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On this date: Pickford's million-dollar payday, 'Jaws' released, birthdays for Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland

On this date in Hollywood history -- June edition: Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Rosalind Russell, Hazel Scott and more celebrate birthdays, Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. tie the knot, "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor releases, "Grease" makes its premiere and more! ...

Discover what happened on days throughout June in Hollywood history, from historic film premieres and industry milestones to anniversaries of birthdays/deaths of beloved Old Hollywood figures, and more. (And explore previous months)

This story will be updated throughout the month

June 24

Mary Pickford was Hollywood’s first million-dollar star. On June 24, 1916, “America’s Sweetheart” signed a contract for a million dollars over two years, with control over her movies’ productions and half the profits to boot! Three years later, the shrewd businesswoman would co-found United Artists movie company.

A few of Pickford’s movies made in that period: “A Romance of the Redwoods” (1917), “The Poor Little Rich Girl” (1917), “The Little American” (1917) and “Less Than the Dust” (1916).

Watch the full 1917 World War I silent movie “Little American” with Mary Pickford
Watch the full 1917 "A Romance in the Redwoods" with Mary Pickford

June 20

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Considered the first true summer blockbuster, “Jaws” hit the big screen June 20, 1975, and terrified untold millions with the thought of swimming in the ocean. 

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Jaws” stars Roy Scheider as a police chief who hunts down an enormous killer shark. Richard Dreyfuss is the marine biologist and Robert Shaw is the memorable boat captain who are part of the team.

Many U.S. movie theaters show “Jaws” as part of their summer line-up, including some big chains in July. 

Check out an updated list of classic movies – including “Jaws” – heading to movie theaters

June 16

“Grease” is the word, 45 years later. Many U.S. movie theaters are hosting special screenings this summer for the anniversary of the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John movie musical, first released June 16, 1978. This scene makes me want to listen to the soundtrack all summer niiiiiight and watch on the big screen!

Tell me more, tell me more … 🍿 An updated list of classic movies — including "Grease" — heading to movie theaters this summer

June 16

Stan Laurel is born June 16, 1890. Laurel & Hardy first paired up as comedy duo leads in the short, “Duck Soup” (1927). The movie was once considered a “lost” film but a print was found decades later. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy would go on to make more than 100 movies together.

For those in Los Angeles or know it, this sequence is filmed around Grand Avenue, in the area of the LA Public Library building.

Watch the entire 20-minute comedy short:
Music: Adobe/Middle Eastern Baglama Chase

June 12

How to make an entrance 101, courtesy Elizabeth Taylor as “Cleopatra" (and that wink at the end!).

The movie, released June 12, 1963, infamously spurred many headlines: Taylor’s record-setting $1 million salary, a delayed and beleaguered production, soaring costs that nearly bankrupted the studio and, perhaps most infamously, the on-set adulterous affair between Taylor and co-star Richard Burton and the resulting public scandal.

It was “Game of Thrones”-level drama on screen and behind the scenes!

June 11

Hazel Scott combines classical music and jazz so elegantly and entertainingly, especially in 1943’s “I Dood It,” directed by Vincente Minnelli. Scott (born June 11, 1920) was a child prodigy and played herself in several Hollywood films. She was more well-known at the time for her live stage performances and later TV show, and she was also an early civil rights pioneer. A fascinating life!

June 10

One of Judy Garland’s iconic performances: “Get Happy” from 1950’s “Summer Stock.” She would be 101 on June 10, but died at age 47 on June 22, 1969.

June 4

How to quit your job, courtesy Rosalind Russell in 1940’s “His Girl Friday.” Russell (born June 4, 1907) and Cary Grant deliver rapid-fire dialogue and quips in the quintessential comedy. Reportedly, director Howard Hawks was intentionally trying to break the record for the fastest film dialogue.

June 3

Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. tie the knot at their June 3, 1929, wedding, but they would divorce four years later.

If you think today’s celebrities have the monopoly on relationship drama in the press and exploitation for business, read up on the Crawford-Fairbanks pairing. In-law troubles, product placement at the wedding, a public break-up and more – it was a tabloid press coverage extravaganza.

June 1

Marilyn Monroe was born. The image of Monroe (June 1, 1926-August 4, 1962) as a sex symbol, tragic figure and icon can sometimes overshadow her deft comedy skills, as her bespectacled performance in 1953's screwball classic “How to Marry a Millionaire ” shows off! 

>> Explore previous months of On This Date

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