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June Harding, who starred with Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills in the 1966 feature comedy The Trouble With Angels, has died. She was 81.
Harding died March 22 in hospice care in Deer Isle, Maine, her brother, John, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In December 1961, Harding debuted on Broadway, portraying Art Carney’s younger daughter (Elizabeth Ashley was her sister and won a Tony Award) in the comedy Take Her, She’s Mine, produced by Hal Prince, directed by George Abbott and written by Phoebe and Henry Ephron.
Harding later played different characters as a regular on the 1963-64 NBC anthology series The Richard Boone Show and appeared on episodes of Dr. Kildare, The Defenders and The Fugitive before she retired from show business in the 1970s.
In Columbia Pictures’ The Trouble With Angels, directed by Ida Lupino, Harding and Mills portray spirited students at an all-girls Catholic boarding school run by Russell’s Mother Superior.
Making her first movie, Harding stood out as Mills’ “often unwilling and incompetent accomplice,” James Powers wrote in his review of the film for The Hollywood Reporter. He called her “an exceptionally vivid and convincing young actress” who handled her scenes with “competence and poignance.”
Shortly after the film’s premiere, her hometown of Emporia, Va., saluted her with a “June Harding Day,” and she received the key to the city.
Harding graduated from Greensville County High School in 1955 and earned her bachelor’s degree from what is now known as Virginia Commonwealth University. She moved to New York and landed roles on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns and in several off-Broadway plays before her big break in Take Her, She’s Mine.
A memorial is planned for April 13 at Monumental Methodist Church in Emporia.
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