June Newton Biography

June Newton, also known as June Brunell and Alice Springs, was a multi-talented Australian artist. Starting her career as an actress, she later found success as a photographer, using the pseudonym Alice Springs. June’s journey began in Melbourne, Australia, and not much is known about her early life. In 1947, she met renowned fashion photographer Helmut Newton, whom she married a year later. Together, they embarked on a creative journey, with June excelling on both stage and screen, earning accolades such as the Erik Kuttner Award for Best Actress in 1956. The couple eventually settled in Paris in 1960, where June began her own photographic work. Her captivating photographs were featured in prestigious publications like ‘Vanity Fair,’ ‘Interview,’ ‘Elle,’ and ‘Vogue.’ In 1995, she released a film titled ‘Helmut by June,’ which showcased their extraordinary life together.

Quick Facts

  • Australian Celebrities Born In June
  • Also Known As: Alice Springs, June Browne
  • Died At Age: 98
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Helmut Newton (m. 1948–2004)
  • Born Country: Australia
  • Actresses
  • Australian Women
  • Died on: June 9, 2021
  • Place of Death: Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • City: Melbourne, Australia

Childhood & Early Life

June Newton was born June Browne on June 3, 1923, in Melbourne, Australia. Little information is available on her family and upbringing.

Acting Career

In the mid-1940s, Browne was working as an actress in Melbourne under the professional name June Brunell, as there was another actress named June Browne in the local entertainment scene at the time. She did some modelling work at Helmut Newton’s studio. After their marriage, she continued to act and became quite successful both on stage and screen. In 1956, she became the recipient of that year’s Erik Kuttner Award, which is given for contribution to theatre in Melbourne. While she was living in UK, she worked in some BBC productions.

Life With Helmut Newton & Photography

Browne and Helmut’s first meeting occurred in 1947, at his studio in Melbourne. He was in the city for work, having left his native Germany in 1938, after spending a brief period in a concentration camp. They tied the knot in 1948.

After Helmut signed a year-long contract with ‘British Vogue,’ the couple relocated to London in 1957. However, Helmut didn’t like it there, and they moved again. Helmut’s photographs were featured in publications like ‘Jardin des Modes’ and ‘Australian Vogue.’ By 1960, the couple had made Paris their home.

June Newton’s career as a photographer began by chance. Helmut was supposed to take photographs of a model for an ad for Gitanes cigarettes when he started demonstrating various flu-related symptoms. Instead of cancelling the photo shoot as he was not able to contact the model, he asked June to step in and taught her how to handle a camera. She subsequently began using the pseudonym Alice Springs, a pun on a hot, remote barren town of the same name in Australia, as a photographer. The name was picked by blinding pushing a pin into an Australian map.

By 1974, one of her photographs had been featured in the ‘Elle’ magazine. Her photographs have since been featured in ‘Vogue,’ ‘Elle,’ ‘Marie Claire,’ ‘Vanity Fair,’ ‘Interview,’ and ‘Stern.’ Although she was initially a fashion photographer like her husband, she later became a celebrated portraitist. She took memorable photographs of such public figures as William S. Burroughs, Anthony Burgess, Catherine Deneuve, Graham Greene, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Christopher Reeve, Diana Vreeland, Yves Saint Laurent, Brigitte Nielsen, and Nicole Kidman.

Alongside her career as a photographer, she served as her husband’s art-director, working both as an editor and curator for his work. She was also the subject of several of his photographs.

June had gifted her husband a video camera for Christmas. He never displayed any interest in it. One day, she picked it up and started filming their life together. The couple resided in Paris for twenty-seven years before relocating to Monte Carlo, spending their winters in Los Angeles. She recorded every important moment of their lives, from candid to professional. This eventually became the documentary, ‘Helmut by June’, which was shown in 1995. After film director Brett Ratner saw it, he added some additional footage and released it in America. Ratner’s version was broadcast for the first time on Cinemax on April 30, 2007.

Helmut was killed in a vehicular accident in Los Angeles, on January 23, 2004, at the age of 83. They did not have any children. In June that year, The Helmut Newton Foundation was launched in Berlin. It is a permanent part of Berlin’s Museum of Photography. The building, in which the museum is housed, is located right beside the station from which Helmut took a train during his departure from Berlin in 1938. Before Helmut’s death, the Newtons were organizing the inaugural ceremony for the foundation. During the opening, June and Helmut’s portraits from their joint 1999 publication, ‘Us and Them’ (Scalo), were shown.

Throughout her career, June had published several books, including ‘Alice Springs: Portraits’ (Twelvetrees Press, 1986) and ‘Mrs. Newton’ (Taschen, 2004).


June Newton died on June 9, 2021, in a hospital in Monte Carlo. She was 97.

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