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This Day in WWII 11 January 1941 - 1945

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PhilcoCorpAd-Jan1943.jpgPhilco Corporation Ad - January 1943


1941: Adolf Hitler orders forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps. The operation is to be named 'Alpine Violets'.


1941: The Cruisers HMS Southampton and HMS Gloucester are attacked by German aircraft in the Sicilian channel. HMS Gloucester receives damage, while HMS Southampton is sunk. British submarine's begin to make attacks German and Italian convoys crossing to Libya.


Nanette%20Fabray1.jpg *Nanette Fabray


1942: The Kriegsmarine begins Operation Drum Beat, the first coordinated attack carried out by five U-boats initially against US shipping along the East Coast of the United States. Their first victim is the 9,000 ton British steamer Cyclops which is sunk by U-123 (Kptlt. Hardegen), 300 miles to the east of Cape Cod.


1942: The Japanese 5th Division enters Kuala Lumpur, which is the main supply base for the Indian 3rd Corps. By this time Japanese forward elements are coming in to contact with the 8th Australian Division, which puts up fierce resistance, although Japanese amphibious landings to their south force them to retreat and ends British hopes of a protracted defense of Johore.


1942: Japan declares war against the Netherlands, and then the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies begins with landings at Tarakan (Borneo) and the Celebes.


Nanette%20Fabray2.jpg Nanette Fabray


1943: President Roosevelt submits his budget to the U.S. Congress. $100 billion of the $109 billion budget is identified with the war effort. Left-wing Italian journalist Carlo Tresca is shot to death in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue in New York City. His death was mysterious at the time, but it now appears clear he was murdered by organized crime elements seeking to curry favor with the Mussolini regime.


1943: The Soviet Red Army encircles Stalingrad.


1943: The United States and Britain signed treaties relinquishing extraterritorial rights in China.


PhilcoCorpAd-Jan1944.jpg Philco Corporation Ad - January 1944


1944: 660 heavy bombers of the U.S. 8th Air Force carry out attacks against industrial targets at Braunschweig, Magdeburg and Ascherleben.


1944: Ciano and 17 others are shot by firing squad.


Nanette%20Fabray3.jpg Nanette Fabray


1945: British troops capture Laroche, 20 miles Northwest of Bastogne.


1945: Red Army enters Warsaw, Poland.


Nanette%20Fabray4.jpg Nanette Fabray


1945: U.S. troops establish a firm hold on the Luzon beachhead.


1945: Air raid against Japanese bases in Indochina by U.S. carrier-based planes.


Nanette%20Fabray5.jpg Nanette Fabray

*Fabray was born as Ruby Bernadette Nanette Fabares on October 27, 1920 in San Diego, California to Raul Bernard Fabares, a train conductor, and Lily Agnes McGovern, a housewife. The family resided in Los Angeles and Fabray's mother was instrumental in getting her daughter involved in show business as a young child. At a very young age she began studying tap dancing with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson among other teachers. She made her professional stage debut as "Miss New Years Eve 1923" at the Million Dollar Theater at the age of 3. The following year she made her first film appearance as an extra in the "Our Gang" short "Cradle Robbers". She spent much of her childhood appearing in vaudeville productions as mainly a dancer but also a singer. She appeared across such stars as Ben Turpin.


Fabray's parents divorced when she was nine years old but her parents continued to live together for financial reasons many years after. During the Great Depression, her mother turned their home into a boarding house which Fabray and her siblings helped her to run. In her early teenage years she attended the Max Reinhardt School of the Theatre on a scholarship. She also attended Hollywood High School where she graduated in 1939. She entered Los Angeles Junior College in the Fall of 1939 but withdrew after only a few months. She had always had difficulty as a student in school due to an undiagnosed hearing impairment which made learning significantly difficult for her. She eventually was diagnosed with a hearing problem in her 20s after an acting teacher encouraged her to get her hearing tested. Of the experience Fabray said, "It was a revelation to me. All these years I had thought I was stupid, but in reality I just had a hearing problem."


At the age of 19, Fabray made her feature film debut as one of Bette Davis' ladies-in-waiting in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (1939). She appeared in two other motion pictures that year for Warner Brothers, "The Monroe Doctrine" and "A Child Is Born", but failed to gain a long-term studio contract. She next appeared in the stage show "Meet the People in Los Angeles" in 1940 which then toured the United States in 1940-1941. While in the show she sang the opera aria "Caro nome" from Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto and did a tap dance to the song as well. While the show was in New York City, Fabray was invited to perform the "Caro nome" number for a benefit at Madison Square Garden with Eleanor Roosevelt as the main speaker. Ed Sullivan was the Master of Ceremonies for the event and the famed host, reading a cue card, mispronounced her name as "Nanette Fa-bare-ass." After this embarrassing faux pas, the actress changed the spelling of her name from Fabares to Fabray.


Artur Rodziński, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, saw Fabray's performance in Meet the People and offered to sponsor operatic vocal training for her at the Juilliard School. She studied opera at Juilliard during the latter half of 1941 while performing in her first Broadway musical, "Let's Face It!" with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. She decided, however, that she preferred musical theatre over opera and withdrew from the school after attending for only five months. She became highly successful as a musical theatre actress in New York during the 1940s and early 1950s, starring in such productions as "By Jupiter" (1942), "My Dear Public" (1943), "Jackpot" (1944), "Bloomer Girl" (1946), "High Button Shoes" (1947), "Arms and the Girl" (1950), and "Make a Wish" (1951). In 1949 she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Susan Cooper in Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's "Love Life". She received a second Tony nomination for the role of Nell Henderson in "Mr. President" in 1963 after an eleven year absence from the New York Stage.


In the mid 1940s Fabray worked regularly for David Sarnoff and NBC on a variety of programs for the Los Angeles area. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Fabray made her first high profile national television appearances performing on a number of variety programs like "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Texaco Star Theater", and "The Arthur Murray Party". She also appeared on "Your Show of Shows" as a guest star opposite Sid Caesar. She later became a household name serving as Caesar's comedy partner on "Caesar's Hour" from 19541956, for which she won three Emmys. Fabray left the show after a misunderstanding when her business manager, unbeknownst to her, made unreasonable demands for her third season contract, and Fabray and Caesar did not reconcile until a few years later when both became aware of the facts.

Nanette%20Fabray6.jpg Nanette Fabray

Fabray appeared on several series as the mother of a main character: on "One Day at a Time" she was Ann Romano's mom; on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" she was mother to Mary Richards, and on "Coach", she played mother to real-life niece Shelley Fabares. She also made appearances on "The Carol Burnett Show", "Burke's Law", "Love, American Style", "Maude", "The Love Boat", "What's My Line?", and "Murder, She Wrote". Her brief, eponymous 1961 comedy series was canceled after 13 episodes. On the PBS program, "Pioneers of Television: Sitcoms", Mary Tyler Moore credited her well-known "crying" takes to mimicking Fabray's style of comic crying.


In 1953, Fabray played her most famous screen role as a Betty Comden-like playwright in MGM's "The Band Wagon" with Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan. Their performance included a classic musical number, "Triplets", that was eventually included in That's Entertainment Part II. Additional film credits include "The Subterraneans" (1960), "The Happy Ending" (1969), "Amy" (1981), and "Teresa's Tattoo" (1994) among others.


Fabray's most recent work was in 2007, when she appeared in "The Damsel Dialogues", an original revue by composer Dick de Benedictus, with direction/choreography by Miriam Nelson. The show focused on women's' issues with life, love, loss and the work place. The play was performed at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, California.


Fabray's first husband, Dave Tebet was a Vice-President of NBC. Her second husband, 1957-1973 (his death), with whom she had one child, was screenwriter and sometime-director Ranald MacDougall, who numbered Mildred Pierce and Cleopatra among his credits and was President of the Writers Guild of America in the early 1970s.


Nanette Fabray is a resident of Pacific Palisades, California. In 2001 she wrote to Dear Abby to decry the loud background music used on television programs today.


Nanette is the aunt of singer/actress, Shelley Fabares.




Ranald MacDougall (24 April 1957 - 12 December 1973) (his death) 1 child

David Tebet (26 October 1947 - 21 July 1951) (divorced)

Once had surgery to enlarge - not reduce - the size of her nose.

Seriously injured by a runaway elephant during the filming of Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978).

Turned down the chance to be the original voice of "Wilma Flintstone" on "The Flintstones" (1960) in order to accept Irving Berlin's offer to star in his show "Mr. President". "Mr. President" was Berlin's last completed show and only real flop, opening to such negative reviews that even Berlin's family didn't dare tell him, leaving him to read about it in the next day's papers. "The Flintstones" (1960) , of course, have become American pop-cultural icons.

A hearing-impaired performer for many years until four operations restored it, she has been known and won awards for her many humanitarian efforts in this field as well as others, serving on several committees that fight for the rights of the disabled or handicapped, and becoming a prime force in bringing sign language and captioning to TV.

PackardAd-Jan1945.jpg Packard Ad - January 1945

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