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This Day in WWII 5 August 1940 - 1944


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WestinghouseAd-August1944.jpgWestinghouse Ad - August 1944


1940: U.S. and Vichy France reach Green-Slade-Robert Agreement, an understanding on the status of French warships and aircraft in the French West Indies.


1940: Montreal mayor Camillien Houde is arrested, and charged under the Defence of Canada Regulations. He is imprisoned at Camp Petawawa in Ontario until the end of the war.


Lupe%20Velez1.jpg *Lupe Vélez


1940: Anglo-Polish military agreement signed. Churchill and de Gaulle agree over organization of free French forces. German government announces that in future all citizens will need an Ahnenpass (Certificate of Ancestry) proving their racial purity back to 1800.


1940: The Italian air force raids Berbera, Aden, Burao and Zeila. Italian troops In Italian Somaliland then occupy Zeila, thereby sealing the border between French and British Somaliland and opening up the coastal track to Berbera.


Lupe%20Velez2.jpg Lupe Vélez


1941: British and Soviet troops invade Iran from south and north to forestall any German incursions in the wake of the failed coup by anti-British elements in Iraq that was supported by German special forces flown in from Greece.


1941: Vichy limits wine consumption to two litres per person per week.


Lupe%20Velez3.jpg Lupe Vélez


1941: 20 Soviet divisions encircled at Uman, in the Ukraine. German troops conclude the battle of encirclement at Smolensk and take 310,000 Red Army prisoners as the remnants of 16th and 20th Armies surrender.


1941: Romanians begin a 73-day siege of the Black Sea port of Odessa.


MotorolaRadioAd-August1944.jpg Motorola Radio Ad - August 1944


1942: Allied convoy SC-94 is sighted by German U-boat in the Atlantic, when a group of 6 ships with 2 escorts get lost from the convoy due to the fog. One ship is sunk, but two U-boats are driven off.


1942: 1st Panzer Army captures Voroshilovsk, over 200 miles to the south east of Rostov. The 4th Panzer Army moving northeast runs straight into the Soviet 64th and 57th Armies. Stalin creates the new Southwest Front out of a part of the forces assigned to Stalingrad Front.


1942: Churchill visits the Eighth Army at El Alamein and decides to replace Auchinleck.


Lupe%20Velez4.jpg Lupe Vélez


1943: The Russians take Belgorod and now threaten Kharkov.


1943: Germans evacuate Troina in Sicily after a six-day defense. The Eighth Army takes Catania.


1943: US forces capture Munda airfield in New Georgia.


Lupe%20Velez5.jpg Lupe Vélez


1944: The U.S. XV Corps makes 50kms in about 7 hours, crossing the Mayenne river at Mayenne, while further south the river is reached at Laval.


1944: The Polish Home Army goes onto the defensive in Warsaw, as 60 per cent of city now in its control. The 4th Ukrainian Front is inserted in the Russian line in southern Poland and northern Hungary.


Lupe%20Velez6.jpg Lupe Vélez


1944: The British capture Tamu, across the Burmese border.


1944: U.S. Aircraft from two carrier task groups, cruisers and destroyers bombard Japanese installations on Chichi Jima and Haha Jima, Bonin Is.


Lupe%20Velez7.jpg Lupe Vélez


*Lupe Vélez was born María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez on July 18, 1908 in the city of San Luis Potosí in Mexico, the daughter of an army officer and his wife, an opera singer. Her father refused to let her use his last name in theater, so she used her mother's maiden name. Lupe was educated at a convent school in Texas. From an early age, she had a strong temper and an explosive personality. She took dancing lessons and in 1924, made her performing debut at the Teatro Principal in Mexico City. In 1923 she moved to Texas, where she began dancing in vaudeville shows and finding work as a sales assistant. She moved to California, where she met the comedienne Fanny Brice, who promoted her career as a dancer. In 1924 she was first cast in movies by Hal Roach.


Vélez's first feature-length film was The Gaucho (1927) starring Douglas Fairbanks. The next year, she was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, the young starlets deemed to be most promising for movie stardom. Most of her early films cast her in exotic or ethnic roles (Hispanic, Native American, French, Russian, even Asian).


She worked under the direction of notable film directors like Victor Fleming in The Wolf Song (1929) opposite Gary Cooper; D.W Griffith in Lady of the Pavements (1928) and Cecil B. de Mille in The Squaw Man in 1931. By the end of the silent era the sparkling personality of Lupe rivalled that of the Flapper Girl, Clara Bow.


Within a few years Vélez found her niche in comedies, playing beautiful but volatile foils to comedy stars. Her slapstick battle with Laurel and Hardy in Hollywood Party and her dynamic presence opposite Jimmy Durante in Palooka (both 1934) are typically enthusiastic Vélez performances. She was featured in the final Wheeler & Woolsey comedy, High Flyers (1937), doing impersonations of Simone Simon, Dolores del Río, and Shirley Temple.

In 1934, Velez was one of the victims of the "open season" of the "reds" in Hollywood. With Dolores del Río, Ramón Novarro and James Cagney, she was accused of promoting communism in California.


Vélez was now nearing 30 and hadn't yet become a major star. Disappointed, she left Hollywood for Broadway. In New York, she landed a role in "You Never Know", a short-lived Cole Porter musical. After the run of "You Never Know", Vélez looked for film work in other countries. Returning to Hollywood in 1939, she snared the lead in a B comedy for RKO Radio Pictures, "The Girl from Mexico". She established such a rapport with co-star Leon Errol that RKO made a quick sequel, "Mexican Spitfire", which became a very popular series. Vélez perfected her comic character, indulging in broken-English malaprops, troublemaking ideas, and sudden fits of temper bursting into torrents of Spanish invective. She occasionally sang in these films, and often displayed a talent for hectic, visual comedy. Vélez enjoyed making these films and can be seen openly breaking up at Leon Errol's comic ad libs.


The Spitfire films rejuvenated Lupe Vélez's career, and for the next few years she starred in musical and comedy features for RKO, Universal Pictures, and Columbia Pictures in addition to the Spitfire films. In one of her last films, Columbia's "Redhead from Manhattan" (1943), she played a dual role: one in her exaggerated comic dialect, and the other in her actual speaking voice, which was surprisingly fluid and had only traces of a Mexican accent. Lupe Vélez was very popular with Spanish-speaking audiences. In 1943, she returned to Mexico and starred in the movies "La Zandunga" (1938), and an adaptation of Émile Zola's "Nana" (1944), which was well received. Subsequently, she returned to Hollywood.


Emotionally generous, passionate, and high-spirited, Vélez had a number of highly publicized affairs, including a particularly emotionally draining one with Gary Cooper, before marrying Olympic athlete Johnny Weissmuller (of Tarzan fame) in 1933, and later, in 1938, Mexican actor Arturo de Córdova. About her romance with Cooper, Marlene Dietrich said "Gary was totally under the control of Lupe". The marriage with Weissmuller lasted five years; they repeatedly split and finally divorced in 1938.


In the mid-1940s, she had a relationship with the young actor Harald Maresch, and became pregnant with his child. Vélez, following her Catholic upbringing, refused to have an abortion. Unable to face the shame of giving birth to an illegitimate child, she decided to take her own life on December 13, 1944 (aged 36) in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California. Her suicide note read, "To Harald: May God forgive you and forgive me, too; but I prefer to take my life away and our baby's, before I bring him with shame, or killing him. Lupe." She retired to bed after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. According to newspaper accounts, her body was found by her secretary and companion of ten years, Beulah Kinder.


Andy Warhol's underground film, Lupe (1965), starring Edie Sedgwick as Lupe, is loosely based on this fateful night, suggesting that she was found with her head in the toilet due to nausea caused by the overdose. Another report says she tripped and fell head-first into the toilet, knocking herself unconscious and drowning. However, Kinder reports finding Vélez having died peacefully in her bed.


There is skepticism surrounding whether it was simply the shame of bearing an illegitimate child that led Vélez to end her life. Throughout her life she showed signs of extreme emotion, mania and depression. Consequently, it has been suggested that Vélez suffered from bipolar disorder, which, left untreated, ultimately led to her suicide. Rosa Linda Fregoso writes that Vélez was known for her defiance of contemporary moral convention, and it seems unlikely that she could not have reconciled an "illegitimate child.



Measurements: 37-26 1/2-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' (1.52 m)

Nickname: 'The Mexican Spitfire' and 'The Hot Pepper'"


GeneralElectricAd-August1945.jpg General Electric Ad - August 1945

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