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This Day in WWII 29 June 1941 - 1944


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BFGoodrichAd-June1942.jpg B.F. Goodrich Ad - June 1942

1941: Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of Supply in Cabinet reshuffle.

1941: Goering is named Hitler's successor.

1941: Russian defense Committee is formed with Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Malenkov and Beria.

LaraineDay1.jpg *Laraine Day

1941: The German 20th Mountain Army launches Operation 'Silver Fox', an offensive to capture the Soviet port of Murmansk, while the Finnish Karelian Army activates its offensive towards Leningrad.

1941: Local Finnish forces attack along the border in southern Finland.

LaraineDay2.jpg Laraine Day

1941: Romanian troops conduct a pogrom against Jews in the town of Jassy, killing 10,000.

1941: Germany demands that Japan launches an attack against Russia. The Japanese consider this, but in the end only agree to strengthen their forces in this area.

Goodyear-June1943.jpg Goodyear Ad - June 1943

1942: The drive on the Caucasus roars on as German columns kick up dust clouds that can be seen 40 miles away and leave behind burning villages and town. "It is the formation of the Roman Legions, now brought up to date in the 20th century to tame the Mongol-Slav horde," exults German propaganda. In Sevastopol, German troops attack from their bridgehead, while more forces blast in across the Fedyukhin Heights, forcing the Russians back.

LaraineDay3.jpg Laraine Day

1942: Rommel takes Mersa Matruh after heavy fighting and captures 6,000 prisoners along with large quantities of supplies. British disarray increases as German advance units mix with British rear units which are retreating as fast as possible for the relative safety of the El Alamein defensive position. Mussolini arrives at Derna in Libya to prepare for the triumphal entry into Cairo. Alexandria is bombed.

1942: Two ships leave the port of Shanghai carrying more than four hundred North and South American Diplomats and their dependents. The passengers are to exchanged for and equal number of Japanese nationals being held in the Western Hemisphere.

1943: US Marines land on Nassau beach near Lae in New Guinea during Operation 'Cartwheel'.

LaraineDay4.jpg Laraine Day

1944: The RAF carries out a saturation raid (250 Lancasters) against the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions at Villers-Bocage near Caen.

1944: The US VII Corps captures the last harbor fort at Cherbourg, but the port rendered completely useless for three weeks.

1944: 70,000 troops of Army Group Centre that are encircled near Bobruisk surrender to the Red Army. The Russians report that 16,000 Germans have been killed and 18,000 captured near Minsk.

LaraineDay5.jpg Laraine Day

**Born La Raine Johnson on October 13, 1920 in Roosevelt, Utah, she was a descendant of a prominent Mormon pioneer leader, and moved with her family from Utah to California, where she began her acting career with the Long Beach Players.

In 1937 she debuted onscreen in a bit part in the film "Stella Dallas"; shortly afterwards she won lead roles in several George O'Brien westerns at RKO, in which she was billed as "Laraine Hays" and then Laraine Johnson.

In 1939 she signed with MGM, going on to become popular and well-known (billed as Laraine Day) as "Nurse Mary Lamont", the title character's fiancee in a string of seven "Dr. Kildare" movies beginning with "Calling Dr. Kildare" (1939), with Lew Ayres in the title role.

Never a major star, Ms. Day was relegated to what she called "B+ movies" at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1939 to 1945. She was almost the victim of an ax murderer in "Fingers at the Window" (1942), was married to a traitor in "A Yank on the Burma Road" (1942) and served as the intrepid newspaper publisher Edward G. Robinson's girl Friday in "Unholy Partners" (1941).

Ms. Day captured roles in A movies only when she was loaned to other studios. In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock borrowed her to star with Joel McCrea in the spy thriller "Foreign Correspondent." RKO had her play the virtuous society girl who reforms a draft-dodging, gambling ship owner (Cary Grant) in "Mr. Lucky" (1943). And Paramount borrowed her at the request of the director Cecil B. DeMille to play the steadfast nurse at the side of Gary Cooper's heroic doctor in "The Story of Dr. Wassell" (1944), based on the rescue of a dozen wounded American sailors during the first days of World War II. She was paired opposite major film stars, including Lana Turner, Cary Grant, and John Wayne, and hosted a TV show alternately called "Daydreaming with Laraine" or "The Laraine Day Show" (1951).

LaraineDay6.jpg Laraine Day

She was married to Ray Hendricks from 1942 to 1947, then to the baseball manager Leo Durocher from 1947 to 1960, while she would sometimes be referred to as "the first lady of baseball". While Durocher was managing the New York Giants, Day wrote a book with the punning title "Day With the Giants" (1952).

Shortly after her divorce from Durocher, Day married television producer Michael Grilikhes in 1960. She and Grilikhes had two daughters, Dana (b. 1962) and Gigi (b. 1964). After their births, Day rarely appeared in films, and only occasionally appeared on TV, portraying matronly types. Day was devoted to the raising of her two daughters, and largely retired from film and television to spend time with her family and be active in her church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

Laraine Day died of natural causes on November 10, 2007 in Ivins, Utah, aged 87, at the home of her daughter, Gigi Bell, and her granddaughter, Giselle Bell according to her publicist, Dale Olson. Day had moved back to her native Utah in March 2007 following the death of her third husband.


Height: 5' 5" (165 cm)

Personal Quotes:

"I recall playing practical jokes with John Wayne. I once got a whole bunch of keys and had little tags made that said, "If lost, please return to John Wayne, RKO Studios. Reward." And I just dropped them all over town. [He got a lot of] phone calls, people showing up at the studio. He never learned who did it."

OfficeofWarInformation-June1944.jpg Office of War Information Ad - June 1944

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