you. I'm sorry.

KING: No, you're not. You're all right. Do you have laryngitis?


Our guest -- our guest is June Allyson. We'll be right back.


DAVID NIVEN, ACTOR: But if I am mad, why would I be taking a job as your butler?

ALLYSON: You're going to take it?

NIVEN: Hasn't it occurred to you that I might very easily be a dope peddler or a murderer?

ALLYSON: Oh, no. You're not the kind of man that would ever come easily to, Mr. Godfrey. And anyway, if you really did it, I'm quite sure they had it coming to them.


ALLYSON: Whoever you murdered.

NIVEN: Well, it was just that little old lady I strangled for her money, you know?

ALLYSON: Oh, well, we don't have any little old ladies in our house, so you can start in the morning.

NIVEN: What about the rest of your family? Are they going to have anything to say about this?

ALLYSON: Well, they better not say anything what with all I've got on all of them, and we can work out the other details later. I'll see you in the morning, Mr. Godfrey.




ALLYSON: Oh, Godfrey. Oh, mother, why don't you and Vincent have dinner? I'll just lie here for a moment until I feel better.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) don't like to leave you alone.

ALLYSON: Oh, no, Godfrey will stay with me. Won't you Godfrey?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Oh, yes, that's a splendid idea. Sit down beside her Godfrey so she can look at you and touch you. And Vincent, you come with me. Sit tight, darling.

ALLYSON: Godfrey...

NIVEN: Yes, miss.


KING: You were also very friendly, June Allyson, with Peter Lawford, right?

ALLYSON: Yes. Yes, I think a very tragic man, a very tragic end to this man. He was such a delightful man.

KING: Life went down for him, though, didn't it?

ALLYSON: Very much so.

KING: The Kennedys and after the assassination.

ALLYSON: Oh, yes. Everything -- everything fell apart, because I think -- I don't like to say this -- but I think so. I think the Kennedys used him. You know, he was -- I don't know what you call him, but was like the go-between for everybody.

KING: The runner.

ALLYSON: Yeah, the runner.

KING: Did you know Marilyn Monroe?

ALLYSON: Yes, yes, you are not going to believe this but she was the sweetest, most delightful person I ever met. I remember when Richard was doing a film with her, and nobody knew who Marilyn Monroe was, and everybody was waiting for this new girl to come on the set, and finally after about an hour, the big stage door opened and this beautiful blond girl came in.

And she walked across the sound stage very slowly to where she was supposed to go. You could not hear a pin drop on that stage. Every person just stopped and watched her walk. When she sat down, everybody sort of breathed.

KING: Did Dick Powell direct her?

ALLYSON: No, he was doing a part in the film.

KING: Did he like her?

ALLYSON: Very much. He thought she had a lot of talent and some day somebody would find it.

KING: Were you jealous of her?

ALLYSON: No, no.

KING: I bet a lot of women were.

ALLYSON: You couldn't be. If you knew Marlin you couldn't be jealous of her, she was so sweet. Such a good person. You know, if you said to Marilyn, I love that blouse you are wearing; she would give it to you. She was that kind of person.

KING: You lost some people in your life.

ALLYSON: Too many.

KING: Dick Powell's death. Was that a long time to live with? Did he know he was dying?

ALLYSON: Yes, but he didn't know that I knew it. I didn't know that he didn't know that -- I -- it was very bad time. It took me a good eight years, I would say.

KING: Really?

ALLYSON: I just locked myself away and I did a terrible thing. I found the bottle, you know, a lot of...

KING: You drank.

ALLYSON: Oh, yeah, and I wouldn't go out, I wouldn't do anything, until Jimmy found me, and I would say she was the one who saved my life. Then my brother, God bless his sweet soul, my husband was his -- and still is -- his best friend, and my brother wanted me to have a date with David. And I said, I don't want a date. I just -- nobody can fill Richard's shoes, you know? And my brother insisted that I met this doctor. Well, doctors sort of clicked, that was better. And he lived in Ventura. And I drove up to Ventura, I said, but don't ever do this to me again. Don't ever fix me up with a blind date, because it's embarrassing.

I was deliberately late; I'm usual very early. I came out and he was out on the patio barbecuing, and I watched him for a minute and he flipped up something in the air and it fell on the cement; he calmly picked it up and put it on the fire, and I thought, oh, boy, that's what I really need to meet. And he turned around and he smiled. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ALLYSON: We knew we were going to be married within two weeks.

KING: No kidding.

ALLYSON: Yep. We have been married for 25 years.

KING: How did you stop drinking?

ALLYSON: David. He said you don't need that; you got me. And I said yes, you are right.

KING: And you were able to stop it?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes, I didn't like it. I always got sick and threw up, pardon me.

KING: But it helped you escape.


KING: June Allyson is our guest. We will be right back.


KING: We are back with June Allyson.

Tell me about Depends. How that came together for you, how suddenly, you became this hit commercial artist.

ALLYSON: It was very strange, they came to me and asked me if I would like to do the commercial, and I thought, I don't know -- it is not a pleasant subject. And I thought, well, I talked to my mom and I said you know, they want me to do this commercial about incontinence, and I don't know if i want to do that or not.

She said, really -- why not?

I said, well, it's not attractive. And she said, cancer isn't attractive, lots of things aren't attractive, but you might be able to help somebody and I said, OK. I went back to Kimberly Clark and I said, I will do the commercial. I took more flack for that.

KING: From?

ALLYSON: People, you know, all sort of turned around and I got letters thanking me. I have been with Kimberly Clark for almost 18 years now.

KING: I think the first time those kind of adult diapers were discussed on television.

ALLYSON: That's right. I brought it all out in the open.

KING: People were hesitant to do commercials.

ALLYSON: They wouldn't do it, until I got it.

KING: When it first appeared though, there must have been people kidding you.

ALLYSON: Yes! They asked me if I had my diapers on, and I would say don't do that because you may need them one day and you'll have to call me.

KING: So that was fun?

ALLYSON: Yes, it was. They were the nicest people I have ever worked for.

KING: You made that product.

ALLYSON: I would like to say, yes, I did.

KING: Did you have any qualms as a film actress for doing that commercial. You know, some actors would not stoop to do a commercial, it was beneath them.

ALLYSON: No, no. Why...

KING: I don't know -- they felt like it was sort of selling. Don't you know, there were a lot that would never do commercials?

ALLYSON: No. I would never feel that way because you see, because Richard did Camel cigarettes -- of course, that got him into bad trouble -- but no, he said, a job is a job. No matter what it is, if you like doing it, it's worth doing.

KING: When he died, did you blame cigarettes?

ALLYSON: Not actually, I blamed Richard. For smoking them. And I was a smoker. And still smoking cigarettes until I met David.

KING: You even smoked after Richard got lung cancer -- died of lung cancer, you still smoked?

ALLYSON: Yes. Until David said, I have a heart condition and I don't like the smoke in our house is not good. And he took me down to Shik (ph).

KING: The Shik (ph) Center.

ALLYSON: Yeah, I went there for about a week and I stopped smoking and I haven't smoked for 25 years.

KING: David is pretty good for you.

ALLYSON: Oh, David is wonderful for me, yes.

KING: Stopped drinking, stopped smoking.


KING: We will be back with our remaining moments with the delightful June Allyson. I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hi. Oh, you look wonderful.

ALLYSON: Now, listen, Glenn, I've only come to talk to...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, well, we can talk it over on our way to the license bureau.

ALLYSON: Well, now, that's just exactly what I mean. I'm not going to let you rush me into getting married.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Of course not. Of course not, but there isn't much time. See, we have to pick up the license, then we have to be back uptown at the church by 7:00. You see, I have to be in the theater by 8:00.

ALLYSON: Now, wait a minute, Glenn.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm so glad you're here.




ALLYSON: What was that you were playing? It's lovely.

STEWART: Just a little exercise I'm working out for (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I hope he likes it.

ALLYSON: If you do if for him, does that mean you won't be able to use this?

STEWART: No, doesn't make any difference. It's not that good, so...

ALLYSON: I think it is.

STEWART: You like it as good as "Little Brown Jug"?

ALLYSON: No. I think you should do something with it.

STEWART: I suppose you could make a popular song out of it, get somebody to write you some lyrics. Get a title. What's a good title?

ALLYSON: Well, it should be soft and romantic, like moonlight.

STEWART: Mm-hmm. Moonlight. Young lover under his sweetheart's window...

ALLYSON: You wouldn't, by any chance, be thinking of a night in Boulder, Colorado.

STEWART: Wasn't any moonlight that night, just your father with his shotgun.

ALLYSON: Because I know you didn't serenade me, either.

STEWART: I didn't have a chance. There's a title -- "Serenade in the Moonlight." Serenade in the moonlight?

ALLYSON: How about "Moonlight Serenade"?

STEWART: "Moonlight Serenade"? That's not bad.

ALLYSON: I like that. It's kind of pretty.

KING: We're back with the wonderful June Allyson. How did you hear and learn about the passing of Jimmy Stewart?

ALLYSON: Oh, well...

KING: He was ill, right? He didn't go out of his house much after his wife died, right?

ALLYSON: When Gloria passed away, I think he really went at the same time. He just didn't want to be there. I think he just couldn't wait to join her, so to speak. And was it -- two years later, I think, Jimmy passed away.

KING: Yes.

ALLYSON: And it's terrible thing to say, but I was kind of happy for him, because I kind of believed he finally joined Gloria. They were so happy together. They were so perfect together.

KING: He was never the same.

ALLYSON: No, no, no. Without Gloria, it was like the sun never came out.

KING: What was last movie you did?

ALLYSON: "The Glenn Miller Story."

KING: that was your last?

ALLYSON: Oh, my last movie? Good lord.

KING: That was your last movie with Stewart.

ALLYSON: Yes, that was a nice scene.

KING: Music wasn't bad.

ALLYSON: No, the music was very good.

KING: When you see an old June Allyson movie on Turner Movie Classics or AMC...

ALLYSON: No, we don't say "old." Early.

KING: Forgive me. Old is a word we don't use.


KING: When you see an early Allyson film, do you watch it?

ALLYSON: No. I'm sorry.


KING: Because -- are you uncomfortable? When you went to premiers -- come on, you had to go to premiers, the red carpet, the big Hollywood premier. Now you're siting there, there's 1,000 people. The screen opens up the curtain. What was it like to see yourself?

ALLYSON: Thrilling. Absolutely thrilling.

KING: That, you liked.

ALLYSON: That I liked. But I won't go movie to see me. And if I'm on television, I don't watch me.

KING: Because?

ALLYSON: I don't know.

KING: You're not very critical of yourself?

ALLYSON: Maybe that's the reason. Maybe I'm too critical. I never thought of that, but I may be too critical.

KING: Do you have your own favorite film?

ALLYSON: I have three, actually. "The Glenn Miller Story," "Little Women" and "Good News," which I did with Peter.

KING: They tried to romance you and Peter, didn't they?

ALLYSON: Oh, yes, they wanted to romance me with everybody.

KING: Dan Johnson, Peter -- Hollywood did this then, right?


KING: Let's send out rumors. It's good for business.

ALLYSON: Yes, very good for business.

KING: What was Louis B. Mayer like?

ALLYSON: I loved him. Most of the people...

KING: I'm going to have to bring up Hitler at some point here, to find dislike.

ALLYSON: No, I didn't like him.

KING: OK, good.

Louis B. Mayer, though, was a tough -- they say you either liked him or didn't.

ALLYSON: I loved him because he was the father I never had, and he guided me. The only thing he didn't do well with me was wanting to marry Richard -- thought he was too old, a has-been...

KING: Really?

ALLYSON: Yes. And I was going to get fired or put on suspension, and I was up in his office. And he said, if you do marry this man, I will suspend you.

And I said OK, and I left his office and I went downstairs and I thought, got to go back. So I went back and I said, Papa, I know you're not happy with me. I know you're very upset with me, but I am going to marry Richard, and I would like to know if you'd please give me away because I don't have a father.

And he sat there and he said, OK, you can go now. And I left, and he gave me away. I'm terrible, I know.

KING: That's great story.

ALLYSON: It's true.

KING: You have quite a life.

ALLYSON: Yes, a wonderful live.

KING: Thank you so much.

ALLYSON: Larry, I've never enjoyed anything as much as this, really. You are wonderful.

KING: My pleasure.

ALLYSON: Thank you. KING: June Allyson, what can you say? A star is born. We made her -- but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was nothing until she appeared.

Do you have laryngitis?


KING: Thanks very much for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, and good night.