Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Iconic Girl Next Door Passes Away


Last weekend, I renewed one of my teenage crushes. Ever since I saw her as Constance Bonacieux in the Gene Kelley version of The Three Musketeers, I have had a crush on June Allyson. That crush was renewed over the 4th of July weekend when I saw her perform as Ethel Stratton in the classic Jimmy Stewart baseball film "The Stratton Story."

She was perfect as the wife who supported her husband after the loss of his leg. I can still see her standing, holding the catcher's mitt and pounding the pocket, helping Jimmy Stewart learn to pitch on a wooden leg. The scene I just wrote reads like it might have looked ridiculous, but June Allyson was so charming that it became easy to ignore Jimmy Stewart's awful pitches. All that mattered was Allyson's reactions and they were charming and sincere. In The Stratton Story, June Allyson played the girl next door and brought back my boyhood crush.

I was saddened today by the news that she had died this weekend. I was first informed of the news by our friend J.C. Loophole over at The Shelf, but the news story on my morning news show followed almost immediately.

She was 88 when she died of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis, but she will always be 20 something to me.
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