Toni Seven

ToniSeven3

Toni Seven is proof that a girl who lands in Hollywood, has money to burn, a great press agent and more than enough beauty, can still end up a complete unknown. Toni tried to attain stardom several times, and the second time, an extensive campaign to catapult her to stardom was coined by PR guru Russell Birdwell, but she just crashed and burned pretty soon. What a waste! Toni truly was a beautiful woman and probably had some talent in her. Too bad too much publicity killer her.

EARLY LIFE

June Elizabeth Millarde was born on July 6, 1922, in New York City, to Henry F. Millarde and Helen Elizabeth Lawson. Her mother was professionally known as June Caprice, an actress of major prominence in Hollywood, and her father was an succesful movie director. His most famous movie was If Winter comes, from 1916. by the time she was born, her parents had amassed quite a fortune and retired from active movie work. June grew up in Long Island, and attended school at Great Neck, Long Island.

On November 2, 1931, June’s father died from a heart attack, aged only 45. June was raised by her mother form them on, but sadly the elder June succumbed to a heart attack while fighting cancer in 1936. The 14 year old June was left in the care of her maternal grandparents in Long Island.

While June was materially well of, as a heiress of a considerable fortune (rumored to have been 3 million dollars), she wanted to act not for the fortune but for the fame. She moved to the West Coast after graduating from high school, and undertook extensive dramatic training before deciding to crash movies.

June signed with MGM in 1941, owning of course to her late parents friendship with producer Bob Leonard. Unfortunately, she left Metro after just a month, unhappy how they only posed her to leg art. She signed with Warner Bros and started her career anew.

CAREER

Pretty slim! Toni appeared in only five movies, although I have to say they are 5 decent movies at least! Her first movie was We Were Dancing, based on a Noel Coward play. When i say based on a ToniSeven2Noel Coward play, it means it’s a witty, sparkling, lightweight fare. And this movie is just that. don’t look for deeper, hidden meanings and something profound. Norma Shearer is delightful int he leading role. Coward + Norma = a good combo. Some people would disagree with me, but heck, Norma was perfect for sophisticated, drawing room comedies. Here she is ably supported by Mervyn Douglas, Gail Patrick and Lee Bowman.

She then followed it with Yankee Doodle Dandy, one of the best musicals to come out of her 1940s. Jimmy Cagney, what more do you need? Toni’s last movie under her Warner Bros contract was Wings for the Eagle, a love triangle set amidst  Southern California aircraft production in WWII. The lovers? Ann Sheridan, Denis Morgan and Jack Carson. What ca I say, I’m a sucker for Ann, she was such a luminous actress, but I am not a fan of either Crason or Morgan, so for me, it’s a skip.

ToniSeven1Aware that her career went nowhere fast, Toni hired Russel Birdwell and tried anew (again!). The result were only two movies – Ladies Courageous and Once Upon a Time. While not the bottom of the waist basket quality, they are far from good solid movies that Toni needed to build a career. Ladies courageous is a weird, weird, anti feminist movie (despite the more than a decent cast – ). Once upon a time is one of the lesser Cary Grant movies – it’s a movie with a strange kind of charm, unusual story (A cash-strapped theater producer promotes a nine-year-old boy’s dancing caterpillar) and features the stunning Janet Blair as Cary’s leading lady, but it’s not top tier movie making and it did little favors to anyone involved.

Toni gave up her career and publicity campaign and settled in Washington DC after this.  

PRIVATE LIFE

This is where Toni shines. If she is at all remembered today, it is because of her private life, not her slim movie career.

Toni was 5 feet, four and a half inched tall, weighted about 108 lbs, was a great horsewoman who rode frequently, and was also a good swimmer and tennis player. She disliked gossipy women, bad movies and prize fights.

TonISeven4In march 1943, she was just one of the many girls that dated Errol Flynn. She also banked heavily on her parents’ fame. A quote from a newspaper:

“Director Al Hall is giving June Millarde a break in “My Client Curly,” the Cary Grant-Janet Blair . The person who gave Al his first acting role role was Harry Millarde, June’s ‘ father, who was king bee on the old ‘Fox lot and frequently directing June Caprice (June’s mother). As time went by Al gave up his acting ambitions and became a director, but he never forgot the Millardes. So when their ‘ daughter June was up for a role in ; “Curly,” Al directed the test and saw she got the best cameraman at Columbia.”

In 1944, Toni hired Russell Birdwell to become her press agent. Birdwell was a wildly oscillating guy. While ha had major success with Jane Russell (and her bust and bra) and the search for Scarlett O’Hara (he was the brain behind this superb publicity stunt) most of his other “finds” ended up complete unknowns after a period of intense publicity frenzy. And he really tried with Toni, he really did. It just didn’t pay. For instance, Toni posed with a mama cat that gave birth to a litter of kitten with 7 toes on their paws. She also posed with a man’s black shirt, claiming she uses them as nightgowns. On the right ear she wears nothing; on the left, a large gold loop, and in the center of it, a cut out 7! She made bread with exactly 7 ingredients. She wore earrings with 7 precious stones dangling from them. Her phone number ended in 7. You get the picture…

She was supposed to star in a revue by Fort Ord, but nothing came out of it. She was very active in the war effort, going to rallies, signing pictures. Birdwell sent thousands of her pictures to the GI-as around the world – she was named the most popular pin up for the boys int he European Theater in 1945. Her photos could be found on obscure Pacific islands where there was literary nothing else!

Toni Seven has bought herself a little house in Benedict canyon. By her own admission, she knows nothing about antiques, yet is furnishing it exclusively in early American stuff.

In March 1945, Toni and five other starlets staged a strip poker session at the United National Clothing Drive. The other starlets were Ann Miller, Evelyn Ankers, Nina Foch and Renee de Marco. They all had better careers than Toni (even De Marco, who did not have a great movie career). She was also good friend with starlet Frances Vorne, who also posed for Yank. They often threw big dinner parties for their swains.

ToniSeven5In early 1946, Toni went back to her old moniker, but still remained an active pin up girl – her legs were claimed to have been “perfect” by a lieu of eminent photographers.

By 1948, June was out of Hollywood, out of movies, and living of her inheritance. She entered a hospital in October 1948 for a serious operation, and was recuperating in November 1948 in Hollywood.

Then, she was again back in the newspaper fold. How? Love! In January 1949, a certain senator Warren Magnuson, the famous lothario of Washington and a very sought after bachelor, missed the opening of Congress. Why? Because he was allegedly with Toni! There was much press furor re over the fact. His friend kindly noted to the press that Warren had been doing the Seattle nightspots with Toni for some time now. However, in September 1949 she sailed for Europe, and was beaued by Peruvian playboy, Alfredo Carreo.

More about Warren, who ended one of the most meaningful men in Toni’s life. He was born on April 12, 1905, in Minnesota, and was adopted by the Magnuson family (due to his surname, he was known as Maggie to friends). He attended college in Seattle, Washington, and settled there permanently. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a U.S. Representative (1937–1944) and a U.S. Senator from 1944. In 1928, he was married to Eleanor Peggy “Peggins” Maddieux, but they divorced in 1935. Warren dated all around the States from then on, escorting women like actress Carole Parker and Austine McDonnell.

Toni and the senator dated on off from 1948 until 1953, although some papers pin them together in 1955. It is known that the senator married in 1964 to a Seattle widow, Jermaine Peralta, and thus he obviously never married Toni. Toni gave up her career (which is not saying much) to cater to Warren. She acted as his hostess at social functions, they traveled around a great deal, often visiting Hawaii. Warren’s close friends said that Toni was absolutely loyal to Warren, but liked to drink to much. Warren also had a weakness for vodka – it seems they were well matched here (sadly!).

ToniSeven6I sympathies with Toni on this one. She obviously wanted to get married, and talked constantly to the press about her upcoming nuptials, but the senator obliviously rebuffed her every time, until they were done. I have no idea why they broke up – but I can only guess. Maybe Toni had had enough? Maybe Warren passed on to another woman? He later romanced Monique van Vooren, another luscious starlet. He died on May 20, 1989 in Seattle, Washington. His wife died in 2011.

In 1952, Toni was seen with Hank Fisher, of the “Joe Palooka” fame.

In 1959, it was reported that June was to marry Eric Stanley, prominent in the art circles, that June. I could not find any information that proved this as a fact. She then completely falls of the radar.

June Elizabeth Millarde died in 1991.

 

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9 responses

  1. I’m not sure if June Millarde is still with us. It says in the article that she died in 1991. I have info of her living in MD and still alive at age 94. Can anyone verify this either way? Thanks!

  2. Really nice article about this great lady. But where do you got the information that she died? Both Wikipedia and IMBD saying she is still alive (which would be great!). Maybe more informations can be found about that 🙂

  3. A very good article. Where do you found the information that she died? Both Wikipedia and IMDB saying she’s still alive (which would be great!). I would really want to know it, because i’m working on an own article about her. Best regards Michael

    • Hi Michael! I found a death notice for June Millarde on Family Search. Possibly this is not Toni Seven, but the birth year matches! I would also like to know, from a reliable source, is she alive or dead.

  4. Stella, the mystery may be easily cleared up by visiting Ancestry.com. In Social Security applications and claims, June Millarde Stanley (29 Jun 1922-21 May 1991) was the daughter of Harry Millarde and Helen E. Lawson (aka June Caprice). Her birthplace is listed as New York, and her death place was Gaithersburg, Maryland. Her Social Security number was issued in California. She appears to be buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Glendale (CA) in the Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Victory, Niche 32571. Her mother June Caprice (1895-1936) is also buried in the same cemetery, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Gratitude. I’ll send you links to all of this stuff if you want them.

    It appears that June Millarde did indeed marry Eric Stanley, although after a brief search I didn’t find any record of the marriage. I don’t know if they had any children. The 1940 census listed her as 17 and living in Los Angeles with her grandparents (and June Caprice’s parents) Peter Lawson (age 74) and Anna Lawson (age 70), both born in Norway. Anna died in 1948 and Peter died in 1951, and they both appear to be interred in the Great Mausoleum as well (in Holly Terrace).

    See what a genealogist can do? As much as we all wish that June Millarde Stanley was still alive, alas she passed away over 25 years ago. If she were alive perhaps she could tell us about her famous parents, both of whom died far too young.

  5. Hi Stella, I’m glad you enjoyed the information. Here are a few links:

    June Millarde Stanley burial: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=136754854&ref=acom
    June Caprice burial: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20287
    Peter Lawson burial: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=lawson&GSfn=peter&GSiman=1&GScid=7974&GRid=85448837&
    Anna Lawson burial: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=lawson&GSfn=anna&GSiman=1&GScid=7974&GRid=85448769&

    I was in LA about a month ago and visited the final resting place of June Caprice (listed as Helen E. Millarde on her crypt) at the Forest Lawn-Glendale Great Mausoleum. I didn’t know about the other burials at the time so I didn’t visit them. Parts of the Great Mausoleum are private and off-limits to non-family so I don’t know if a person can even visit the other columbarium niches (Holly Terrace is where Michael Jackson is interred, so it has almost Fort Knox-type security). Fortunately June Caprice’s crypt is in a public part of the building.

    Any ancestry.com links probably won’t work unless you have a subscription, so if you send me your email address I’ll send the Social Security information for June Millarde Stanley to you in pdf format. I’m glad I read your article, it prompted me to do a little research, which paid off. I had been wondering for years if June Millarde was still alive and we found out the answer, which unfortunately wasn’t the one we wanted.

  6. Stella, I also found an Eric Stanley (real name Stanley Arnolf Abrahamson) (12 May 1915-25 Sept 1998), born in Virginia, Minnesota and died in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He had the same ZIP code as June Millarde and was just a few years older, so that’s likely June’s husband and widower. Stanley is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Virginia, Minnesota. No evidence of any children.

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