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This Day in WWII 15 April 1940 - 1945

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GoodyearAd-April1942.jpg

Goodyear Ad - April 1942

 

1940: British troops land at Harstad in the Lofoten Islands, opposite Narvik, Norway. Quisling government resigns in Oslo; 'Administrative Council' takes control.

 

1940: British unemployment falls to 973,000, lowest figure since 1920.

 

JaneGreer1.jpg *Jane Greer

 

1941: The Luftwaffe keeps up its air offensive by attacking Belfast.

 

1941: The Admiralty assumes operational control of RAF Coastal Command.

 

JaneGreer2.jpg Jane Greer

 

1941: German troops occupy Sarajevo in Yugoslavia.

 

JaneGreer3.jpg Jane Greer

 

1942: The French resistance attacks the German HQ at Arras with hand grenades.

 

1942: During its darkest hours, the people of Malta is awarded the George Cross for "heroism and devotion" by King George VI. This was in recognition of the way in which the Maltese people had stood up to more than 2,000 bombing raids and constant shortages over the past twelve month.

 

1942: The British begin to destroy the oil wells at Yenangyuang. The 1st Burma Division with the help of the 38th Chinese Division, manages to extricate itself from a pocket south of Yenangyuang, before being completely surrounded.

 

JaneGreer4.jpg Jane Greer

 

1944: The Red Army recaptures Tarnopol in the southern Ukraine.

 

1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt is buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home.

 

JaneGreer5.jpg Jane Greer

 

1945: The Canadian First Army reaches the coast in northern Holland and captures Arnhem in the South. The US First Army captures Leuna and Merseburg in Saxony, while the French First Army captures Kehl and Offenburg on the upper Rhine.

 

1945: The 3rd Ukrainian front occupies Radkesburg during its offensive against the industrial area of Mührisch-Ostrau in Moravia. The 2nd Ukrainian front attacks towards Brno in Czechoslovakia.

 

1945: British & Canadian troops liberate Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and free approximately 40,000 prisoners. It is reported that "both inside and outside the huts was a carpet of dead bodies, human excreta, rags and filth."

 

JaneGreer6.jpg Jane Greer

 

*The five-foot five Greer began life as Bettejane Greer in Washington, D.C on September 9, 1924. In 1940, aged 15, Greer suffered from a facial palsy, which paralyzed the left side of her face. She recovered, but it is speculated that the condition contributed to her "patented look" and "a calm, quizzical gaze and an enigmatic expression that would later lead RKO to promote her as 'the woman with the Mona Lisa smile'." She claimed that the facial exercises used to overcome the paralysis taught her how to convey human emotion. A beauty-contest winner and professional model from her teens, Greer began her show business career as a big band singer.

 

Howard Hughes spotted Greer modeling on the cover of Life magazine of June 8, 1942 and sent her to Hollywood to become an actress. She married Rudy Vallee, her senior by 22 years, in 1943. Hughes lent out the actress to RKO to star in many films, including "Dick Tracy" (1945), "Out of the Past" (1947), "They Won't Believe Me" (1947), and the comedy/suspense film "The Big Steal" (1949), alongside "Out of the Past" co-star Robert Mitchum. Hughes refused to let her work for a time; when she finally began film acting again, she appeared in "You're in the Navy Now" (1951), "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1952), "Run for the Sun" (1956), and "The Man of a Thousand Faces" (1957). In 1984, she was cast in "Against All Odds", a remake of "Out of the Past", as the mother of the character she had played in 1947.

 

Noteworthy roles in television included guest appearances on episodes of numerous shows over the decades, such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Bonanza", "Quincy, M.E.", "Murder, She Wrote", and a 1975 gig with Peter Falk and Robert Vaughn in an episode of "Columbo" titled "Troubled Waters". She even got to make fun of "Out of the Past" in a parody with Robert Mitchum on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1987. Greer joined the casts of "Falcon Crest" in 1984, and "Twin Peaks" in 1990, in recurring roles.

 

Jane Greer married Rudy Vallee in 1943, but they divorced the following year. She remarried in 1947, to Edward Lasker (1912-1997), a Los Angeles lawyer and businessman, with whom she had three children. Her son Lawrence Lasker is a movie producer who has co-produced several films, including "WarGames" (1983) and "Sneakers" (1992).

 

Edward Lasker had been an owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses since 1929, and Greer also became an owner of race horses under her own name. Among her graded stakes race wins were the 1966 Withers and Jim Dandy Stakes and the 1967 Fall Highweight Handicap with the colt Indulto.

Greer died of cancer at the age of 76 on August 24, 2001 in Los Angeles, California.

 

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 35-25 1/2-36

Has a twin brother, Don.

Quickly married crooner Rudy Vallee after fleeing a possessed Howard Hughes, who discovered her on a WWII poster and kept her virtually a prisoner during her first few months. An enraged Hughes pressured her and ruined the marriage. She returned to Hughes and her contract.

She is of Scottish royal descent. Born in Washington, D.C. to Charles Dean McLean Greer, Jr. Her grandfather, Charles, Sr., according to the Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly was a representative of Shelby County, TN in the state House from 1899-1901 and in the state Senate 1901-1903 as speaker. Greer street in Memphis, TN is named after Charles Sr.

Was on the cover of Life magazine on June 8, 1942 and June 2, 1947. It was this 1942 issue of Life that caught the eye of Howard Hughes and started her Hollywood career.

 

GoodyearAd-April1944.jpgGoodyear Ad - April 1944

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