June Rae Wood grew up in Versailles, Missouri, with 7 siblings: 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Her brother, Richard, who had Down's Syndrome was her model for The Man Who Loved Clowns. June's other brothers and sisters had to protect Richard from other people who would be mean to him. Many people would laugh and stare, but Richard thought this was a compliment.
Her brother loved Elvis Presley so much, just like the character Punky in The Man Who Loved Clowns. Richard had a red cowboy hat which he loved so much. The only things he would watch on television were commercials and cartoons. He would often take the paper off of crayons and roll them across a sheet of paper-but he never used the tips. Later in his life, he went to work at a sheltered workshop. He had a great time and made actual friends until he was 35 years old. Richard died at age 35 after years of love and caring family members.