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This Day in WWII 20 February 1938 - 1945


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1024.jpg?md=1329736662000 Bell Telephone Ad - February 1943

1938: Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

1940: General von Falkenhorst is appointed to command the German invasion of Norway.

alexissmith4.jpg *Alexis Smith

1941: The United States sends war planes to the Pacific.

1941: The Australian Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies arrives in Britain for talks with Churchill.

Edward_Ohare.jpg Lt. Edward O'Hare

1942: Lt. Edward O'Hare downs five out of nine Japanese bombers that are attacking the carrier Lexington. (MORE INFO)

1942: Japanese forces land on the Portuguese Island of Timor. Japanese troops having suffered heavy casualties over the past few weeks from battle and disease, begin to slacken their pressure in Bataan. President Quezon of the Philippines leaves for Australia in a US submarine.

alexissmith.jpg Alexis Smith

1943: Fierce fighting in continues in central Tunisia after the German breakout through the Kasserine Pass, but further offensive operations by the Afrika Korps are halted in order for them to withdraw to the Mareth line.

1944: ‘Big Week’ rolls on with the largest ever daylight raid of war by the USAAF on Germany as 970 bombers carry out attacks against Hamburg, Leipzig and Braunschweig. The RAF pound Stuttgart with 2,000-tons of bombs.

1024.jpg?md=1329736676000 G&W Five Star Whiskey Ad - February 1943

1944: A ferry boat, carrying the remaining 'Heavy Water' production from Telemark in Norway, back to Germany for safety is sabotaged and sunk on Lake Tinnsjo.

1944: The Admiralty announces an 11-day battle with U-boats in Straits of Gibraltar, during which three ships are sunk and several damaged.

alexissmith3.jpg Alexis Smith

1944: U.S. carrier-based and land-based planes destroy the Japanese base at Rabaul.

1945: The RAF launch the first of 36 consecutive night raids on Berlin.

1945: Red Army attacks against the lines of Army Group Courland fail in the face of stubborn German resistance.

alexissmith2.jpg Alexis Smith

*Born Gladys Smith on June 8, 1921 in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, Smith was raised in Los Angeles. She was signed to a contract by Warner Bros. after being discovered by a talent scout while attending college. Her earliest film roles were uncredited bit parts and it took several years for her career to gain momentum. Her first credited part was in the feature film "Dive Bomber" (1941), playing the female lead opposite Errol Flynn. Her appearance in "The Constant Nymph" (1943) was well received and led to bigger parts. During the 1940s she appeared opposite some of the most popular male stars of the day, including Errol Flynn in "Gentleman Jim" (1942) and "San Antonio" (1945) (in which she sang a special version of the popular ballad "Some Sunday Morning"), Humphrey Bogart in "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" (1947), Cary Grant in a sanitized, fictional version of Cole and Linda Porter's life in "Night and Day" (1946), and Bing Crosby in "Here Comes the Groom" (1951).

Some of Smith's other films include "Rhapsody In Blue" (1945), "Of Human Bondage" (1946) and "The Young Philadelphians" (1959).

She appeared on the cover of the May 3, 1971 issue of Time with the announcement that she would be starring in Hal Prince's Broadway production of "Stephen Sondheim's Follies". In 1972 she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. She followed this with the 1973 all-star revival of "The Women", the short-lived 1975 comedy "Summer Brave" and the ill-fated 1978 musical "Platinum", which drew decent notices only for her performance and quickly closed.

alexissmith4.jpg Alexis Smith

Smith had a recurring role on the TV series "Dallas" as Clayton Farlow's sister Jessica Montford in 1984 and again in 1990. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on the television sitcom "Cheers" in 1990.

Alexis Smith died on June 9, 1993 in Los Angeles, California from brain cancer the day after her 72nd birthday. She had no children and was survived by her husband actor Craig Stevens.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 34-24-36 (1942)

Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Tall, graceful, talented, Canadian-born actress who was married for 49 years to actor Craig Stevens.

1024.jpg?md=1329736669000 Bell Telephone Ad - February 1945

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