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This Day in WWII 19 October 1939 - 1944


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CadillacAd-Oct1942.jpgCadillac Ad - October 1942


1939: Germany officially incorporates western Poland into the Reich.


Betty%20Hutton1.jpg *Betty Hutton


1940: Convoy HX-79 (49 ships), sailing from Halifax in Canada to Britain, is attacked by 5 U-boats between the 19th and 20th October in the North Atlantic. The British lost 12 ships for 75,063 gross tons, while not a single U-boat was lost. The destroyer Venetia sinks after hitting mine in Thames Estuary.


1940: The Australian 7th Division sets sail for the Middle East.


Betty%20Hutton2.jpg Betty Hutton


1941: Army Group Centre finally clears the Vyazma pocket capturing 670,000 Russians, 1,000 tanks and 4,000 guns. Stalin declares state of siege in Moscow and orders its defense to the last.


1941: U.S. freighter "Lehigh" sunk in South Atlantic.


Betty%20Hutton3.jpg Betty Hutton


1942: General Friedrich von Paulus pleads with the Fuhrer and the German High Command for supplies and reinforcements for his army, under seige at Stalingrad. He receives nothing but the order to fight to the last man.


1942: The Japanese submarine I-36 launches a floatplane for a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor. The pilot and crew report on the ships in the harbor, after which the aircraft is lost at sea.


1943: The offensive by the US 5th Army along the Volturno river bogs down due to bad weather and a skillful German defense.


Betty%20Hutton-RoyalCrownColaAd-Oct1943. Royal Crown Cola Ad - October 1943


1944: Field Marshal Model gives up the attempts to relieve Aachen.


1944: The Germans evacuate Belgrade.


1944: Hitler orders the total destruction of Warsaw. The German 4th Army withdraws from the Tilsit area.


Betty%20Hutton4.jpg Betty Hutton


1944: The British capture an important Japanese supply depot at Mohnyin in Burma.


1944: The U.S. Navy announced that black women would be allowed into the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).


Betty%20Hutton5.jpg Betty Hutton

*Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Two years later Betty's father decided that the family way of life wasn't for him, so he left (he committed suicide 16 years later). Having to fend for themselves, Mrs. Thornburg moved the family to Detroit to find work in the numerous auto factories there, but times were hard and she decided to take advantage of Prohibition and opened a small tavern, at the time called a speakeasy. The police were always looking for those types of operation, both big and small, and when they detected one, they swooped in and closed it down. Mrs. Thornburg was no different from the other owners, they simply moved elsewhere. Poverty was a constant companion. In addition to that, Mrs. Thornburg was an alcoholic.

At nine years old Betty began singing publicly for the first time in a school production. Realizing the voice Betty had, her mother took her around Detroit to have her sing to any group that would listen. This was a small way of getting some money for the poor family. When she was 13 Betty got a few singing jobs with local bands in the area. Thinking she was good enough to make the big time, she left for New York two years later to try a professional career. Unfortunately, it didn't work out and Betty headed back to Detroit.

In 1937, Betty was hired by Vincent Lopez who had a popular band that appeared on the local radio. Later, she would return to New York and it was here that her career took off. Betty found herself on Broadway in 1940, and it was only a matter of time before her career took off to bigger heights. The following year she left New York for Hollywood, where she was to find new life in films. She was signed by Paramount Pictures and made her debut, at 21, in "The Fleet's In" (1942), along with Eddie Bracken, William Holden and Dorothy Lamour. Reviews were better than expected, with critics looking favorably upon her work. She had previously appeared in a few musical shorts, which no doubt helped her in her first feature film. She made one more musical in 1942 and two more in 1943.

Betty%20Hutton6.jpg Betty Hutton

In 1944 she tried to break away from musicals and try her hand in a screwball comedy, "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944). She proved - to herself, the public and the critics - that she was marketable outside musicals. In subsequent films Betty was able to show her comedic side as well as her singing. In 1948 she appeared in her first big box-office bomb, "Dream Girl" (1948), which was ripped to shreds by critics, as was Betty's acting, and the movie flopped at the box office. It wasn't long before Betty became unhappy with her career. In truth she had the acting talent, but the parts she got weren't the types to showcase that. Though she did appear in three well received films later, "Red, Hot and Blue" (1949), "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950) and "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952), her career was winding down.

Later, after filming "Somebody Loves Me" (1952), Betty was all but finished. She had married Charles O'Curran that year and he wanted to direct her in an upcoming film. Paramount didn't like the idea and the temper tantrum-prone Betty walked out of her contract and movies. She did concentrate on the relatively new medium of television and the stage, but she never recovered her previous form. Her final film was a minor one, "Spring Reunion" (1957). Her TV series, "The Betty Hutton Show" (1959), didn't fare too well at all.

After the 1967 death of her mother in a house fire and the collapse of her last marriage, Hutton's depression and pill addictions escalated. She divorced her fourth husband, jazz trumpeter Pete Candoli, and declared bankruptcy. Hutton had a nervous breakdown and later attempted suicide after losing her singing voice in 1970. After regaining control of her life through rehab, and the mentorship of a Roman Catholic priest, Father Peter Maguire, Hutton converted to Roman Catholicism and took a job as a cook at a rectory in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She made national headlines when it was revealed she was working in a rectory.

In 1974, a well-publicized "Love-In for Betty Hutton" was held at New York City's Riverboat Restaurant, emceed by comedian Joey Adams, with several old Hollywood pals on hand. The event raised $10,000 (USD) for Hutton and gave her spirits a big boost. Steady work, unfortunately, still eluded her.

Hutton appeared in an interview with Mike Douglas and a brief guest appearance in 1975 on the TV series "Baretta". In 1977, Hutton was featured on "The Phil Donahue Show". Hutton was then happily employed as hostess at a Newport Rhode Island jai alai arena.

She also appeared on "Good Morning America which led to a 1978 televised reunion with her two daughters. Hutton began living in shared home with her divorced daughter and grandchildren in California, but returned to the East Coast for a 3 week return to the stage where she followed Dorothy Loudon as the evil Miss Hannigan in "Annie on Broadway" in 1980. Hutton's rehearsal of the song "Little Girls" was featured on "Good Morning America".

A ninth grade drop-out, Hutton went back to school and earned a Master's Degree in psychology from Salve Regina University. During her time at college, Hutton became friends with Kristin Hersh and attended several early Throwing Muses concerts. Hersh would later write Elizabeth June as a tribute to her friend. Hersh would later document their relationship in further detail in her autobiography, Rat Girl.

Betty%20Hutton7.jpg Betty Hutton

Her last known performance in any medium was on "Jukebox Saturday Night", which aired on PBS in 1983. Hutton stayed in New England and began teaching comedic acting at Boston's Emerson College. She became estranged again from her daughters.

After the death of her ally Father Maguire, Hutton returned to California, moving to Palm Springs in 1999 after decades in New England. Hutton hoped to grow closer with her daughters and grandchildren, as she told Robert Osborne on TCM's "Private Screenings" in April 2000, though her children remained distant. She told Osborne that she understood their hesitancy to accept a now elderly mother. The TCM interview first aired on July 18, 2000. The program was rerun as a memorial on the evening of her death in 2007, and again on July 11, 2008, April 14, 2009 and as recently as January 26, 2010.

Hutton lived in Palm Springs, California until her death caused by complications from colon cancer at 86 years of age. Hutton is buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Betty Hutton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6253 Hollywood Boulevard.


Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)


Pete Candoli (24 December 1960 - 18 June 1967) (divorced) 1 child

Alan Livingston (8 March 1955 - 21 October 1960) (divorced)

Charles O'Curran (18 March 1952 - 21 February 1955) (divorced)

Ted Briskin (3 September 1945 - April 1950) (divorced) 2 children


CadillacAd-Oct1943.jpg Cadillac Ad - October 1943

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