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Even When it Was Bad…It Was Good

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June Shelley is a woman who has been determined to get the most out of life as demonstrated in a worldwide saga of movies, men and music.

Inspired by glimpses of the silver screen from her father’s projection room in the local cinema, she became a child actress and then in her teens toured the States doing one night stands in theater companies.  Settling in California to try and conquer the movies, she starred in a film that writer, producer, actor, director Hugo Haas (known as the poor man’s Orson Welles) wrote for her.  She heard Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, a folk singer-guitar player (Jack has inspired Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Donovan and a whole generation of musicians) perform at Will Geer’s herb farm in Topanga Canyon, married him and embarked on an adventure that would last 5 years.

Visiting Woody Guthrie in his hospital room, playing for royalty in London, sailing from England to North Africa to Spain with a friend, sometimes starving and cold on the streets of Europe, June and Jack lived the lives of itinerant “buskers”.

Leaving Jack, June worked for Otto Preminger in Israel and became an object of his hate.  She traveled all over the Orient, taking an exotic range of lovers.  In Japan, she dubbed Japanese films into English and worked as Shirley MacLaine’s stand-in, learning the surprising truth about Yves Montand when they had a location affair.  She recently found out that Shirley also took Yves as a lover soon thereafter.    

She eventually met and lost the love of her life, a well-known movie director.  Heading back towards Europe, she danced with a princess in Cambodia and, settling in Paris, ran a film dubbing company and acted in French and American films. Moving to the south of France with her writer second husband, she became the personal assistant to the Rolling Stones during their scandal-filled tax exile, ending up taking Keith Richards and a pregnant Anita Pallenberg for a drug cure in Switzerland.

She “talked dog” with George Foreman and met Mohammed Ali and Don King in Zaire, while working for the groups putting on the championship fight and it’s accompanying music festival, highlighted in the Oscar winning film “When We Were Kings”.

She presently works in International Sales & Marketing at RKO Pictures in Los Angeles. She is a consulting producer on and appears in The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack a feature length documentary, which won the Special Jury Prize in the Sundance Film Festival, 2000.

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