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This Day in WWII 3 March 1940 - 1945


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1024.jpg?md=1330769430000 Cadillac Ad - March 1944

1940: The Russian launch a massive offensive and bring Viipuri under direct attack. This brings home to the Finns the fact that they cannot resist for must longer against the overwhelming force that the Russians are now deploying.

1940: Italy protests to Britain over proposed ban on Italian imports of German coal.

annsheridan6.jpg *Ann Sheridan

1941: Moscow denounces the Axis rule in Bulgaria.

1942: RAF Bomber Command, under its new C-in-C, Air Vice Marshal Harris, attacks the Renault plant in the Paris suburb of Billancourt. Of the 235 RAF planes that took off, only 1 failed to return. The new navigation device, GEE wasn't used, although the target was marked with flares for the first time and serious damage done to production facilities, although many French workers were killed. However, this successful raid was a much needed morale boost for the bomber crews. On this same night, the Lancaster bomber makes its operational debut, laying mines of the French port of Brest.

annsheridan4.jpg Ann Sheridan

1942: Vichy announces that 'official' German figures put the number of French arrested in 1941 at 5,390 and executions at more than 250.

1942: General Chiang Kai-shek meets General Wavell in Burma.

1024.jpg?md=1330769932000 Champion Spark Plugs Ad - March 1944

1943: 173 Londoners are killed in panic crush at Bethnal Green tube station when a new AA weapon noise is heard for the first time.

1943: Russians take Rzhev, over 100 miles to the west of Moscow.

annsheridan2.jpg Ann Sheridan

1944: German attacks cease at Anzio after loss of 3,500 men and 30 Panzer's in four days.

1944: British civilian casualties now total 50,324 dead, with military deaths at 50,103.

1944: Under pressure from the Western Allies to withdraw all remaining Spanish troops from the Eastern front, the Franco government orders members of the so-called "Blue Legion," attached to the German 121st Infantry Division, to return home and outlaws service by Spanish citizens with the Axis forces. Nevertheless, a handful of fanatically anti-Communist Spaniards defy orders and volunteer for service with the Waffen SS, some of them fighting suicidally to the end in the ruins of Berlin.

annsheridan.jpg Ann Sheridan

1944: The allies announce that Russia is to get a third of Italian fleet, or equivalent in British and American warships.

1944: Japanese counter-attacks on Los Negros fail.

1024.jpg?md=1330769938000 Champion Spark Plugs Ad - March 1945

1945: Units of the Canadian First Army capture Xanten on the lower Rhine in the battle of the Reichswald. The US First Army captures Krefeld.

1945: 100 Luftwaffe night-fighters attack 27 RAF airfields, in what is the last night intrusion raid of the war. 22 RAF aircraft were destroyed for 6 German.

annsheridan7.jpg Ann Sheridan

1945: The fighting ends in Manila. Japanese resistance ends in Meiktila.

1945: Finland declares war on the Axis.

annsheridan5.jpg Ann Sheridan

*Clara Lou Sheridan was born February 21, 1915, in Denton, Texas, to an automobile mechanic and his homemaker wife. The youngest of five children, she grew up in a normal childhood environment. She was a self-described tomboy and was very athletic, and played on the girls basketball team for North Texas State Teacher's College, where she was planning to enter the teaching field. Her sister thought her beautiful enough to send in a picture of Ann in a bathing suit to Paramount Studios. The "Search for Beauty" contest carried, as the prize, a screen test and a bit part in a movie. She won and was signed to a contract at the age of 19. Her first film was the prize: a bit role in "Wagon Wheels" (1934). Performing under her real name of Clara Lou, she appeared in 12 more films that year, most designed to showcase her beauty along with other starlets that Paramount had signed. Twelve more bit parts followed in 1935. The following year, she left Paramount and signed with Warner Brothers, where more of the same followed. It wasn't until 1938 that Clara Lou, now Ann, landed a role with substance as Laury Ferguson in "Angels with Dirty Faces" (1938).

annsheridan3.jpg Ann Sheridan

Known as the "Oomph Girl," a nickname she detested, she became one of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. Rex Harrison said of her, "I was struck by her extraordinary magnetism and directness," and noted that he liked her "distinctive quality of earthiness that never transcends to blatant sexiness." Her beauty made her a favorite pin-up, along with Betty Grable. She grew into a leading star who could adapt to any role. She was put into a lot of comedies, many of which were quite forgettable, but the public loved her, and critics began to take notice of her after terrific performances in "Torrid Zone" (1940) and as the saucy waitress who marries George Raft in "They Drive by Night" (1940). She was also singled out for another standout performance in "Kings Row" (1942) with future politician Ronald Reagan. She starred with Cary Grant in Howard Hawks screwball comedy "I Was a Male War Bride" (1949). As she entered the 1950s, however, her career went into a decline. She was aging -- as was sadly evident in her last film, the turgid "Woman and the Hunter" (1957) -- and a crop of younger actresses coming up meant her services were no longer in demand. She moved to New York and took whatever acting jobs she could find, whether on stage or TV. Most soap opera fans may remember her in "Another World" (1964), but she is best remembered by TV audiences as Henrietta Hanks in the western comedy "Pistols 'n' Petticoats" (1966). She didn't get to live out her series' first season. Her career was taking off again, but the success was short-lived. Ann died on January 21, 1967, in San Fernando Valley, California, of esophageal and liver cancer. She had been a chain cigarette smoker for years; Cagney remarked in his autobiography that when the cancer struck, "she didn't have a chance." She was 51.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 36-25-35 1/2

Height: 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Was named Max Factor's "Girl of the Year" for 1939.

Was used as a body double (hands, legs, shoulders) while at Paramount.

Warner Bros. was eager to portray Ann as a "Girl about town," so her contract demanded that she hit the nightclubs at least three times a week.

Sheridan married three times, including a marriage lasting one year to fellow Warners actor, George Brent, but had no children.

In her will, she asked that her cremated remains be placed in a columbarium at a cemetery in Los Angeles. Her biographer Karen McHale discovered that the actress' instructions had not been followed and arranged to have her final wishes fulfilled. Hollywood Forever Cemetery donated a niche and held a dignified service (presided over by her cousin, the Rev. Sallie Watson) on February 21, 2005 - which would have been her 90th birthday.

1024.jpg?md=1330769445000 Cadillac Ad - March 1945

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