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This Day in WWII 29 September 1938 - 1944


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ChevroletAd-September1943.jpg

Chevrolet Ad - September 1943

 

1938: Hitler and Mussolini sign a treaty creating the Rome-Berlin Axis. Mussolini agrees to let Hitler do what he pleases in Europe, while Hitler agrees to assist Italy if war breaks out.

 

Merry%20Anders1.jpg *Merry Anders

 

1939: Poland formally surrenders, relieving the 35,000 besieged Polish troops who are defending the fortress of Modlin of their obligations thereby enabling them to surrender.

 

1939: Nazis and Soviets divide up Poland. Over two million Jews reside in Nazi controlled areas, leaving 1.3 million in the Soviet area.

 

Merry%20Anders2.jpg Merry Anders

 

1940: A British convoy, under heavy escort, sets sail for Malta from Alexandria. Admiral Cunningham hopes to provoke the Italians into a fleet action. The Italian fleet puts out to sea, only to return to port at Taranto prematurely without seeing action.

 

Merry%20Anders3.jpg Merry Anders

 

1941: Germans troops advance in strength, down in to the Crimea, forcing the Russians to fall back in to Sevastopol.

 

1941: The SS Einsatzgruppen operating in the Ukraine massacres between 50,000 and 96,000 Ukranians (of which 33,771 are Jews), at Babi Yar, a ravine about 30 miles outside of Kiev.

 

DesotoAd-Sept1943.jpg DeSoto Ad - September 1943

 

1942: German pressure in Stalingrad is again stepped up the 6th Army struggles desperately to clear Stalingrad.

 

1943: The allies take Pompeii, between Salerno and Naples.

 

1943: Marshal Badoglio and Eisenhower meet aboard HMS Nelson, where a full armistice signed and also discuss war plans.

 

Merry%20Anders4.jpg Merry Anders

 

1943: Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf is published in the United States.

 

1944: The Canadians take Cape Gris Nez, Southwest of Calais and grant a 24-hour truce for Germans to evacuate civilians.

 

Merry%20Anders5.jpg Merry Anders

 

*Born Mary Anderson in Chicago on May 22, 1932, beautiful Merry Anders aspired to be an actress, even as a child. By the late 1940s, she and her mother made their way to California, where Anders soon began acting and modeling lessons. While appearing in a small play in the early 1950s, Merry Anders was spotted by a 20th Century-Fox talent scout. After a screen test, she was put under contract by 20th Century-Fox in 1951.

Although Anders was under contract to 20th Century-Fox, her film career did not exactly flourish at the studio. During this time, she took several small roles in Fox films, but Fox dropped her contract in 1954. She had more luck on television, where she was featured in two television series: "The Stu Erwin Show" (Anders was a regular during the show's last season in 1954-1955) and "How to Marry a Millionaire" (syndicated 1957-1959). Interestingly, Anders had a small role in the film version of "How to Marry a Millionaire" while under contract at Fox. In 1955, Anders married casting director/producer John G. Stephens; the marriage lasted just a few months, but in the middle of the divorce, Anders learned that she was pregnant. Her daughter was born in 1956.

 

Merry%20Anders6.jpg Merry Anders

 

Without a studio contract, Anders began freelancing at other studios. She used this new found freedom to her advantage, chalking up an amazing eight film releases in 1957 alone. Also, she began making numerous guest appearances on popular TV programs, including "Cheyenne", "Bronco", "Perry Mason", and "The Addams Family".

 

By the mid 1960s, roles began to dry up for Merry Anders. She's signed by Jack Webb to be a semi-regular on the hit show "Dragnet 1967," where Webb insists on her changing from her usual platinum blonde to a less coiffured brunette. Webb starts showing up with her at the many civic engagements she routinely volunteers for in her Mission Hills neighborhood, much to the delight of surprised fans. After Dragnet, and desperate for work, she takes the job of a "glorified extra" in the movie "Airport", while her name does not appear in the credits. After a stint on a few more films, and a few guest shots on other TV programs, she retired from the screen. With her mother ill and bills to pay, she walks into a Los Angeles unemployment office seeking to be retrained to do something other than acting in movies or television. Nobody there believes her at first.

 

Merry%20Anders7.jpg Merry Anders

 

She takes a job as a receptionist at Litton Industries, who allow her to take time off if she gets an acting assignment. She does her last work in front of a camera with a guest shot on a two-part episode of "Gunsmoke." Co-starring with her is newcomer Ellen Burstyn and old friend Jeremy Slate. She also makes her swan song movie appearance in "Legacy of Blood", a film that is filled with other fine Fifties performers who have fallen into neglect by the early Seventies.

 

After remaining single for thirty-one years following her divorce from her first husband, producer John Stephens, she marries a Litton engineer named Richard Benedict. Ironically, she is introduced to Benedict by her former husband.

 

In 1994 she retires from her job as a receptionist at Litton Industries. In her spare time she enjoys doing calligraphy and making pin money on the side by doing small announcements and cards for people. Although she's become a very private person after her acting career, she's recognized from time to time, even being chastised by a total stranger once for being so mean as "Auntie Alice" on the short-lived daytime soap "Never Too Young."

 

Merry Anders (Benedict) died on October 28, 2012 in Encino, California. She was 80.

 

GMAd-Sept1943.jpg General Motors Ad - September 1943

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