An interesting back story regarding Larry Storch that most people don’t know about. It tells a lot about race relations in the ’50s and ’60s.
Before Larry Storch and his late wife Norma Storch were married in 1961, Norma Storch, a white aspiring actress, had a relationship with black vaudeville dancer and comedian Jimmy Cross.
It resulted in the birth of a daughter, June in 1954. But Jimmy’s escalating alcohol and drug problem broke them apart.
And when June Cross’ skin colour became apparent at the age of 4, residents of their apartment building on the West Side of Manhattan circulated a petition to evict the white woman with the black daughter.
Convinced that June would not be happy growing up in a “white person’s society,” Norma Storch approached her childless black friends in Atlantic City-Peggy Bush, a second-grade schoolteacher, and her husband, Paul, a county government clerk who moonlighted as a taxi driver to take in June, which they did.
Norma Storch stayed in constant contact with her daughter and wrote to her every day.
Such were the times that for the sake of June and their show business careers, for nearly 35 years, the Storchs lived a lie.
The black girl who began visiting their Hollywood Hills home on holidays and summer vacations at age 9, they told most of their friends and acquaintances, was the abused child of former neighbours whom they had adopted but who lived with a black family.
June Cross, who had a strong relationship with Norma Storch all along, holds no resentment. She grew up to become a Harvard-educated TV news producer, who was working for PBS’ “Frontline” in the 1990s when she set out to explore race in America by telling her and her mother’s story.
The result was “Secret Daughter,” a 1996 two-hour “Frontline” documentary that won an Emmy Award and the prestigious DuPont-Columbia University Award.