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This Day in WWII 11 July 1940 - 1944

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BuickAd-July1944.jpg

Buick Ad - July 1944

 

1940: Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production, says 'the sky is the limit' for plane purchases from US, with spending running at £2.5 million per day on aircraft.

 

1940: Marshal Petain replaces President Lebrun and proclaims himself 'Chief of French State' of the French Republic.

 

1940: Admiral Raeder, C-in-C of the German Navy expresses his reservations about any invasion of Britain.

 

Jennifer%20Jones1.jpg *Jennifer Jones

 

1941: Stalin replaces 3 major Soviet commanders appointing Voroshilov for the northern, Timoshenko for the central and Budjenny for the southern fronts. Armored units of Panzer Group 1 advance within 10 miles of Kiev.

 

1941: Vichy government rejects Syrian armistice terms but Dentz accepts.

 

Jennifer%20Jones2.jpg Jennifer Jones

 

1943: The attacking German forces at Kursk have been depleted by heavy losses in men and armor and have nearly spent their momentum, even though the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf in the southern sector have succeeded in capturing the pivotal town of Prokhorovka. To prevent further attrition, especially of the vital armored forces, Field Marshals von Kluge and von Manstein urge Hitler to call off the operation, but Hitler refuses.

 

ShickShaver-July1945.jpg Shick Shaver Ad - July 1945

 

1943: 144 Allied transport planes fired on by US Navy ships in the Sicily invasion-reform of Army Air Force and Navy coordination results.

 

Jennifer%20Jones3.jpg Jennifer Jones

 

1944: The US VIII Corps continues its attacks from the Carentan area toward St. Lo, but is meeting with strong German resistance.

 

1944: The United States formally recognizes the provisional French government of General de Gaulle in London as the de facto government of France.

 

1944: The Red Army captures the remnants (35,000) of the encircled 4th Army.

 

Jennifer%20Jones4.jpg Jennifer Jones

 

*One of the world's most underrated Academy Award-winning actresses, Jennifer Jones was born Phyllis Lee Isley on March 2nd, 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As a young aspiring actress she met and fell for young aspiring actor Robert Walker and they soon married, moving to Chicago in order to fufill their dreams of becoming movie stars. When their plans fell through, Phyllis began working as a model, sporting mainly hats, gloves and jewellery, as well as occasionally finding some work on local radio stations providing her voice to various characters in radio programmes along with her husband. In a last-ditch attempt to pursue her dream, Phyllis travelled to the Selznick studios for a reading that would ultimately change her life. It was that day that she met David O. Selznick and after that particular audition her career began to take shape. Initially, Phyllis thought that the audition had went terribly and stormed out of the studios in tears, only to be chased by Selznick who assured her that she had been fine. Although she wasn't given that particular part, Phyllis was given a contract with Selznick studios, changing her name to Jennifer Jones, and was cast over thousands of other hopefuls in the role of Bernadette Soubirous in "The Song of Bernadette" (1943). For her innocent, sweet and moving portrayal of the sickly teenager who sees a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes and devotes her life to her by becoming a nun and then ultimately dies of bone cancer, Jones won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role on March 2nd, 1944 - coincidentally her 25th birthday - beating out stiff competition such as Ingrid Bergman (who later became a close friend of hers), Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine and Jean Arthur.

 

Now a Hollywood star, Jones' career was marked out and molded for her by Selznick, who would become the love of her life. They began an affair and eventually she left her husband and two sons for the producer that inevitably led Walker to his untimely death through alcohol and drug abuse, instigated due to their separation. As for her career, Jones took on the supporting role of Jane Hilton, a headstrong teenage girl who in the end grows up fast when her fiance is killed in action during WWII, in "Since You Went Away" (1944). For her performance Jones received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, losing out to Ethel Barrymore for "None But the Lonely Heart" (1944). Jennifer continued to deliver strong performances, receiving further Best Actress Oscar nominations for "Love Letters" (1945) (she lost out to Joan Crawford for "Mildred Pierce" (1945)) and "Duel in the Sun" (1946), (she lost out to Olivia de Havilland for "To Each His Own" (1946)) which saw her cast against type as seductive half-breed Pearl Chavez.

 

Throughout the remainder of the 1940s Jones continued to produce memorable performances, such as in "Portrait of Jennie" (1948), which carried her into the 1950s and saw her receive her fifth and final Oscar nomination for "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" (1955), losing out to Anna Magnani for "The Rose Tattoo" (1955). However, despite her obvious success within the film industry Jones was a very private person and managed to stay out of the spotlight which dominated so many other actresses of the time. As a result Jones began to become less and less noticed, which increased further when Selznick died in 1965. Films roles began to appear less and less and after a moderately successful supporting performance in "The Towering Inferno" (1974) in which she danced with Fred Astaire before a fire threatened partygoers in a new San Francisco skyscraper who were celebrating its official opening as tallest building in the world. Her exit from the picture was also the most sympathetic when, after helping to assist two children to escape the disaster, her character fell 110 stories to her death from a scenic elevator on the outside of the building which was derailed following an explosion. Her touching performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Scenes from early on in the movie showed paintings lent to the production from the Norton Simon art gallery. Simon was her husband at the time the movie was produced.

 

Jennifer%20Jones5.jpg Jennifer Jones

 

She did, however, try to revive her film career in later years by campaigning for the role of Aurora Greenway in "Terms of Endearment" (1983), but Shirley MacLaine was cast instead and as a result won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.

 

Unfortunately now in the 21st Century and in her 90th year, Jennifer Jones is relatively unknown in comparison to the other actresses of her time such as Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Bette Davis etc. But for those that are aware of her and her extraordinary talent she is alluring to watch and her acting abilities extend far greater than most of her contemporaries.

 

Jones married Selznick on July 13, 1949, a union which lasted until his death on June 22, 1965. After his death, she semi-retired from acting. According to media reports, Jones attempted suicide in November 1967 after hearing of the death of close friend Charles Bickford. She was found unconscious at the base of a cliff overlooking Malibu Beach; she was hospitalized in a coma before eventually recovering. Her daughter, Mary Jennifer Selznick (19541976), committed suicide by jumping from a 20th-floor window in Los Angeles on May 11, 1976. This led to Jones's interest in mental health issues.

 

On May 29, 1971, Jones married multi-millionaire industrialist, art collector and philanthropist Norton Simon, whose son Robert had committed suicide in 1969. Years before, Simon had attempted to buy the portrait of her used in the film Portrait of Jennie. Simon later met Jones at a party hosted by fellow industrialist and art collector Walter Annenberg. Norton Simon died in June 1993. Jennifer Jones-Simon was Trustee Emeritus of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

 

Jones was a breast cancer survivor. Actress Susan Strasberg, who would die of the disease in 1999, who was then married to actor Christopher Jones, named her own daughter Jennifer Robin Jones in the older actress's honor.

 

Jones enjoyed a quiet retirement in Southern California close to her son. She granted no interviews and rarely appeared in public. She died of natural causes at her home on Thursday, December 17, 2009, aged 90.

 

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 33-24-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)

Mother of Robert Walker Jr. and Michael Walker. Both became actors.

 

DodgeAd-July1945.jpgDodge Ad - July 1945

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