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This Day in WWII 8 November 1939 - 1944

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AutocarAd-Nov1943.jpgAutocar Ad - 1943

1939: A bomb intended to kill Hitler explodes at the annual meeting of the veterans of the 1923 Nazi Putsch in Munich, but the Führer had already left the beer cellar. The German media accused Britain of orchestrating the assassination attempt on Hitler. Two British SIS agents, Major Richard Stevens and Captain S. Payne Best, are captured in Holland by the Germans.

 

Maureen%20OHara1.jpg *Maureen O'Hara

 

1940: RAF bomb Munich shortly after Hitler appears there.

 

1940: Italians begin big offensive in Albania.

 

Maureen%20OHara2.jpg Maureen O'Hara

 

1941: Army Group North advances across the Volkhov river and captures Tikhivin. Hitler claims Russian losses are 8 - 10 million, which is perhaps double the truth.

 

1942: On the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Hitler tells his old comrades that Stalingrad is practically in German hands, adding that he didn't want to take that city just because it happens to bear the name of Stalin.

 

1942: Operation 'Torch' begins with Anglo-American forces under Lieutenant General Eisenhower landing in Morocco and Algeria against minimal Vichy French resistance. Mersa Matruh is re-taken by British.

 

GMCTruckAd-Nov1943.jpg GMC Truck Ad - November 1943

 

1943: The Eighth Army gains the heights on the Sangro less than 100 miles East of Rome.

 

1943: Hitler in his last speech to Nazi Party says 'We shall go on fighting past 12 o'clock'.

 

Maureen%20OHara3.jpg Maureen O'Hara

 

1944: For the first time in the history of the Third Reich, Hitler fails to appear in Munich to address "the Old Fighters" on the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Speculation mounts as Himmler reads a speech in the Führer's place.

 

1944: 25,000 Jews are forced to walk over 100 miles in rain and snow from Budapest to the Austrian border, followed by a second forced march of 50,000 persons, ending at Mauthausen Concentration camp.

 

Maureen%20OHara4.jpg Maureen O'Hara

*In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (who we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made her entrance into this caring haven on August 17, 1920, in Ranelagh (a suburb of Dublin), Ireland. Her mother, Marguerita Lilburn FitzSimons, was an accomplished contralto. Her father, Charles FitzSimons, managed a business in Dublin and also owned part of the renowned Irish soccer team "The Shamrock Rovers". Maureen was the second of six FitzSimons children - Peggy, Florrie, Charles B. Fitzsimons, Margot Fitzsimons and James O'Hara completed this beautiful family.

Maureen loved playing rough athletic games as a child and excelled in sports. She combined this interest with an equally natural gift for performing. This was demonstrated by her winning pretty much every Feis award for drama and theatrical performing her country offered. By age 14 she was accepted to the prestigious Abbey Theater and pursued her dream of classical theater and operatic singing. This course was to be altered, however, when Charles Laughton, after seeing a screen test of Maureen, became mesmerized by her hauntingly beautiful eyes. Before casting her to star in "Jamaica Inn" (1939), Laughton and his partner, Erich Pommer, changed her name from Maureen FitzSimons to "Maureen O'Hara" - a bit shorter last name for the marquee.

Under contract to Laughton, Maureen's next picture was to be filmed in America "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) at RKO Pictures. The epic film was an extraordinary success and Maureen's contract was eventually bought from Laughton by RKO. At 19, Maureen had already starred in two major motion pictures with Laughton. Unlike most stars of her era, she started at the top, and remained there - with her skills and talents only getting better and better with the passing years.

Maureen has an enviable string of all-time classics to her credit that include the aforementioned "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "How Green Was My Valley" (1941), "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), "Sitting Pretty" (1948), "The Quiet Man" (1952), "The Parent Trap" (1961) and "McLintock!" (1963). Add to this the distinction of being voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world and you have a film star who was as gorgeous as she was talented.

Maureen%20OHara-Wayne5.jpg Maureen O'Hara & John Wayne in McLintock! (1963)

Although at times early in her career Hollywood didn't seem to notice, there was much more to Maureen O'Hara than her dynamic beauty. She not only had a wonderful lyric soprano voice, but she could use her inherent athletic ability to perform physical feats that most actresses couldn't begin to attempt, from fencing to fisticuffs. She was a natural athlete.

In her career Maureen starred with some of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, including Tyrone Power, John Payne, Rex Harrison, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Brian Keith, Sir Alec Guinness and, of course, her famed pairings with "The Duke" himself, John Wayne. She starred in five films with Wayne, the most beloved being "The Quiet Man" (1952).

In addition to famed director John Ford, Maureen was also fortunate to have worked for some other great directors in the business: Alfred Hitchcock, William Dieterle, Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Jean Renoir, John M. Stahl, William A. Wellman, Frank Borzage, Walter Lang, George Seaton, George Sherman, Carol Reed, Delmer Daves, David Swift, Andrew V. McLaglen and Chris Columbus.

In 1968 Maureen found much deserved personal happiness when she married Charles Blair. Gen. Blair was a famous aviator whom she had known as a friend of her family for many years. A new career began for Maureen, that of a full-time wife. Her marriage to Blair, however, was again far from typical. Blair was the real-life version of what John Wayne had been on the screen. He had been a Brigadier General in the Air Force, a Senior Pilot with Pan American, and held many incredible record-breaking aeronautic achievements. Maureen happily retired from films in 1973 after making the TV movie "The Red Pony" (1973) (TV) (which won the prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence) with Henry Fonda. With Blair, Maureen managed Antilles Airboats, a commuter sea plane service in the Caribbean. She not only made trips around the world with her pilot husband, but owned and published a magazine, "The Virgin Islander", writing a monthly column called "Maureen O'Hara Says".

Maureen%20OHara6.jpg Maureen O'Hara

Tragically, Charles Blair died in a plane crash in 1978. Though completely devastated, Maureen pulled herself together and, with memories of ten of the happiest years of her life, continued on. She was elected President and CEO of Antilles Airboats, which brought her the distinction of being the first woman president of a scheduled airline in the United States.

On 24 October 2015, Maureen O'Hara died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho from natural causes.[91] She was 95 years old. O'Hara was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia next to her late husband Charles Blair.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 36 1/2C-25-36 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Starred with John Wayne in 5 movies: Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Wings of Eagles (1957), McLintock! (1963) and Big Jake (1971). The first three were directed by John Ford.

Did many of her own stunts in her films.

She and John Wayne remained friends until his death. In her home on St. Croix, she had a wing she called the John Wayne Wing because he stayed there when visiting. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, some ten years after Wayne's death.

She made headlines in 1997 by claiming that Brian Keith's suicide, while suffering from lung cancer and emphysema and mourning the suicide of his daughter, was an accident.

She became an American citizen on January 25, 1946 but has retained her Irish citizenship. It was the first time in history that the United States government recognized an Irish citizen as Irish. This led to a change in process for all Irish immigrants.

ACSparkPlugsAd-Nov1944.jpg AC Spark Plugs Ad - November 1944

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