Saturday, February 21, 2015

June Fairchild Sept. 3 1946 - Feb. 17 2015

    Some sad news to pass along, as June Fairchild passed away earlier this week at the age of 68. Although perhaps not a well known actress, she did however leave an inedible impression on many a film goer in the 1970's. Born June Edna Wilson on Sept. 3 1946 in Manhattan Beach Ca. she became one of the Gazzarri Dancers on the Hollywood A Go-Go TV show. A locally produced Los Angeles music show that ran from 1964 to 1966, June quickly became one of the shows favorites because of her energetic dancing and infectious personality. Here she is having fun front & center (and assisting with a great scream) with Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs, as the first girl playing hard to get with Lou Rawls and tearin' it up with The Bobby Fuller Four (she's second on the right to the back of the band). Later she moved on to Playboy After Dark and for several years was the girlfriend of Danny Hutton from Three Dog Night (and it's she that's credited with coming up with the group's name).


    Changing her her name to Fairchild, she had a small part in an episode of THE MONKEES 1st season ("The Chaperone") and later appeared in HEAD where she showed up twice, first as one of the harem dancers and later as "the jumper". Jack Nicholson, remembering her from HEAD, cast her in his directorial debut DRIVE, HE SAID as a college cheerleader. She made a very memorable impression as "Sonny" in Roger Vadim's PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW in 1971 and had a small part as a hooker in DETROIT 9000. In 1974's THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT she shared a scene with Clint Eastwood (a scene that showed just what a gifted and natural actress she was) and in 1979 would portray "the ajax lady" in Cheech and Chong's UP IN SMOKE.

THE MONKEES "The Chaperone" 1966


     Later in life she would sadly struggle with substance abuse and at various times ended up homeless and living on the streets of Los Angeles. In 2002 after an arrest (along with stories of her plight on Good Morning America and in the L.A. Times) she along with help from her old friends entered rehab and started the process of putting her life in order. Always trying to be self sufficient she worked jobs such as delivering newspapers and with a small monthly relief check lived in a secession of hotel rooms around L.A. and had signed a licensing agreement with Paramount Studios for her likeness on an "ajax lady" bobble head. As a result of illnesses including fibromyalgia and liver cancer, the last days of her life were spent in a convalesce home in hospice care where she passed away on Feb. 17. At the time of her passing she had begun working on her autobiography and had always hoped to continue her acting career.


    During the decades of the 60's and 70's (as with decades before and after) untold scores of young women headed to Hollywood, although what makes the above mentioned decades unique was a combination of the proliferation of low budget movies to service the drive-ins and exploitation movie houses along with mainstream Hollywood attempting to court the youth market with road and counter culture movies, all of which created a bounty of opportunities for young & hopeful actresses. A few of them achieved ongoing success (or at the very least name recognition such as Pam Grier), but many of them made a few movies and perhaps because of lack of mainstream success, career moves, along with marriage and family (or sometimes a life cut tragically short) they drifted away from the industry in the late 70's & early 80's.
    Expect for cult and exploitation movie fans actresses such as Claudia Jennings, Linda Haynes, Candice Railson, Tiffany Bolling, Roberta Collins, Tamera Dobson, Joy Bang, Gloria Hendry, Cheri Caffaro, Margaret Markov, Carol Speed and June Fairchild are sadly unknown today - but they were (and are) a huge part of movie history. They were sometimes Playboy centerfolds or bunnies, beauty contest winners, models, go-go dancers, prom queens or home coming queens, but mostly they were just average American girls from towns large and small and their story is a great documentary that's just waiting to be made.

HEAD 1968

   I had planned on doing a post for her on June's birthday last year, but unfortunately time got away from me. Although it's nice to think it could happen, there's a good chance that at the end of this year her name won't get mentioned in the "in memory" sequences such as on TCM and The Oscars, but she will always be remembered in this blog and others. There is a memorial fund set up by her friends to help pay for her final days and funeral expenses and here is a wonderful site on the Gazzarri Dancers.

Here's June on the cover of Kim Fowley's Born To Be Wild album from 1968


  1. That's a real shame. I was familiar with her work, but had no idea what a troubled life she led.

    1. It is sad, but whenever you read interviews with her she blamed no one but herself and seemed very very grateful she was given a second chance.

  2. You guys should DEFINITELY check out this book:

    Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream

    All the above info suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.


  3. Sad news indeed - I certainly remember her from various viewings over the years. I wish she could have had more time - that autobiography would have probably been amazing. Thanks for helping us remember, Dick.