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This Day in WWII 24 February 1941 - 1945


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TalonFastenerAd-Feb1943.jpg Talon Fastener Ad - February 1943

1941: The 2-engine Manchester bomber, is used for the first time during an RAF raid against Brest.

1941: Reconnaissance elements of the German 5th Light Division clash with British forces for the first time in Africa, at Nofilia near El Agheila.

Marie%20McDonald1.jpg *Marie McDonald

1942: British Parliament begins a two day debate on the conduct of the war.

1942: USS Enterprise attacks the Japanese garrison on Wake Island.

Marie%20McDonald2.jpg Marie McDonald

1944: 'Big Week' continues with a co-ordinated RAF and USAAF attacks on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factory.

1944: Hitler speaks to a closed door meeting of Nazi Party leaders and activists at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich on the occasion of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Party Program in 1920. Hitler refuses Goebbels requests that the speech be broadcast and even prohibits any mention of it in the newspapers.

NorthAmericanAviationAd-Feb1944.jpg North American Aviation Ad - February 1944

1945: German U-boats sink 8 ships and 2 destroyers from a convoy bound for the Russian port of Murmansk.

1945: A haggard and aged-looking Hitler addresses his Gauleiters and Reichsleiters for what proves to be the last time in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of the Nazi Party program. Perhaps sensitive to the likelihood of public scepticism and derision, he refuses to allow the speech to be broadcast or even reported to the public at large.

Marie%20McDonald3.jpg Marie McDonald

1945: Germans counter attacks wipe out the Russian Hron bridgehead over the Danube to the northwest of Budapest.

1945: U.S. Marines capture a second airfield on Iwo Jima.

Marie%20McDonald4.jpg Marie McDonald

*Marie McDonald, born Cora Marie Frye on July 6, 1923 in Burgin, Kentucky, was a leggy, voluptuous blonde starlet who pursued her career with a vengeance but found little reward in the end. Her mother was a former Ziegfeld girl and her grandmother an operatic singer. Her father, on the other hand, was not so artistically inclined, earning a living as a warden at Leavenworth Prison. Her parents divorced when Marie was just 6 years old. Marie's mother remarried and the new family moved to Yonkers, New York, where she attended Roosevelt High School and excelled in piano and wrote for the school newspaper.

Although Marie was offered a college scholarship by Columbia University in journalism, Marie's impressive beauty and physical assets propelled her to try a show business career. A Powers model at 15 (she lied about her age), she quit high school and started entering beauty contests, winning the "Miss Yonkers" and "The Queen of Coney Island" titles, among others. In 1939 she was crowned "Miss New York," but subsequently lost at the "Miss America" pageant.

Marie%20McDonald5.jpg Marie McDonald

The attention she received from her beauty titles, however, pointed her straight to the Broadway stage and the "George White's Scandals of 1939." This in turn led to her move to Los Angeles, finding work in the chorus line while trying to break into pictures. She found her first singing work with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra on his radio show and eventually joined other bands as well. Although Universal signed her up, she couldn't get past a few one-line jobs. She knew publicity would have to be her mode of operation if she was to draw the necessary attention and advance her career. During World War II, McDonald became one of Hollywood's most popular pin-up girls and she posed for the United States military magazine, YANK.

Marie%20McDonald6-YankPinup.jpg Marie McDonald - YANK Pinup Girl - August 25, 1944

Press agents dubbed Marie "The Body" and the tag eventually stuck. Though her physical attributes were impressive, her talent was less so. Managing to come her way were the films "Guest in the House" (1944), "Living in a Big Way" (1947) with Gene Kelly and "Tell It to the Judge" (1949). Marie was once in contention for the Billie Dawn role in "Born Yesterday," which could have been her big break, but she lost out to Judy Holliday. The audience simply didn't latch on to Marie and she ended up more on the road doing bus-and-truck shows than anything else.

Marie%20McDonald7.jpg Marie McDonald

Despite a plethora of tabloid attention, which included her seven marriages and numerous sex scandals in addition to the publicity hijinks she managed to muster up, notoriety that would have made the late Jayne Mansfield envious, Marie's career eventually stalled and she turned to drink, drugs and despair. This led to frequent skirmishes with the law and more than a few nervous breakdowns. Her last effective role was in the Jerry Lewis starrer "The Geisha Boy" (1958) where she gamely played a snippy movie star at the mercy of the comedian's outrageous slapstick. On October 21, 1965 (aged 42) at Calabasas, California, the never-say-die gal finally decided enough was enough and she ended it all with an overdose of Percodan. She was laid to rest in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Three months after McDonald's death, her sixth husband Donald F. Taylor, who was a producer had occasionally acted under the name Don Taylor, committed suicide in January 1966. McDonald's three surviving children were raised by Harry Karl and his wife, Debbie Reynolds.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 36 1/2-22 1/2-35

Height: 5' 6" (1.67 m)

Spouse:

Donald F. Taylor (1 November 1963 - 21 October 1965) (her death)

Edward F. Callaha (6 August 1962 - 5 September 1963) (annulled)

Louis Bass (23 May 1959 - 8 April 1960) (divorced)

Harry Karl (June 1955 - 16 April 1958) (divorced) 1 child

Harry Karl (19 September 1947 - 23 November 1954) (divorced) 2 children

Victor M. Orsatti (10 January 1943 - May 1947) (divorced)

Richard Allord (1940 - 1940) (annulled)

After several miscarriages, she adopted two children, Denise "Dede" and Harrison "Bo", between the years 1951-1954. A daughter, Tina Marie, was born later in 1956.

She died of a drug overdose because there was air in the needle that was injected into her. Her husband was charged with murder, but he killed himself two days after she died.

Harry Karl, the father of her three children, did not want the children after Marie died. His wife at the time, Debbie Reynolds, insisted they move in with him anyway.

NorthAmericanAviationAd-Feb1945.jpg North American Aviation Ad - February 1945

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