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This Day in WWII 12 July 1940 - 1945

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ConsolidatedVulteeAd-July1943.jpg

Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp - July 1943

 

1940: The Luftwaffe carries out raids on Aberdeen in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales.

 

1941: Britain and Russia sign mutual assistance agreement in Moscow, pledging 'no separate peace'.

 

Ann%20Miller1.jpg *Ann Miller

 

1941: The last Vichy French troops in Syria surrender to British and Free French forces.

 

1942: Troops of Army Group North complete the reduction of the Volkhov pocket, taking 30,000 Soviet prisoners, including General Vlasov, CO of the Second Guards Army and later to become C-in-C of the anti-Bolshevik Russian Liberation Army. The STAVKA establishes the Stalingrad Front under Marshal Timoshenko, from the remnants of the South-West front.

 

Ann%20Miller2.jpg Ann Miller

 

1943: The greatest tank battle in history' takes place near Prokhorovka, as the Soviet Central, Bryansk and West Fronts begin a massive counter- offensive in the area of Orel, Bryansk and Kursk. At Krasnograd near Moscow, a group of captured German officers, including Field Marshal Paulus and General von Seydlitz, and exiled German communists form the 'National Committee for a Free Germany' that calls for the overthrow of Hitler and the cessation of hostilities against the Soviet Union.

 

ConsolidatedVulteeAd-July1944.jpgConsolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp - July 1944

 

1944: The US VIII Corps slowly gains ground in its offensive towards St. Lo, against fierce resistance by units of the German 7th Army.

 

Ann%20Miller3.jpg Ann Miller

 

1945: Further allied landings are reported on Borneo. The Australians capture Maradi in the west of the island.

 

Ann%20Miller4.jpg Ann Miller

 

*Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas, the daughter of Clara Emma (née Birdwell) and John Alfred Collier, a criminal lawyer who represented the Barrow Gang, Machine Gun Kelly, and Baby Face Nelson, among others. Miller's maternal grandmother was Cherokee. Miller's father insisted on the name Johnnie because he had wanted a boy, but she was often called Annie. She took up dancing to exercise her legs to help her rickets. She was considered a child dance prodigy.

 

At the age of 13 Miller had been hired as a dancer in the "Black Cat Club" in San Francisco (she had told them she was 18). It was there she was discovered by Lucille Ball and talent scout/comic Benny Rubin. And in 1937, RKO asked her to sign on as a contract player, but only if she could prove she was 18. Though she was really barely 14, she managed to get hold of a fake birth certificate, and so was signed on, playing dancers and ingénues in such films as "Stage Door" (1937), "You Can't Take It with You" (1938), "Room Service" (1938) and "Too Many Girls" (1940). In 1939 she appeared on Broadway in "George White's Scandals" and was a smash, staying on for two years. Eventually RKO released her from her contract, but Columbia Pictures snapped her up to appear in such WW II morale boosters as "True to the Army" (1942) and "Reveille with Beverly" (1943). When she decided to get married, Columbia released her from her contract. The marriage was sadly unhappy and she was divorced in two years. This time MGM picked her up, showcasing her in such films as "Easter Parade" (1948), "On the Town" (1949), and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953). In the mid-'50s she asked to leave to marry again, and her request was granted. This marriage didn't last long, either, nor did a third.

 

Miller invented pantyhose in the 1940s as a solution to the problem of continual torn stockings during the filming of dance production numbers. The common practice had been to sew hosiery to briefs worn by Miller. If torn, the entire garment had to be removed and resewn with a new pair. At Miller's request, hosiery was manufactured for her as a single pantyhose.

 

Miller was famed for her speed in tap dancing. Studio publicists concocted press releases claiming she could tap 500 times per minute, but in truth, the sound of ultra-fast "500" taps was looped in later. Because the stage floors were slick and slippery, she actually danced in shoes with rubber soles. Later she would loop the sound of the taps while watching the film and actually dancing on a "tap board" to match her steps in the film.

 

Ann%20Miller5.jpg Ann Miller

 

She was known, especially later in her career, for her distinctive appearance, which reflected a studio-era ideal of glamor: massive black bouffant hair, heavy makeup with a slash of crimson lipstick, and fashions that emphasized her lithe figure and long dancer's legs. Her film career effectively ended in 1956 as the studio system lost steam to television, but she remained active in the theatre and on television. She starred on Broadway in the musical "Mame" in 1969, in which she wowed the audience in a tap number created just for her. In 1979 she astounded audiences in the Broadway show "Sugar Babies" with fellow MGM veteran Mickey Rooney, which toured the United States extensively after its Broadway run. In 1983 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre.

 

She appeared in a special 1982 episode of "The Love Boat", joined by fellow showbiz legends Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Della Reese, Van Johnson, and Cab Calloway in a storyline that cast them as older relatives of the show's regular characters. In 2001 she took her last role, playing Coco in auteur director David Lynch's critically acclaimed "Mulholland Drive". Her last stage performance was a 1998 production of "Stephen Sondheim's Follies", in which she played the hardboiled survivor Carlotta Campion and received rave reviews for her rendition of the anthemic "I'm Still Here". Miller also performed a guest appearance on the TV series "Home Improvement" as a dance instructor to Tim and Jill. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Ann Miller has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.

 

Miller was parodied on Saturday Night Live. She was played by Molly Shannon as a talk show host, with Debbie Reynolds (played by Cheri Oteri), on a show called Legs Up.

 

She died in Los Angeles, California on January 22, 2004 at the age of 80 from cancer, which had metastasized to her lungs, and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

 

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 35-22-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)

Spouse:

Arthur Cameron (25 May 1961 - 10 May 1962) (annulled)

Bill Moss (22 August 1958 - 11 May 1961) (divorced)

Reese Llewellyn Milner (16 February 1946 - 28 January 1948) (divorced) 1 child

Claimed her difficulty maintaining relationships with men was due to her being an Egyptian queen in a past life and executing any men who displeased her.

During an interview with Robert Osborne for Turner Classic Movies, Ann Miller said that when she was 9 months pregnant with Reese Milner's child, he got drunk one night, beat Ann up and threw her down a flight of stairs. Ann broke her back and had to give birth with a broken back.

Had to audition for Easter Parade in a steel back brace after breaking her back.

 

ConsolidatedVulteeAd-July1945.jpgConsolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp - July 1945

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