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This Day in WWII 20 March 1940 - 1945

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BellAircraft-March1943.jpgBell Aircraft Ad - March 1943

 

1940: The British Royal Air Force conducts an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt, Germany.

 

1941: The Berbera force and elements of the 11th African Division meet at Hargeisa inside British Somaliland.

 

1941: Four Yugoslav ministers resign rather than accept German terms.

 

Dorothy%20Lamour1.jpg *Dorothy Lamour

 

1942: About 1000 schoolteachers are arrested in Norway.

 

1942: The Red Army offensive at Kerch in the Crimea is defeated with heavy losses to the Russians.

 

Dorothy%20Lamour3.jpg Dorothy Lamour

 

1942: In what was to become known as the 2nd Battle of Sirte, 4 freighters, escorted by 3 cruisers, 1 anti-aircraft cruiser and 17 destroyers leave Alexandria bound for Malta. This force would later be strengthened by the cruiser Penelope and a destroyer from Force K.

 

1942: Kesselring launches an intensified air offensive against Malta, which by the end of March had racked up 4,927 sorties for the Luftwaffe, as opposed to 2.497 during February.

 

Dorothy%20Lamour2.jpg Dorothy Lamour

 

1942: Japanese troops, reinforced by the 18th and 56th Division which had arrived by sea at Rangoon a few days earlier, attack the 6th Chinese Army near Toungoo in Burma.

 

1943: The Eighth Army continues its attacks against the Mareth line in southern Tunisia.

 

EthylCorporationAd-March1944.jpg Ethyl Corporation Ad - March 1944

 

1944: The Russians recapture Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, the site of Hitler's Headquarters during in 1943.

 

1945: The U.S. Seventh Army takes Saarbrücken.

 

Dorothy%20Lamour4.jpg Dorothy Lamour

 

1945: German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin. The Russians capture Braunsberg, 40 miles South of Königsberg.

 

1945: The British 19th Indian Division completes the capture of Mandalay.

 

Dorothy%20Lamour5.jpg Dorothy Lamour

*Dorothy Lamour was born with the birth name of Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton on December 10, 1914, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was a beautiful child who turned heads as a teenager with her long dark hair. However, her dream was to become a professional singer not actress. After she won a beauty contest as Miss New Orleans in 1931, she headed to Chicago to find her work as a singer. For a time, Dorothy worked as an elevator operator in a department store before going on to become a vocalist in the Herbie Kay band. Kay became her first husband in 1935, but the marriage only lasted four years. In addition to the band, Dorothy also sang on a Chicago radio program. Besides Kay, she performed with Rudy Vallee and Eddie Duchin. 1933 found Dorothy in Hollywood where she landed an uncredited bit part as a chorus girl in the musical "Footlight Parade" (1933). She didn't appear in films again until 1936 when she landed a part as a coed in "College Holiday" (1936). Later in 1936, Dorothy got the part of Ulah in "The Jungle Princess" (1936) produced by E. Lloyd Sheldon and filmed at Paramount. This film was a tremendous moneymaker as Dorothy stole the show in her wrap-around sarong. Dorothy became an instant star as the child of nature/female Tarzan, raised with a pet tiger among the tropical natives. Ray Milland starred opposite her as the man from civilization who woos and wins her. The scene where Milland is trying to teach her the word kiss is touching yet humorous. When he kisses her and tells her that is a kiss she runs away.

She went on to play similar parts in the sarong in productions including "The Hurricane" (1937), "Typhoon" (1940), "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (1942) and her final big-screen sarong feature, "Donovan's Reef" (1963). Although Dorothy actually only wore a sarong in six of her 59 pictures, it defined her career. The sarong stayed with her in the Bob Hope / Bing Crosby "Road" pictures for Paramount. The trio starred in "Road to Singapore" (1940), "Road to Zanzibar" (1941), "Road to Morocco" (1942), "Road to Utopia" (1946) and "Road to Bali" (1952). A final "Road" picture, "Road to the Fountain of Youth" was in the works in 1977, until Bing Crosby's sudden death. The final completed "Road" picture, "The Road to Hong Kong" (1962), had Hope and Crosby in their usual roles, but no Dorothy this time - Joan Collins had the female lead in it.

Dorothy was a great actress with roles in "Disputed Passage" (1939), "Dixie" (1943) and "On Our Merry Way" (1948). She could show great range in both comic and dramatic roles. After making three films in 1949, her career began to trail off. She only made ten films between 1951 and 1987. That last one was "Creepshow 2" (1987) where she played a housewife who gets murdered, a long way from the "Road" pictures and movies such as "Johnny Apollo" (1940) and "A Medal for Benny" (1945).

Dorothy%20Lamour6.jpg Dorothy Lamour

During World War II, she toured the country, selling in excess of $300 million worth of war bonds.

Lamour's good humor and lack of pretension allowed her to have a remarkably long career in show business for someone best known as a glamour girl. She was a popular draw on the dinner theatre circuit of the 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, she lived with her longtime husband William Ross Howard III (whom she married in 1943), in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland. He died in 1978. Lamour published her autobiography "My Side of the Road" in 1980, revived her nightclub act, and performed in plays and television shows such as "Hart to Hart", "Crazy Like a Fox", and "Murder, She Wrote".

During the 1990s, she made only a handful of professional appearances but she remained a popular interview subject for publications and TV talk and news programs. In 1995, the musical "Swinging on a Star", a revue of songs written by Johnny Burke opened on Broadway and ran for three months; Lamour was credited as a "special advisor". Burke wrote many of the most famous "Road to..." movie songs as well as the score to Lamour's "And the Angels Sing". The musical was nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award and the actress playing "Dorothy Lamour" in the Road movie segment, Kathy Fitzgerald, was also nominated.

Lamour died on September 22, 1996 at her home in North Hollywood, California at the age of 81 from a heart attack.

TRIVIA:

Nickname:

The beautiful one

The Sarong Girl

Dottie

Height: 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Spouse:

William Ross Howard III (7 April 1943 - 15 February 1978) (his death) 2 children

Herbie Kaye (10 May 1935 - 21 April 1939) (divorced)

EthylCorporationAd-March1945.jpg Ethyl Corporation Ad - March 1945

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