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ST. LOUIS - Awards season typically brings out the usual suspects, but among Julia and Jennifer is a lesser-known actress who grew up 69 miles northeast of St. Louis in Vandalia, Ill.

It's a short drive, but June Squibb's career has been quite long. Way before she starred opposite Bruce Dern in "Nebraska" or as Jack Nicholson's wife in "About Schmidt," she performed at The Muny.

"She's been here a few years," said Larry Pry, publicity manager at The Muny as he pulls out playbills.

According to her bio she began her career in musical theater in St. Louis.

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"We had children's choruses back then, but we don't have records of who was all in them," Pry explained.

She is, however, in several playbills starting in 1966.

"Each bound book is a season and so here we are with 1966 where she began," Pry said.

That year she played Gloria in "Bye Bye Birdie."

"So this very attractive, young girl trying to seduce Birdie away. She went from there to play the character old lady," Pry added.

In 1979 she starred in "Ballroom," and in '81 and '92 she was in "Show Boat." Add them up and you discover this big time actress has starred in ten Muny shows from 1966 to 1998.

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"And she did two shows for us she was Aunt Eller in "Oklahoma" and she was the mother in "Crazy for You."

So, at 84-years-old June Squibb might finally be getting the recognition she deserves, but St. Louisans saw it long ago even if they didn't realize it.

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