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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JUNE LOCKHART?

Byline: Greg Hernandez

Staff Writer

June Lockhart might not be on television each week like she was at the height of her fame in the 1960s, but the actress best known as Timmy's mom on "Lassie" is still one busy octogenarian.

"I've always been most discriminating about what I do," Lockhart said recently. "I'm exceedingly independent, so there's no need to feel pressure (to work). If something appropriate comes along, I'll do it."

Her most recent role was as a grandmother in the ABC Family movie "Holiday in Handcuffs," which aired in December.

"Apparently it got the biggest ratings that any ABC Family Channel show has ever had," said Lockhart, 82. "That was fun. We shot it in Calgary and it was 10 below zero! It was a test in sportsmanship."

It's quite a run of success for a career that began as a teenager when she appeared with her acting parents, Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Arthur Lockhart, in a Broadway production of "A Christmas Carol." She went on to win a Tony Award in 1948 for Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer for her role on Broadway in "For Love or Money."

She was also busy in films with supporting parts in "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Sergeant York," and "The Yearling," and had the lead in "She-Wolf of London." But by the early 1950s, most of her work was in television, with guest spots on such westerns as "Gunsmoke," "Rawhide," "Have Gun -- Will Travel" and "Wagon Train."

In 1958, Lockhart began 12 straight years of television series work. First was a six-year run on "Lassie," followed in 1964 by "Lost in Space," a sci-fi fave.

Lockhart completed her 1960s hat trick of hit series when she stepped into "Petticoat Junction" for its final three seasons after original star Bea Benaderet died during the sitcom's run.

But Lockhart didn't just play a mother on TV. She has two daughters from her marriage to John Lindsay, which ended in divorce in 1959. Younger daughter Anne Lockhart has numerous film and television credits.

The actress credits "good genes" for her good health and stamina and ability to maintain a 60-plus year career.

"I've been working out twice a week for years and years and years," she said. "I've always been athletic and I don't eat any kind of mystery food -- just a nice, plain nourishing diet -- and I've never smoked. I think that makes a difference."

greg.hernandez@dailynews.com

818-713-3758

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2 photos

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(2 -- color) June Lockhart in 2005.

Gerard Burkhart/AFP/Getty Images

(1) June Lockhart starred in the TV series "Lassie" for six years.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 20, 2008
Words:437
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