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This Day in WWII 17 April 1940 - 1945

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Chevrolet-April1943.jpgChevrolet Ad - April 1943

 

1940: Royal Navy Heavy cruiser "Suffolk" bombards installations at Stavanger, but on her return is badly damaged by Ju-88 bombers and barely makes Scapa Flow with her stern awash.

 

1941: Yugoslavia surrenders, with the Wehrmacht taking 334,000 prisoners. King Peter of Yugoslavia is flown to Athens and then on to London by the RAF.

 

AnneJeffreys1.jpg *Anne Jeffreys

 

1942: The RAF makes a daylight raid against Augsburg in southern Germany with 14 Lancaster bombers. The raid is pressed home with great gallantry, with squadron leader J.D. Nettleton being awarded the VC. However, 7 aircraft are lost, which convinces Air Marshal Harris that daylight raids by heavy bombers were too costly.

 

1943: Germans find buried polish officers at Katyn Wood.

 

AnneJeffreys2.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

1943: The U.S. War Manpower Commission orders 27 million workers in industries deemed essential to the war effort not to leave their positions for any reason.

 

1944: Amid rumors in the allied press that he is dead or is locked in an insane asylum, Hitler appears, but does not speak at the funeral in Munich of Gauleiter Adolf Wagner. It is the first time Hitler has shown himself publicly since his speech to the "Old Fighters" the previous November.

 

AnneJeffreys3.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

1945: The battle for Berlin escalates a breakthrough is made by the 1st Ukrainian front. However, the 1st Belorussian Fronts offensive against Berlin is stalled by tenacious German resistance on the Seelow Heights, 2 miles West of the Oder, with great losses of troops and tanks for the Russians. The situation for the German 6th SS Panzer Army in Austria is now critical at St.Polten. The Russians occupies Wilhelmsburg.

 

AnneJeffreys4.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

*The ever-lovely, poised and vivacious blonde Anne Jeffreys was born Anne Carmichael on January 26, 1923 in 1923 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Firmly managed by her mother, she trained in voice at a fairly early age and received her first break in the entertainment field after signing with the John Robert Powers agency in New York as a junior model. In the interim, she prepared herself for an operatic career and made her debut in a production of "La Boheme" in 1940. The following year, however, Anne won a role in the musical review "Fun for the Money" that was to be staged in Hollywood. This, in turn, led to her first movie role in the tuneful Rodgers & Hart adaptation of "I Married an Angel" (1942) starring her singing idols Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in their last cinematic pairing.

 

Put under contract respectively by Republic then RKO studios, Anne was utilized as a plucky heroine in a flux of 40s "B" westerns and crimers opposite such stalwarts as Robert Mitchum and Randolph Scott. Also among her roles was the part of Tess Trueheart in the "Dick Tracy" series with Morgan Conway as the steel-jawed hero, and a co-star role opposite Frank Sinatra in the war-era musical "Step Lively" (1944). None of these, however, were able to propel her into the "A" ranks and her film career quickly dissipated by the end of the 40s. In the meantime, Anne continued to prod her vocal skills with symphonic and stage appearances including "Tosca" at the Brooklyn Opera House, Kurt Weill's "Street Scene" and the Broadway musical "My Romance".

 

AnneJeffreys5.jpg

Actress Anne Jeffreys poses in the aptly named "Co-bra," a brassiere made from skin of the hooded King Cobra snake. Jeffreys told reporters the skin was sent to her from an American GI stationed in Burma (uncredited press photo dated February 15, 1944).

 

Divorced in 1949, Anne met handsome actor Robert Sterling during an extended run (887 performances) of "Kiss Me Kate" on Broadway. She and Sterling married in 1951 and had three sons. In an attempt to revive their flagging careers, the singing couple toured nighteries and hotels in the early 1950s with a highly successful club act. This led to them being cast as sly, engagingly cavalier spirits in the classic "Topper" (1953) sitcom. Anne played Marion Kirby ("the ghostess with the mostest") alongside Sterling's dapper husband George. Successfully, undertaking the ectoplasmic roles originated on film by Constance Bennett and Cary Grant, the two were an absolute hit as the party-hearty ghosts who reclaim their home to the dismay of current owner Leo G. Carroll.

 

Anne and Robert weren't able to recreate that same kind of magic when they subsequently co-starred in the short-lived series "Love That Jill" (1958). In the 1960s Anne semi-retired to raise her family, but occasionally took on musical leads ("Camelot", "The King and I") both on Broadway and in regional productions. She later returned full time to TV and became known for her chic, gregarious, sometimes double-dealing matrons on soap operas ("Bright Promise" (1969) and "General Hospital" (1972)). She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her supporting work in "The Delphi Bureau" (1972) adventure series, and appeared occasionally as the mother of David Hasselhoff on "Baywatch" (1989). Anne retired from acting in 2015. Jeffreys died on September 27, 2017 at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

 

Chevrolet-April1945.jpgChevrolet Ad - April 1945

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