June Fairchild, who is best know for playing the wacky “Ajax lady” from the Cheech and Chong Up In Smoke movie, has died.
The 68-year-old passed away on Thursday from liver cancer at a convalescent home in Los Angeles, after years of struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.
The tragic actress played a number of smaller roles in the 1970s but got into drug and alcohol addiction before her career truly took off.
Her best known role was that of a junkie in the Cheech and Chong movie, who snorts lines of Ajax powder that she believed to be cocaine.
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She later returned the favor by suggesting the eventual name for Hutton’s band, after reading an article about how aborigines keep warm by cuddling up with their dingos. The coldest nights were referred to as “Three Dog Nights”.
June’s career was taking off and she owned a lavish home in the Hollywood Hills, which was burned to the ground when she fell asleep smoking a cigarette.
She never made another film after 1978, and ended up relying on social security disability payments selling newspapers to scrape a living, staying in cheap hotel rooms in Downtown LA and sometimes on the streets, where she she said she was mugged and raped.
In a written tribute, producer Al Burton said she was optimistic right up to the end.
Burton wrote, “She was a down to earth human being with no airs about herself and had a terrific sense of humor and a huge zest for life. By her own admission she had a good life in spite of its ups and downs”.
She never manged to get fully clean, attempting rehab on a number of occasions but kept relapsing, even spending some time in prison for minor alcohol offenses.
She is survived by a brother, her 29-year-old daughter who was raised by another family, and a two-moth-old grandson.
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