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Obituary: June Haver.

SHE was precocious, curvaceous and beautiful in the bottled-blonde style, and the studio groomers saw her as the next Betty Grable.

But in a strange twist of fate and passion, the woman, who had co-starred with Marilyn Monroe, was to give her most interesting performance in a convent.

June Haver was raised in Rock Island, Illinois, the daughter of Fred and Marie Stovenour. From the start, she saw herself as a star and by the age of five she was playing Haydn on the piano.

When she was eight, she was given a screen test by MGM, who wanted another Shirley Temple. Although she was chosen from 5,000 hopefuls, Marie felt that her middle daughter should be able to enjoy a little more childhood.

Her talents were quickly recognised and she was given a radio show, in which she starred and wrote the script.

Soon after that, her parents divorced and she took the surname of her mother's second husband, Bert Haver.

Touring the country with her mother and Ted Flo Rito and his band, she appeared in two short films.

Twentieth Century Fox signed her up as the new Betty Grable. There followed Home in Indiana (1944), Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1943) and Where Do We Go From Here? (1944), co-starring Fred MacMurray, whom she would wed 11 years later.

By the early '50s, she was recognised as a major star, sharing the credits with Monroe in Love Nest. She followed that success with I'll Get By and The Girl Next Door.

Before that, however, came the most curious episode in her life.

In 1947, Haver had made an impulsive and totally unsuitable marriage to the musician Jimmy Zito. Its break-up and some subsequent dating with Hollywood hunks such as Victor Mature, persuaded her to convert to Catholicism.

Then she met Dr John Duzic, dentist to the stars. Sadly, he was to suffer from haemophilia following surgery and she sang to him on his deathbed in 1949.

After she had made her two 1950s' films, Haver entered St Mary's Academy in Leavenworth, Kansas, as a novice sister. But she only stayed for seven months.

Later, she adopted twin girls with MacMurray

June Haver, actress; born June 10, 1926, died July 4, 2005
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 12, 2005
Words:374
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