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This Day in WWII 14 July 1940 - 1945


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UnitedStatesRubberCompany-July1945.jpgUnited States Rubber Company - July 1945


1940: Bastille Day in France declared 'day of meditation', de Gaulle and Free French lay wreaths at Cenotaph in London. Churchill broadcasts that Hitler must recast his invasion plans.


1940: British commandos launch a raid against Guernsey in the Channel Islands, with negligible results.


Donna%20Reed1.jpg *Donna Reed


1940: A force of German bombers attacks Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.


1941: Believing the campaign in the East soon to be concluded in Germany's favor, Hitler orders the German war industry to shift production away from guns and armored vehicles to U-boats and planes.


Donna%20Reed2.jpg Donna Reed


1941: Army Group North is now only 80 miles from Leningrad.


1941: An armistice is signed at Acre between Vichy and British/Free French forces. This requires all French material to be handed over to the British and gives the Vichy French the choice of joining the Free French or returning to France. Most opt for the latter. During the campaign the Vichy French suffered 3,350 killed or wounded, while the British and Free French lost about 2,400 men.


UnitedStatesRubberCompany2-July1945.jpg United States Rubber Company - July 1945


1942: A program in occupied France begins. In 3 days 15,000-18,000 Jews are arrested and sent to concentration camps. Beginning of deportation of Dutch Jews to Auschwitz.


1942: Final losses for PQ17 are 24 out of 35 ships sunk.


Donna%20Reed3.jpg Donna Reed


1942: The advance by Army Group A towards Rostov continues against minimal Soviet resistance.


1942: A British attack against axis positions to the South of El Alamein is repulsed.


Donna%20Reed4.jpg Donna Reed


1943: RAF Coastal Command begins daily patrols over the Bay of Biscay with aircraft equipped with new detection devices to locate and destroy German U-boats leaving and entering their bases on the French coast.


1943: Joining in the counter-offensive by the Central, Bryansk and Western Fronts, the Soviet Voronezh Front launches attacks against the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf in the southern sector of the Kursk salient.


Donna%20Reed5.jpg Donna Reed


1943: British and German paratroops fight for key Primosole bridge in Sicily.


1944: Hitler leaves Berchtesgaden for the last time.


1944: A new Russian offensive begins in the northern Ukraine opens with massive support from the Red Air Force and gains up to 10 miles and recaptures Pinsk.


Donna%20Reed6.jpg Donna Reed


1945: The first Bastille Day for five years is celebrated enthusiastically by the French.


1945: The U.S. Third Fleet shells Kamaishi, 275 miles north of Tokyo.


Donna%20Reed7.jpg Donna Reed


*Donna Reed was born Donna Belle Mullenger on a farm near Denison, Iowa on January 27, 1921. A small town - a population of less than 3,000 people - Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young girls in western Iowa, except for one thing - Donna was very beautiful. That wasn't to say that others weren't as pretty, it's just that Donna's beauty stood out from all the other local girls, so much so that she won a beauty contest in Denison. Upon graduation from high school Donna left for college in Los Angeles, in the hopes of eventually entering movies. While at Los Angeles City College, she pursued her dream by participating in several college stage productions. In addition to the plays, she also won the title of Campus Queen. At one of those stage plays Donna was spotted by an MGM talent scout and was signed to a contract. Her first film was a minor role in MGM's "The Getaway" (1941). That was followed by a small part in "Babes on Broadway" (1941), with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as a secretary. Afterwards, MGM began giving her better parts, in films such as "The Bugle Sounds" (1942), "The Courtship of Andy Hardy" (1942), "Eyes in the Night" (1942) and "The Man from Down Under" (1943). In 1943, she appeared in "The Human Comedy" with Mickey Rooney. In 1944 she received second billing playing Carol Halliday in "See Here, Private Hargrove" (1944), a comedy about a reporter drafted into the army who eventually meets up with Donna's character as a worker in the canteen. The following year Donna starred in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945), her best role to date. It was a love story set in London in 1890. It got mixed critical reviews but did well at the box-office. That film was followed by roles in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "They Were Expendable", both in 1945. Her "girl-next-door" good looks and warm on-stage personality made her a popular pin-up for many GIs during WWII. She personally answered letters from many GIs serving overseas.


Donna was now one of the leading ladies of Hollywood. In 1946 she starred in what is probably her best-known role, as the wife of James Stewart in the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). This timeless story is a holiday staple to this day. The film also starred Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell. The next year Donna starred as Ann Daniels in Paramount's "Beyond Glory" (1948) with Alan Ladd, which did well at the box-office. Her next role was the strongest she had had yet--"Chicago Deadline" (1949), again with Ladd. It was one of the best mystery dramas to come out of Hollywood in a long time, and did very well at the box office. As the 1940s faded out and the 1950s stormed in, Donna's roles got bigger but were mainly of the wholesome, girl-next-door type. In 1953, however, she starred as the prostitute Alma in the widely acclaimed "From Here to Eternity" (1953). She was so good in that film she was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, beating out such veterans as Thelma Ritter and Marjorie Rambeau. The film itself won for Best Picture and remains a classic to this day. Later that year Donna starred in "The Caddy" (1953), a comedy with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Three years later she landed the role of Sacajawea in "The Far Horizons" (1955), the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, starring Charlton Heston and Fred MacMurray.


Donna%20Reed8.jpg Donna Reed


After finishing "The Whole Truth" (1958), Donna began her own TV series (produced by her husband), "The Donna Reed Show" (1958), a hit that ran for eight years. She was so effective in the show that she was nominated for TV's prestigious Emmy Award as Best Actress every year from 1959-1962. She was far more popular in TV than on the screen. After the run of the program, Donna took some time away from show business before coming back in a couple of made-for-TV movies (in 1974, she had made a feature called "Yellow-Headed Summer" (1974), but it was never released). She did get the role of Ellie Ewing Farlow in the hit TV series "Dallas" (1978) during the 1984-85 season. When Bel Geddes agreed to return to the role for the 1985-86 season, Reed was abruptly fired. She sued the show's production company for breach of contract and later settled out of court for over a million dollars. It was to be her final public performance. Reed died of pancreatic cancer in Beverly Hills, California on January 14, 1986, thirteen days short of her 65th birthday. She had been diagnosed with the terminal illness three months prior. Her husband Grover Asmus, actresses Shelley Fabares and Norma Connolly, and numerous friends, associates, and family members founded the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts. Based in Reed's hometown of Denison, the non-profit organization grants scholarships for performing arts students, runs an annual festival of performing arts workshops, and operates "The Donna Reed Center for the Performing Arts". Donna never forgot her roots. She was still a farm girl at heart.



Measurements: 34B-24-34 (measured in 1954), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)

From 1943 to 1945, Reed was married to make up artist William Tuttle. In 1945, she married producer Tony Owen (1907-1984) with whom she had four children: Penny Jane, Anthony, Timothy, and Mary Anne (the two oldest children were adopted). Reed and Owen divorced in 1971, and three years later, she married retired U. S. Army Colonel Grover W. Asmus (1926-2003).

On January 8, 1945, Donna went to Juarez, Mexico to obtain a divorce from Bill Tuttle. Returning home on the night of January 9, 1945, Donna boarded a plane in El Paso, Texas for a flight back to Los Angeles. Just as the plane was about to take off Donna was bumped from the flight to make room for a military officer. The airliner crashed on approach to Lockheed Air Terminal (now called Bob Hope Airport) in Burbank, California killing everyone on board.

Reed's hometown of Denison, Iowa, hosts the annual Donna Reed Festival. Reed's childhood home was located on Donna Reed Drive in Denison but was destroyed by a fire in 1983.

Reed's Academy Award is on display at W.A. McHenry museum house in Denison, Iowa.

The woman on the cover of Rush's Permanent Waves album is modeled after her.


UnitedStatesRubberCompany3-July1945.jpg United States Rubber Company - July 1945

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