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This Day in WWII 26 July 1940 - 1945


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OldsmobileAd2-July1942.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - July 1942

1940: Secretary-General of League of Nations, Joseph Avenol, resigns.

1941: Three Soviet armies are encircled and destroyed in the Mogilev area.

1941: 3,800 Jews killed during a pogrom by Lithuanians in Kovno.

Jean%20Simmons1.jpg *Jean Simmons

1941: Italian motorboats attack Valetta harbour in Malta. All eight boats are sunk.

1941: General Sir Claude Auchinleck flies to London for talks about future offensive operations to relieve Tobruk.

1941: By Presidential order, all Japanese assets in the US are frozen, and all shipments of metal and petroleum are stopped.

Jean%20Simmons2.jpg Jean Simmons

1941: British notice of denunciation of commercial agreements with Japan.

1941: AVG in China under Chennault with 100 planes. (WATCH US NEWSREEL)

1941: Proposal made for a neutral Indochina.

1941: New Philippine command under MacArthur.

Jean%20Simmons3.jpg Jean Simmons

1942: An Australian attack at Alamein fails and the Eighth Army goes over to the defensive after taking 7,000 Axis prisoners. This concludes the first battle of El Alamein.

1942: Army Group A begins its advance from Rostov and the lower Don toward the Caucasus region.

OldsmobileAd-July1943.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - July 1943

1943: Marshal Badoglio is appointed head of Italy by the Italian King after the arrest of Benito Mussolini. The Marshal immediately excludes all Fascists from his new cabinet and dissolves the Fascist Party.

1943: A number of Waffen SS divisions are ordered to be transferred from Russia to Italy, but only the 1st SS Panzer Division is actually redeployed.

Jean%20Simmons4.jpg Jean Simmons

1944: Narva is finally captured by the Red Army. The Russians reach the Estonian border.

1944: President Roosevelt arrives in Hawaii for a conference on Pacific strategy with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz. FDR authorizes MacArthur's plan to liberate the Philippines instead of bypassing them, as desired by the Navy and Nimitz.

Jean%20Simmons5.jpg Jean Simmons

1945: Components of the Atomic Bomb "Little Boy" are unloaded at Tinian Island in the South Pacific.

1945: Winston Churchill resigned as Britain's prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labor Party. Clement Attlee became the new prime minister.

Jean%20Simmons6.jpg Jean Simmons

*Jean Merilyn Simmons was born on January 31, 1929 in Lower Holloway, London, England, to Charles Simmons and his wife Winifred (Loveland) Simmons; Jean was the youngest of four children; her siblings were Edna, Harold and Lorna. Simmons began acting at the age of 14. During World War II, the Simmons family was evacuated to Winscombe in Somerset. Her father, a physical education teacher (who had represented Great Britain in the 1912 Summer Olympics), taught briefly at Sidcot School, and sometime during this period Simmons followed her elder sister on to the village stage and sang songs such as "Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow Wow". Returning to London and just enrolled at the Aida Foster School of Dance, she was spotted by the director Val Guest, who cast her in the Margaret Lockwood vehicle "Give us the Moon" (1944). She went on to make a name for herself in such major British productions as "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945), "Black Narcissus" (1947) (as a sultry native beauty), Hamlet (1948) (playing Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's great Dane and earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), "The Blue Lagoon" (1949) and "So Long at the Fair" (1950), among others.

In 1950 she married actor Stewart Granger and that same year starred in the Frank Sinatra/Marlon Brando musical "Guys and Dolls" (1955/I); she used her own singing voice and earned her first Golden Globe Award. Simmons divorced Granger in 1960 and almost immediately married writer-director Richard Brooks, who cast her as Sister Sharon opposite Burt Lancaster in "Elmer Gantry" (1960), a memorable adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel. That same year she costarred with Kirk Douglas in Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" (1960) and played a would-be homewrecker opposite Cary Grant in "The Grass Is Greener" (1960).

Off the screen for a few years, she captivated moviegoers with a brilliant performance as the mother in "All the Way Home" (1963), a literate, tasteful adaptation of James Agee's "A Death in the Family." After that, however, she found quality projects somewhat harder to come by, and took work in "Life at the Top" (1965), "Mister Buddwing" (1966), "Divorce American Style" (1967), "Rough Night in Jericho" (1967), "The Happy Ending" (1969) (a Richard Brooks film for which she was again Oscar-nominated, this time as Best Actress).

Jean continued making films well into the 1970s. In the 1980s she mainly appeared in TV mini-series, such as "North and South" (1985) and "The Thorn Birds" (1983). Jean made a comeback to films in 1995 in "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) co-starring Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft, and most recently played the elderly Sophie in the English version of Hayao Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004). Here final appearance was in the film "Shadows in the Sun" (2009), a British independent movie in which she plays a strong, poetry-loving, terminally ill widow hanging on to her country home on the Norfolk coast in the 1960s.

Jean died from lung cancer at home on January 22, 2010, nine days before her 81st birthday.

OldsmobileAd-July1944.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - July 1944

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