June Dixon was born in London, and like her husband
Monat, started her professional career in acting, working mainly
in the theatre. Indeed the couple first met when in the cast of
a 1949 play - J.B. Priestley's Dangerous Corner - in
London's West End.
June and Donald travelled to Johannesburg in 1950 to start up
one of the very first independent radio production companies in
South Africa. They produced about fifteen shows a week for the
newly-created Springbok Radio, the commercial service of the
South African Broadcasting Corporation. After two years of
hectic work, the couple went back to London in 1952, where they
worked extensively in the theatre, doing plays and revues. They
also made appearances in television and radio programmes and
made several short films. One of them, Five Guineas A Week
(1956), was nominated for the Royal Command Film Performance and
opened at the Odeon Leicester Square with The Spanish
Gardener. During this period in the Fifties, they also
created one of the first original musical comedies for British
television, The Straker Special, which starred June
Whitfield and Dennis Quilley. As the decade drew to a close,
June and her husband found another continent opening its doors
to them, and in 1960, they went to work in Canada for two years,
working mainly in radio for CBC, but also making appearances on
the stage and writing and directing documentary films.
return to South Africa in 1962 saw June and Donald soon becoming
stars of radio comedy with their own weekly programmes, which
included hits such as The ABC Show (left), Dr.
Livingstone - I Presume?, The Loudspeaker Show,
Stop The Tape - I Want To Get Off!, Mafeking Has Been
Relieved, Son Of Livingstone, and Cool.
The majority of these
programmes were performed and recorded in front of studio
audiences with live musical accompaniment from orchestras and
groups. These shows were recorded very much in the same way as
the classic BBC comedy shows of the same era.
In addition to their comedy
appearances, the couple also worked as actors or writers and
directors in dozens of other shows, not least of which was
The Avengers, in which Donald played the central character,
John Steed, and June would occasionally appear in guest roles.
They worked in South African radio for a period of twenty years
(1962-1982), and they played in well over two thousand radio
programmes during this time.
In the Seventies and early
Eighties, June and Donald, while continuing their radio work,
also moved into films and television in South Africa. Their
first feature, written by themselves and entitled Fraud
(1973), was a low-budget thriller directed by Donald, with June
playing one of the lead roles. The couple also wrote and starred
in a prime time comedy TV series called The Saturday Show
and wrote and produced an original TV musical based on O.
Henry's famous short story, The Gift Of The Magi.
Finally, in 1984, they moved
to Los Angeles, USA, where they have settled, working mainly as
writers and producers of corporate multi-media presentations.
Although radio drama is virtually non-existent in America, they
still undertake voice work engagements for narration,
commercials and books-on-tape. One of Donald and June's
audiobooks is English ... As She Is Spoke!, a highly
entertaining dissertation on the many ways in which our crazy
language is used and abused.
by Alan Hayes with Donald