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This Day in WWII 13 October 1941 - 1945


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JohnsonOutboardMotorsAd-October1943.jpg Johnson Outboard Motors Ad - October 1943

1941: German forces of Army Group Centre capture Kalinin, just 100 miles to the West of Moscow.

Brenda%20Joyce1.jpg *Brenda Joyce

1942: In the first of four attacks, two Japanese battleships sail down the slot and shell Henderson field on Guadalcanal, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy the American Cactus Air Force.

1942: The Russians regain some ground in Stalingrad, but at heavy cost.

Brenda%20Joyce2.jpg Brenda Joyce

1943: The new Italian government of Marshal Badoglio declares war on Germany, with little effect. Nearly half a million Italian troops have been taken prisoner by the Germans, who predict the Italians will switch sides after their surrender.

1943: The U.S. Fifth Army crosses the Volturno River.

PrestoneAd-October1944.jpg Prestone Ad - October 1944

1943: The Russians reach Melitopol in southern Ukraine.

1943: The whole of the New Georgia group of islands in the Solomon's are reported in allied hands.

Brenda%20Joyce3.jpg Brenda Joyce

1944: Russian troops capture Riga, the capital of Latvia as Army Group North withdraws in to the Kurland pocket.

1944: The Australian Liberal Party is formed.

Brenda%20Joyce4.jpg Brenda Joyce

1945: French troops are fighting in Vietnam.

Brenda%20Joyce5.jpg Brenda Joyce

*Brenda Joyce was born as Betty Graffina Leabo in Excelsior Springs, Missouri on February 25, 1917, raised in Los Angeles, and nicknamed "Graftina" by her father when she was a little girl.

Attending college, the lovely blonde became a photographer's model to help pay her tuition. 20th Century Fox noticed a fashion layout of her and immediately signed her on. The studio changed her name to Brenda Joyce after silent star Alice Joyce, making her movie debut with "The Rains Came" (1939). Building her up to the public as a sexy single girl, the studio didn't take kindly to her impulsive marriage to army husband Owen Ward and supposedly punished her by relegating her to "B" films. Two children later, Brenda appeared to have lost interest in her career, but was coaxed back to the film set when brunette 'Maureen O'Sullivan' left the Tarzan series and Johnny Weissmuller approved the athletic beauty as his new blonde swinging mate. Beginning a four-year excursion with the film "Tarzan and the Amazons" (1945), Brenda continued on as Jane after Weissmuller left (actor Lex Barker took over), but finally decided enough was enough. Besieged by personal problems, including a painful divorce, Brenda left after her fifth movie, "Tarzan's Magic Fountain" (1949), and completely abandoned her career. She retired from acting in 1949. Brenda Joyce died of pneumonia on July 4, 2009 at age 92 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California.

Brenda%20Joyce6.jpg Brenda Joyce

She worked for a decade in Washington for the Department of Immigration and appeared in two episodes of the PBS children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in 1971 before retiring for good.

After her divorce from Owen Ward, she remained in the family home in California with her three children.

Colleagues at the Department of Immigration had no idea that she had once been Brenda Joyce and Tarzan's mate, as she decided not to tell. She also concealed her past from staff at the nursing home in Santa Monica where she spent her last years although she did agree to a visit from the actor Johnny Sheffield, who played her adopted son "Boy" in the Tarzan series.


Nickname: Graftina

Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Once certified as having the longest hair in Hollywood - 39 inches - outranking Katharine Hepburn and Veronica Lake.

Brenda was married three times. Her first husband, Owen Ward, was the father of her three children. The marriage lasted 19 years. Her second (to a naval officer named Bemis) and third (to a one-time Beverly Hills business manager of Elizabeth Taylor and Ginger Rogers named Howard Mager) were much shorter and also ended in divorce.

ChampionSparkPlugs-October1945.jpg Champion Spark Plugs Ad - October 1945

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