Saturday, January 11, 2014

Miss June Marlowe

June Marlowe is memorable to me for one big reason, she got OWNED by Lilyan Tashman when Lilyan caught June with her husband Edmund Lowe. This is what I had heard and read at least...

Read on and find out the real story! 

June Marlowe was born Gisela Valaria Goetten on November 6, 1903 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She was the eldest child of John, a meat market and later flower market owner, and Hedwig (Hattie) Goetten. She had three younger brothers, Louis John, Armor, and Gerald. She also had a younger sister named Alona. 

I unfortunately know very little about her earlier life. I do know that she graduated from Minneapolis High School and was fond of telling everyone that she was going to be a star!

Technically her first film role was in 1923's Fighting Blood, but she was uncredited. Her first credited role was a year later in When a Man's a Man with John Bowers and Marguerite De La Motte. 

June may be the most well known these days for her role as Miss Crabtree in six Our Gang comedies. How she got the role is a pretty interesting story. She was shopping in a department store one day when the director of the series, Robert McGowan came up to her thinking he had made a wonderful discovery in this beautiful young lady and he offered her the role of the teacher in his popular series. Little did he know that she had in fact been acting in the film industry for years. The one little change that was made was that the natural brunette wore a blonde wig at the suggestion of Hal Roach, head of the studio. 

In 1925, June was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. Among the other starlets nominated that year were Olive Borden and Dorothy Revier. 

Now, June wasn't a huge star, but she did get to appear on screen with big names like Myrna Loy, John Barrymore, Laurel and Hardy, Harry Langdon, Mary Astor, and Rin Tin Tin (hey, he was a big star!)

Her final film appearance was in 1935's Roaring Roads, playing herself. She wanted to retire from the film industry and concentrate on her new husband and becoming a housewife. 

June Marlowe passed away on March 10, 1984 in Burbank, California. She had been suffering from Parkinson's disease.

June was originally buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery with her brother Louis, but in 2002 they were both moved to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles where the rest of their family was buried. I think it is really sweet that all the family is at rest together in one place. 

June was only married once, to a businessman named Rodney Spring in 1933. The two remained married until he passed away in 1983. They did not have any children. 

It seems like the Goetten family were very close and they all had an itch to head to Hollywood because all of them were involved someway in the film industry. Louis John worked as an Assistant Director, Armor worked as a Set Decorator, and Alona worked briefly as an actress. Apparently Gerald Goetten was involved somehow in the industry as well, but I can't find out how or what he did. 

Besides acting on screen, June also worked as a radio announcer and did dramatic readings for various programs. 

Some of her close friends included Dorothy Gulliver and her Our Gang costar, Jackie Cooper.

So, what is the real story behind the Tashman/Marlowe beat down? Who was on the receiving end of Lilyan Tashman's fists and claws? Well, according to a 1933 article in Picture Play magazine it was June's younger sister Alona that had the wrath of Lilyan put upon her. Alona told the police that Lilyan had scratched, beat, and kicked her in Edmund Lowe's dressing room, but she doesn't seem to include why she was in there to begin with. Hmmmm...The case was eventually settled out of court with Lilyan having to pay Alona a 'nominal' amount, according to Lilyan's lawyer. 

"The sweet, sympathetic characterization given the part by Miss Marlowe is natural, wholesome and free from any affectation. It is a part admirably fitted to her talent, and she plays it with an ease and refinement that are a revelation." ~~ Universal Weekly, 1926 [talking about her work in the film The Old Soak]


  1. I loved her to death, beggining as a very young boy. She was such a beauty and seemed to be so sweet.

    1. My first introduction to June was her picture and then the whole Lilyan Tashman story. It was then that I saw her in the Our Gang films.

  2. I too had a crush on her when I was young from seeing her as Miss Crabtree. She is just as beautiful if not more so with her natural hair color. So many of my other boyhood crushes have been forgotten, but this is the only one that is still there. Thanks for posting on her.

  3. There used to be an extensive website dedicated to June Marlowe's life and career. Unfortunately the website was disestablished in December 2012. I visited the site several times. The site's owner had exclusive access to many photos from June's life and these photos were published in a seasonal rotation on the site. I recall from the biographical content of the site that June started high school in St. Cloud, Minnesota but she actually graduated from Hollywood High School after her family moved to L.A. It was while she was playing a small part in a school show there that she was first discovered by a producer who got her into her first film roles. June was fluent in German and toured Germany sometime in the 20's or 30's. She was also an accomplished horsewoman and was very comfortable with animals which is partly what led to her being cast in the Rin-Tin-Tin films early in her career.

  4. Excellent post! Well written and intriguing. But at the beginning of it, it sounds like June is the one having an affair with Edmund Lowe (I read on because I couldn't imagine Miss Crabtree having a rendezvous with a married man). By the end, of the post, Alona is the one who was involved with Lowe. Is that correct? So was the opening part about June getting owned what you'd heard through the gossip mill and then you found out it was June's sister? Whatever the case may be, this was an entertaining post. Thank you!

    1. Yeah, kinda sounds confusing, sorry! I started off with the thought that it was in fact June and then was completely thrown off when I read that it was in fact her sister that got into the love triangle.