NASA Honors Tony-Winner June Lockhart
She is a member of a royal entertainment family, was Broadway's first TONY award winner for "Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer," has two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, is one of televisions most memorable moms, and can boast a remarkable 80 year career (beginning in 1933) that is represented with items on display in the Smithsonian Institution. However, on Thursday, October 10th, June Lockhart received what she now considers her greatest honor, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration presented her with their Exceptional Public Achievement Medal for outstanding talent for inspiring the public about space exploration and her many interactions with and on behalf of NASA. "It's Sweet!," declares Ms. Lockhart.
Ms. Lockhart's aviation experience began long before her famed role as the Robinson family matriarch in "Lost In Space." As Miss Western Airlines, she was the spokeswoman who opened new routes across America, including Alaska. She flew in the Berlin air lift to perform for troops and occupying forces. In addition, she supported Jimmy Doolittle's efforts to establish the Air Force Association for retired Air Force men by hosting their reunions.
Ms. Lockhart was involved or on hand for 19 NASA launches, including Noah, Cassini, Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity and the Mars Science Lab, Curiosity, as well as for JPL's Mars Rover landing, Saturn incursion and more. When asked about her fondest memories, Ms. Lockhart recalls an interview she did with Charles Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean during the Rose Bowl Parade on Jan 1st, 1970, after they completed the second moon landing, aboard Apollo 12, on November 9th, 1969. "In 1979, I was in Houston's mission control when my father's song, 'The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise,' was played to wake the astronauts," recalls Ms. Lockhart. "It was the perfect tune considering they were witnessing a new sunrise every hour and a half from their vantage point."
NASA has sent June around the country to speak to their employees and appear at many events including celebrations at The Kennedy Center. "This year I will have been a paid performer in the entertainment business for 80 years, making my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at age 8," said Lockhart. "During that time, I have received some very lovely acknowledgments, including a TONY, an EMMY nomination, and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ... but I must confess that nothing in all my life means more to me than this singular recognition. I m absolutely, totally, completely thrilled and overwhelmed by NASA's kindness and generosity. I am quite literally Over The Moon about it."