June Walker: The Original Lorelei Lee


Today is the birthday of June Walker (1900-1966).

Originally from Chicago, Walker was a popular Broadway actress from 1919 to 1958, best known as the original Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1926-1927). Other notable plays included John Howard Lawson’s Processional (1925) for the Theatre Guild; Myra in the original production of Waterloo Bridge (1930); Laurey in Green Grow the Lilacs (1931), which later became the basis for the musical Oklahoma!; Mrs. Molloy in Thornton Wilder’s The Merchant of Yonkers (1938-1939), which later became the basis for Hello, Dolly!; Olsen and Johnson’s Laffing Room Only (1944-1945); and the Maxwell AndersonHarold Clurman collaboration Truckline Cafe (1946) featuring an up and coming Marlon Brando. In addition to this muscular theatrical career (which boasts many more credits than just named), she gave a small number of film and television performances.

Like many Broadway stars of her day she toured big time vaudeville, and she appeared at the Palace Theatre in the 1920s.

To learn more about vaudeville and performers like June Walkerconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever informative books are sold.

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