June Allyson


  1. Bonita Granville, Ah, Wilderness! 1934.   Allyson was first asked to join Ray McDonald as her brother – the youngest siblings in Lionel Barrymore’s family in the MGMovie.

  2. Gloria DeHaven, Two Girls and a Sailor, 1943.    They had both made other movies, but this was the first starring roles for both MGM actresses. (Idem for Tom Drake).   In fact, Allyson was first selected to be her own sister – ie DeHaven’s Jean. Van Johnson was the sailor – in the first of six Allyson movies.

  3. Donna Reed, Green Dolphin Street, 1946.    Forty years later, Reed recalled she never wanted to be Marguerite because Lana Turner (as her sister Marianne) was gorgeous. “If I play that part, it’ll ruin the picture” – the public would never believe that William would choose chose her over Lana. He didn’t; he muddled their names in his marriage proposal letter…

  4. Colleen Gray, Nightmare Alley, 1947.    Ya cain’t always get wot ya wanna… In handwritten note dated February 1947, head Fox Darryl Zanuck suggested Allyson as Molly. New York Sun critic Gary Giddins said in 2005: “Considering the material – degradation, adultery, alcoholism, murder, larceny, spiritualism, high-stakes cons, and child abuse, set against the Depression scrim of anarchy, racism, desperation, and top-down corruption – we may marvel that the film was made at all.”

  5. Judy Garland, In The Good Old Summertime, 1948.    June and Frank Sinatra. But June was pregnant. No problem – Gloria DeHaven and Frank. No? OK. Judy Garland and Frank. No, Frank had split. OK then, and this is MGM’s final offer – Judy and Van Johnson. Garland used to pick up Allyson in her car en route to the MGM studio… whee, due to her uncanny weeping-on-cue abilities, Allyson was known as the town crier of MGM – alongside Margaret O’Brien..

  6. Esther Williams, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, 1948.    When Judy Garland had to be replaced as KC Williams (opposite Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra), Allyson was called in first but… still pregnant!

  7. Judy Garland, Summer Stock, 1949.      End of an era… Judy and Mickey Rooney were over…. Gene Kelly subbed as a favour to Judy, whose career and life were in meltdown. This was her first gig since being fired from Annie Get Your Gun. She was down, her weight was up, and her delays many. Allyson was drafted into her place until LB Mayer decided to give Judy a second chance. Her last chance… her last Metro movie as she was sacked from her next…

  8. Jane Powell, Royal Wedding, 1949.    Mrs Dick Powell’s “dream role.” But when Fred Astaire twirled her around, “I’d get a little nauseated, have to leave the room.” She shrunk to 89 lbs and saw her doctor: “How pregnant can one little girl get…” Garland replaced her but never turned up, MGM ripped up her contract and she tried suicide. A victim of MGM, itself, as much as drugs (it fed her) and booze (she fed herself), ,Judy never made another film until A Star Is Born in 1953. But what worried the fans was how Fred Astaire managed to dance on the ceiling…

  9. Evelyn Keyes, Mrs Mike, 1949.    Allyson was suggested for the lead. Of course, she was. Dick Powell, her husband, was the star. And the producer!   Also considered for his Mountie’s Bostonian wife: Peggy Cummins, Barbara Bates, Barbara Bel Geddes, Betsy Drake, Joanne Dru, Diana Lynn.

  10. Deborah Kerr, Please Believe Me, 1949.   MGM promised  bigger budget to producer Val Lewton – more usually connected with horror movies – as long as he dumped  Deborah Kerr for  the bigger star, June Allyson  Lewton kept the faith with Kerr – as the heiress chased by three guys on a slow boat to America.  But he should have shuffled the guys around: Robert Walker, Mark Stevens, Peter Lawford.

  11. Anne Baxter, All About Eve, 1950.
  12. Jane Wyman, Three Guys Named Mike, 1950.     Mike was obviously the in-name of the hour… Allyson was pregnant (with Dick Powell Jr) and Wyman became one of three air stewardess deciding between a pilot, a college prof and a businessman. Mike, every one. 

  13. Gene Tierney, Plymouth Adventure, 1951.    Tierney almost lost her cabin on the voyage of the Mayflower – as studio chief Dore Schary preferred using Metro folk only. Or, until he understood the interest his star, Spencer Tracy, had in Tierney

  14. Deborah Kerr, Dream Wife, 1952.  Before Dylan put it ( to music, the time were a-changing … Replacing  the  Cary Grant-Allyson mismatch, this first  of three  for the Grant-Deborah Kerr team was  a total flop. Indeed, the fourth successive failure for Grant.  “Significant” was Hollywood new in-word (Death of a Salesman, Come Back, Little Sheba ). He  immediately started talking  and even  declaring retirement. He took a world cruise  for a year with his wife, Betsy Drake. When he got back – WTF to do? The phone rang.  Hitchcock.  Grace Kelly. To Catch A Thief.  Bingo..!

  15. Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, 1954.      Little Miss Allyson in a Marilyn role!!! Ah, but this was when MGM was trying to secure the rights to the Broadway hit comedy. Head Fox Darryl Zanuck tried harder because his contracted Marilyn was “an absolute must for this story.” Although the Production Code said it could not be filmed. “Adultery must never be the subject of comedy or laughter.” 

  16. Jane Russell, Foxfire, 1954.      Say again…! Mousey Allyson was now up for a Jane Russell role! Ya gotta be kiddin’!!! No, it happened. Hollywood was like that in the early 50s. Weird!

  17. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.

  18. Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, 1955.    MGM went through nan odd mix of actresses and ages! (from Piper Laurie at 23 to Jane Wyman at 38) to play the 30s’ alcoholic singer Lilian Roth.  Ann Blyth, Grace Kelly (!), Janet Leigh, Jane Russell, Jean Simmons and  Shelley Winters. Director Charles Walters quit when his choice of June Allyson (no, really!) was rejected (obviously) while Ava Gardner stopped trying to win another 30s chanteuse, Ruth  Etting  in Love Me or Leave  Me,  to battle  for Roth. After winning Best Actress at the 1956 Cannes festival, Hayward won her fourth Oscar nomination. She won one for  the similar sounding but way heavier I Want to Live! about the 1955 gas chamber execution of alleged killer Barbara Graham. Said her producer Walter Wanger: ‘Thank goodness, we can all relax, Susie’s won the Oscar she has been chasing for 20 years.”

  19. Eva Marie Saint, That Certain Feeling, 1955.   And ut-to-lunch notion!.

  20. Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve, 1956.  Judy Garland was rather too close  to home for the Eve of three multiple personalities. (The real “Eve” had 26!) For some odd reason, director Nunnally Johnson next considered Allyson(!). Her husband, Dick Powell, wisely talked her out of such (monu)mental miscasting.  Johnson then went for broke with an unknown. And in her third film, Woodward won the Oscar for her multiple roles… and eventually Paul Newman. (They were wed from 1958 to his 2008 death).

  21. Maureen O’Sullivan, Never Too Late, 1965.     Spencer Tracy was the only thought for Harry. arry in Opposite one of a dozen choices for his wife – pregnant at 50, ho ho! From Rosalind Russell to Katherine Hepburn (“but I’m too old for Edith?”). Plus Allyson, Lucille Ball, Anne Baxter, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Ginger Rogers, Ann Sheridan. Ultimately, Warner Bros went with the Broadway hit’s duo: Paul Ford and O’Sullivan.


 Birth year: 1917Death year: 2006Other name: Casting Calls:  21