Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: June Yasuno Aochi (Yamashiro) Berk Interview
Narrator: June Yasuno Aochi (Yamashiro) Berk
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Studio City, California
Date: December 18, 2018
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-453-14

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BN: You said you were in some movies?

JB: Oh, yeah. Later on, Geisha Boy with Jerry Lewis.

BN: And Nobu...

JB: Yeah, she was in there, Nobu. And then the other one was The Barbarian and the Geisha with this girl from Japan, I can't remember her name right now. Beautiful girl.

BN: Is that John Wayne?

JB: John Wayne, uh-huh.

BN: I can't remember the name of the person either.

JB: Aiko something. She was six foot tall, and they found her in Hokkaido as a bar dancer. She was so nice, I really liked her. We had a good time.

BN: And these, you were doing these, this is after you got married?

JB: Yeah.

BN: So you're still doing some of that.

JB: Right, modeling sometimes, off and on. So basically that's the only two movies I appeared in. The one with Jerry Lewis, when the movie came out, my scene was cut out. So I guess that was the end of my acting career.

BN: Did you make the other one?

JB: Uh-huh.

BN: So you're actually on the screen.

JB: The screen, yeah. But Geisha Boy, I'm just doing some still motions, I'm not acting in a scene. But that had a scene I was supposed to do with Jerry Lewis, and that was funny because the director came up to me and said, "Do you know how to swim?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "You know how to dive?" I said, "Yeah." He says, "Here, you got the part." So he said, "Take the script home and memorize it and we'll be shooting in about a month." In a month I had to learn how to swim, I had to learn how to dive. [Laughs] I had to learn how to dive like a pro diver and wiggle my legs or something. Anyway, I failed. But they took me out, I remember they took me out to Paramount Lake, and Jerry Lewis is in the middle of the lake and he's singing "'O Sole Mio," like an Italian guy on a boat. And I thought, "Oh, my god, I can't swim from here to the middle of the lake, I'll drown. They'll find out that I don't know how to swim." I could barely swim, but I can't swim half a lake. So fortunately, they took me out on a boat. And I'm supposed to dive down like a pearl diver, I'm supposed to be a pearl diver. And I'm supposed to come up with a pearl and I say to Jerry Lewis, "Here, this is for Elvis Presley. Give him this pearl." And then I said, "He's cool, man, cool," and then I'm supposed to dive back down in the water. Well, I must have been pretty bad. [Laughs] It ended up somewhere on the cutting room floor. And all I remember is Jerry Lewis going, "Oh, my god." So we did the scene over and over and over, all day long, and I ended up with a sore nose, water going up my nose, it was a disaster. So that was the end of my career.

BN: You got a good story out of it.

JB: Yeah, it was fun. Yeah, I'm not an actress, I found out.

BN: Or a swimmer.

JB: Or a swimmer, or a diver, or a pearl diver. So when I see the movie, you just see Jerry Lewis point out to the lake, telling the guy, "Oh, look, there's some pearl divers out there," and that's the end of the scene. [Laughs] Didn't do too well.

BN: Chance of stardom out the window.

JB: Yeah, right. They missed their chance. [Laughs] It's interesting, around that time we were trying out for Sayonara, I remember going out for the audition for that. And different movies, they were starting to do a lot more Japanese type movies.

BN: Yeah, there was a period, the "Japanese craze" in the early '50s that I remember Larry Tajiri would write about, with all these movies and plays.

JB: Uh-huh. But that was it for me.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2018 Densho. All Rights Reserved.