June Lockhart

June LockhartAnother day, another birthday post. Last year I did George Orwell, although I actually talked more about the composer Francesco Araja. I feel my life adrift except that I have a birthday post to write each morning. I used to hate doing them, now they seem like the easiest part of my day. It’s actually a good bit of advice for new bloggers: pick something concrete to write about every day. Finding something you want to write about is often the hardest part. Anyway, here we go again.

The actor June Lockhart is 89 today. She came from an acting background. Both her parents we professional actors—especially her father Gene Lockhart, who played the idiot sheriff in His Girl Friday. Similarly, June’s eldest daughter Anne is also a successful actor. I’m very interested in these kind of thing. It isn’t primarily that parents can get their children breaks in the industry, just like people with union jobs can get their children union jobs. It is that if your parents are in a particular business, it just seems like the thing you do. And in June Lockhart’s case, she was in a film along with her parents at the age of 13.

For people of my generation, Lockhart is known primarily for the part of Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space. I haven’t seen the show since I was a kid, but it was not one of my favorites. I was more a Gilligan’s Island kind of kid. But I would probably get into it more now, because of the Dr Smith character, who I hated as a kid. Lockhart, of course, played the mother character. This was typical of her. Before Lost in Space, at the age of 34, she played Timmy’s adopted mother in Lassie. And after Lost in Space, she played the mother figure Dr Janet Craig (replacing the deceased actual mother Bea Benaderet) on Petticoat Junction. (I can’t find any DVDs with the later seasons that had Lockhart in them.)

Lockhart also did a lot of work in the theater and in film. Actually, I shouldn’t use the past tense, because she is still working. IMDb has her listed as acting in 167 films and television shows. That’s counting the 207 episodes of Lassie as one show. The same goes for the 84 (including the un-aired pilot) episodes of Lost in Space and 45 episodes to Petticoat Junction and 9 episodes on Robert Montgomery Presents and on and on. And here she is in a Crest commercial:

Happy birthday June Lockhart!

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