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This Day in WWII 4 February 1941 - 1945

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BellAircraftAd-Feb1943.jpgBell Aircraft Ad - February 1943

 

1941: The Battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sail from the Baltic to the Atlantic, causing absolute havoc to shipping routes and timetables.

 

Anne%20Jeffreys1.jpg *Anne Jeffreys

 

1941: RAF reconnaissance planes report that the Italians are beginning to evacuate Benghazi in a withdrawal towards El Agheila. The 7th Armoured Division is given immediate instructions to advance from Mechili across the desert in order to cut off the Italians escape route.

 

1941: The United Service Organization (U.S.O.) is formed to cater to armed forces and defense industries.

 

Anne%20Jeffreys2.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

1942: The Afrika Korps recaptures Derna. Hahas Pasha forms a new Egyptian Cabinet, becomes the Military Governor and dissolves Parliament the next day.

 

1942: The British refuse to surrender at Singapore, heavy bombardment by Japanese continues for 4 days.

 

MotorolaAd-Feb1944.jpg Motorola Ad - February 1944

 

1943: Red Army troops achieve a landing near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

 

Anne%20Jeffreys3.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

1944: The Germans start their offensive to relieve the Korsun pocket.

 

1944: Chinese advances in Hukawng Valley, continue while the Japanese offensive on Arakan front gains strength in order to push the British back into India.

 

1944: US forces take Kwajalein Island in Marshall's, losing 486 killed and 1,495 wounded, but inflicting 8,386 casualties on the Japanese.

 

Anne%20Jeffreys4.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

1945: The U.S. First Army takes the first of seven Ruhr dams. Belgium is now reported as completely free of German troops.

 

1945: A Summit Conference between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt opens at Yalta in Crimea, to discuss plans for the treatment of postwar Germany, its division into zones of occupation, reparations and the future Polish western border.

 

1945: U.S. troops storm into Manila.

 

Anne%20Jeffreys5.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

*Anne Jeffreys was born Anne Carmichael on January 26, 1923 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Firmly managed by her mother, she trained in voice at a fairly early age and received her first break in the entertainment field after signing with the John Robert Powers agency in New York as a junior model. In the interim, she prepared herself for an operatic career and made her debut in a production of "La Boheme" in 1940. The following year, however, Anne won a role in the musical review "Fun for the Money" that was to be staged in Hollywood. This, in turn, led to her first movie role in the tuneful Rodgers & Hart adaptation of "I Married an Angel" (1942) starring her singing idols Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in their last cinematic pairing.

 

Put under contract respectively by Republic then RKO studios, Anne was utilized as a plucky heroine in a flux of 40s "B" westerns and crimers opposite such stalwarts as Robert Mitchum and Randolph Scott. Also among her roles was the part of Tess Trueheart in the "Dick Tracy" series with Morgan Conway as the steel-jawed hero, and a co-star role opposite Frank Sinatra in the war-era musical "Step Lively" (1944). None of these, however, were able to propel her into the "A" ranks and her film career quickly dissipated by the end of the 40s. In the meantime, Anne continued to prod her vocal skills with symphonic and stage appearances including "Tosca" at the Brooklyn Opera House, Kurt Weill's "Street Scene" and the Broadway musical "My Romance".

 

Anne%20Jeffreys6.jpg Anne Jeffreys

 

Divorced in 1949, Anne met handsome actor Robert Sterling during an extended run (887 performances) of "Kiss Me Kate" on Broadway. She and Sterling married in 1951 and had three sons. In an attempt to revive their flagging careers, the singing couple toured nighteries and hotels in the early 1950s with a highly successful club act. This led to them being cast as sly, engagingly cavalier spirits in the classic "Topper" (1953) sitcom. Anne played Marion Kirby ("the ghostess with the mostest") alongside Sterling's dapper husband George. Successfully, undertaking the ectoplasmic roles originated on film by Constance Bennett and Cary Grant, the two were an absolute hit as the party-hearty ghosts who reclaim their home to the dismay of current owner Leo G. Carroll.

 

Anne and Robert weren't able to recreate that same kind of magic when they subsequently co-starred in the short-lived series "Love That Jill" (1958). In the 1960s Anne semi-retired to raise her family, but occasionally took on musical leads ("Camelot", "The King and I") both on Broadway and in regional productions. She later returned full time to TV and became known for her chic, gregarious, sometimes double-dealing matrons on soap operas ("Bright Promise" (1969) and "General Hospital" (1972)). She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her supporting work in "The Delphi Bureau" (1972) adventure series, and appeared occasionally as the mother of David Hasselhoff on "Baywatch" (1989). Jeffreys died on September 27, 2017 at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

 

VincoAd-Feb1944.jpg Vinco Ad - February 1944

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