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This Day in WWII 16 February 1940 - 1945


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UnitedStatesSteelAd-Feb1943.jpg United States Steel Ad - February 1943

1940: The British destroyer Cossack, enters a Norwegian fjord, captures the German freighter Altmark, former supply ship of the Graf Spee and frees 300 British merchant seamen who were captured from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic.

1942: Dönitz orders all available U-boats in the Atlantic to attack British and American shipping off the US eastern seaboard. German U-boats, with their deck guns, bombard oil storage facilities and refineries on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao in the southern Caribbean.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo1.jpg *Yvonne DeCarlo

1942: The Australian Prime Minister Curtin, calls the surrender of Singapore 'Australia's Dunkirk'.

1942: Tojo outlines Japan's war aims to the Diet, referring to "new order of coexistence" in East Asia.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo2.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

1943: Dr. Mildred Harnack-Fish, a member of the German resistance sentenced to death by the German government, is beheaded at Berlin's Plotzensee Prison.

1943: Norwegian SOE Commandos are parachuted into the mountains 40 miles north of the the German 'heavy water' plant at Telemark. They met up with the reconnaissance party, that had arrived the previous October.

1943: The Russians take Kharkov and Voroshilovo after nine days of heavy street fighting.

CadillacAd-Feb1944.jpg Cadillac Ad - February 1944

1944: The British Air Minister says that bomber losses for 1943 were, 2,369 U.K. and 997 U.S. planes down.

1944: Kesselring launches seven divisions in a second major attack against the US 5th Army's bridgehead at Anzio.

1944: The U.S. Navy pounds the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline's.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo3.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

1945: The remaining Korps of the 11th SS Army begin their attacks in support of 'Operation Sonnenwende'.

1945: U.S. forces begin the intensive bombardment of Iwo Jima, 600 miles South of Japan.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo4.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

1945: A USN Task Force reports pounding targets around Tokyo.

1945: U.S. paratroops land on Corregidor Island, a Japanese stronghold in Manila Bay.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo5.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

*Yvonne De Carlo was born Peggy Yvonne Middleton on September 1, 1922, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (while some sources have her first name as Margaret, most agree it is Peggy). She was three when her father abandoned the family. Her mother turned to waitressing in a restaurant to make ends meet--a rough beginning for an actress who would, one day, be one of Hollywood's elite. Yvonne's mother wanted her to be in the entertainment field and enrolled her in a local dance school and also saw that she studied dramatics. Yvonne was not shy in the least. She was somewhat akin to Colleen Moore who, like herself, entertained the neighborhood with impromptu productions. In 1937, when Yvonne was 15, her mother took her to Hollywood to try for fame and fortune, but nothing came of it and they returned to Canada. They came back to Hollywood in 1940, where Yvonne would dance in chorus lines at night while she checked in at the studios by day in search of film work. After appearing in unbilled parts in three short films, she finally got a part in a feature. Although the film, Harvard, Here I Come! (1941), was quite lame, Yvonne shone in her brief appearance as a bathing beauty.

In December 1941, the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor signaled America's entrance into World War II. During this period she engaged in morale boosting performances for U.S. servicemen. De Carlo was a favorite leading lady in the 1940s, and a recipient of many letters from GI's.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo6.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

The rest of 1942 and 1943 saw her in more uncredited roles in films that didn't quite set Hollywood on fire. In "The Deerslayer" (1943) she played Wah-Tah. The role didn't amount to much, but it was much better than the ones she had been handed previously. The next year was about the same as the previous two years. She played small parts as either secretaries, someone's girlfriend, native girls or office clerks. Most aspiring young actresses would have given up and gone home in defeat, but not Yvonne. She trudged on. The next year started out the same, with mostly bit parts, but later that year she landed the title role in "Salome Where She Danced" (1945) for Universal Pictures. While critics were less than thrilled with the film, it was at long last her big break, and the film was a success for Universal. Now she was rolling. Her next film was the western comedy "Frontier Gal" (1945) as Lorena Dumont. After a year off the screen in 1946, she returned in 1947 as Cara de Talavera in "Song of Scheherazade" (1947), and many agreed that the only thing worth watching in the film was Yvonne. Her next film was the highly regarded Burt Lancaster prison film "Brute Force" (1947). Time after time, Yvonne continued to pick up leading roles, in such pictures as "Slave Girl" (1947), "Black Bart" (1948), "Casbah" (1948) and "River Lady" (1948). She had a meaty role in "Criss Cross" (1949), a gangster movie, as the ex-wife of a hoodlum. At the start of the 1950s Yvonne enjoyed continued success in lead roles. Her talents were again showcased in movies such as "The Desert Hawk" (1950), "Silver City" (1951) and "Scarlet Angel" (1952). Her last film in 1952 was "Hurricane Smith" (1952), a picture most fans and critics agree is best forgotten. In 1956 she appeared in the film that would immortalize her best, "The Ten Commandments" (1956). She played Sephora, the wife of Moses (Charlton Heston). The film was, unquestionably, a super smash, and is still shown on television today. Her performance served as a springboard to another fine role, this time as Amantha Starr in "Band of Angels" (1957). In the late 1950s and early 1960s Yvonne appeared on such TV programs as "Bonanza" (1959) and "The Virginian" (1962). However, with film roles drying up, she took what turned out to be the role for which she will be best remembered--that of Lily Munster in the smash series "The Munsters" (1964). She still wasn't completely through with the big screen, however. Appearances in such films as "McLintock!" (1963), "The Power" (1968), "The Seven Minutes" (1971) and "La casa de las sombras" (1976) kept her before the eyes of the moviegoing public.

Yvonne%20DeCarlo7.jpg Yvonne DeCarlo

She was married to the stuntman Robert Morgan, whom she met on the set of Shotgun, from November 21, 1955 to June 1974, when they divorced. They had two sons, Bruce and Michael. Morgan also had a daughter, Bari, from a previous marriage. De Carlo was a naturalized citizen of the United States. In her autobiography, published in 1987, she listed 22 intimate friends, including Aly Khan, Billy Wilder, Burt Lancaster, Howard Hughes, Robert Stack and Robert Taylor.

She received a phone call from Phoenix, Arizona that Morgan had been run over by a train while doing stunt work on "How the West Was Won" (1962). A distraught De Carlo quickly went to the hospital to be by her husband's side. Ultimately, Morgan's left leg was amputated. However, his contract with MGM assumed no responsibility for the accident. De Carlo and Morgan filed a $1.4 million lawsuit against the studio, claiming her husband was permanently disabled.

Her mother died in 1993 from a fall. Her son Michael died in 1997; causes were unknown, although a Santa Barbara Police report contains concerns about possible foul play. De Carlo had a stroke the following year, but soon recovered.

De Carlo moved to the Black Lake Retirement Community, near Solvang, California. In declining health, she then became a resident of the Motion Picture & Television Hospital, in Woodland Hills, California, where she spent her last years. Her son Bruce was her key caregiver during her last days. There, on January 8, 2007, she died of natural causes.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 34C-23-35 (1940s), 36C-24-36 (measured in 1951) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Spouse:

Bob Morgan (21 November 1955 - 1968) (divorced) 2 children

Took the part of Lily on "The Munsters" (1964) to help pay husband Bob Morgan's medical bills. Morgan, an actor/stuntman, had suffered near-fatal injuries while filming "How the West Was Won" (1962). By her own admission, Ms. De Carlo never imagined, at the time, that Lily Munster would become her most famous role.

CadillacAd-Feb1945.jpg Cadillac Ad - February 1945

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