Born in New York City on June 25, 1925 and the only child of show business parents, June Lockhart was destined to be an entertainer. Her father was Canadian-born actor Gene Lockhart
and her mother was English-born actress Kathleen Arthur Lockhart
. The Lockhart elders had the distinction of having been introduced to one another by Thomas Edison
June made her acting debut at the age of 8, appearing as Mimsey in a Metropolitan Opera production of Peter Ibbetson. She followed this up in 1938 with her first film appearance in MGM's version of A Christmas Carol. She played a daughter to her parent's portrayal of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cratchit.
Her parents were quite particular which parts their daughter was permitted to accept during her teen years, a move which had her appear in such distinctive films as Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper as well as The White Cliffs of Dover with Irene Dunne, The Yearling, and Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland. June had worked in at least a dozen films by the late 40s.
Somehow sandwiched in among all the acting was her education. She attended the Westlake School For Girls in Los Angeles, California.
Young June made the leap to Broadway in 1947, playing an ingenue in the production of For Love or Money. Her work won a Tony Award for Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer (a category which no longer exists), as well as numerous other honors.
During the 50s June was a panelist along with White House correspondents on the quiz show Who Said That?. This led to a relationship in which she has been given an open invitation to attend White House press briefings, an exercise which she considers fun.
Also in the 50s TV beckoned, and June took over the reins from Cloris Leachman as Ruth Martin, wife of Paul Martin, (played by Hugh Reilly), in the popular and long running series Lassie. They were a rustic though childless couple who had an adopted son named Timmy (portrayed by Jon Provost). Timmy owned a beautiful collie named Lassie, and the show revolved around the adventures of Timmy and Lassie. June Lockhart held that role from 1958 until 1964.
In 1965 June landed the role of Maureen Robinson, wife and mother to the Robinson family in Irwin Allen's Lost In Space. The show was about the trials suffered by the family as they were hopelessly lost in the wilderness of space due to the machinations of spy and ship's doctor Dr. Zachary Smith (played with aplomb by Jonathan Harris). She held that role for the show's 3 year run. Lost In Space was popular in a country hungry for space related fare, but suffered from uneven quality and a budget apparently scrimped from Ruth Martin's egg money.
June Lockhart has kept herself busy following the cancellation of Lost In Space. She hosted the Miss USA pageant in 1966, the beginning of a multi-year involvement. She was released from her hostess duties when it was learned she was living with a much younger man sans the sanctity of marriage. In 1968 she took over in the strong female role of Dr. Janet Craig in Petticoat Junction. The lead female role had been held by Bea Benaderet (playing Kate Bradley), who had succumbed to cancer in 1968 during the show's run from 1963-1970.
The 70s saw her appear in lesser roles from game shows to soap operas. Her credits continue to the present. She is a multi-faceted individual with many interests outside her craft. June has been known to both reprise and spoof her role as Uber Mom.
The interest shown for the series Lost In Space by youngsters of the period has led to her being a favorite around NASA and among the astronaut corps. Some cite the show as part of their initial interest in all things space, and she relishes the connection. The circle was complete when she was present at the Johnson Space Center during the wake-up call to the astronauts aboard the space shuttle Columbia. They were awakened to the song The World is Waiting For the Sunrise. That song had been composed by June's father. In another example of the way things have of coming full circle, in 1997 June rode the Edison float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
Other distinctions include being an advocate of and an ambassador for the California State Parks System. She is an avid supporter of animals. She enjoys an interest in politics and political journalism, as well as an interest in medicine. Her political interests span a broad spectrum. She has supported both Republicans and Democrats. She campaigned for Republicans Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon and for Democrat Adlai Stevenson. She was outspoken in opposition to US involvement in Vietnam. June was invited to and attended the Clinton Presidential Inauguration.
She has been a director of the First Federal Bank of California and chairs the bank's Executive Committee on Community Reinvestment Act. She also has been a speaker for the Federal Reserve Bank.
June Lockhart is a sports enthusiast and is a fan of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team as well as the LA Lakers.
She has flown a blimp, driven a tank, and been dog sledding. She has traveled in the Amazon River basin and above the Arctic Circle. She has been and still is an example of a Renaissance woman with an interest in and joy of life.
June Lockhart was married to Dr. John F. Maloney in 1951. The marriage produced 2 daughters, Anne Lockhart in 1953 and June Elizabeth Lindsay (aka Lizabeth Lockhart) in 1955. June and Maloney were divorced in 1959, the same year she married architect John Lindsay. That marriage too was terminated by divorce. While on the screen she made her name playing the quintessential conservative Mom, her own life has been modeled somewhat in a different vein. She has had a bohemian lifestyle that is in contrast rather than agreement with her more famous roles. She has had a career spanning over 7 decades and her image is imprinted on a generation of TV viewers. Her legacy includes her daughters, both of whom have entered the entertainment field. The daughters represent a 4th generation of Lockhart involvement in the performing arts. One could make a strong case that June Lockhart is indeed Uber Mom.