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This Day in WWII 17 October 1939 - 1944


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PackardAd-October1942.jpgPackard Ad - October 1942


1939: French troops are pushed back in the Saar region.


1939: President Roosevelt prepares to sign an executive order closing all U.S. ports to submarines from belligerent nations.


Patricia%20Neal1.jpg *Patricia Neal


1941: Destroyer USS Kearny damaged by German torpedo off Iceland; 11 Americans are killed.


1941: US House of Representatives allow merchantmen to be armed.


Patricia%20Neal2.jpg Patricia Neal


1941: Taganrog on the Sea of Azov is captured by Army Group South.


1941: Kimmel improves naval reconnaissance at Pearl Harbor but not 360-degree nor 24-hour patrols.


PackardAd-October1943.jpg Packard Ad - October 1943


1943: The US and Japan exchange 3,000 civilian prisoners in Goa.


1944: German forces successfully repulse heavy Soviet attacks near Debrecen.


1944: Eichmann returns to Hungary.


Patricia%20Neal3.jpg Patricia Neal


*Neal was born Patsy Louise Neal, in Packard, Whitley County, Kentucky, to William Burdette and Eura Petrey Neal. She grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she attended Knoxville High School, and studied drama at Northwestern University. She was best known for her roles as World War II widow Helen Benson in "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), wealthy matron Emily Eustace Failenson in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), and middle-aged housekeeper Alma Brown in "Hud" (1963), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.


After moving to New York, she accepted her first job as understudy in the Broadway production of "The Voice of the Turtle". Next she appeared in "Another Part of the Forest" (1946), winning a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play, in the first presentation of the Tony awards.


In 1949, Neal made her film debut in "John Loves Mary". Her appearance the same year in "The Fountainhead" coincided with her on-going affair with her married co-star, Gary Cooper. By 1952, Neal had starred in "The Breaking Point", "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Operation Pacific", starring John Wayne. She suffered a nervous breakdown around this time, following the end of her relationship with Cooper, and left Hollywood for New York, returning to Broadway in a revival of "The Children's Hour", in 1952. She also acted in "A Roomful of Roses" in 1955 and as the mother in "The Miracle Worker" in 1959. In films, she starred in "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) and co-starred in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961).


In 1963, Neal won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Hud", co-starring with Paul Newman. When the film was initially released it was predicted she would be a nominee in the supporting actress category, but when she began collecting awards, they were always for Best Leading Actress, from the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review and a BAFTA award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Three years later, in 1965, she was reunited with John Wayne in Otto Preminger's "In Harm's Way" winning her second BAFTA Award.


Patricia%20Neal4.jpg Patricia Neal


Neal was offered the role of Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate" (1967), but turned it down, feeling it came too soon after her three 1965 strokes. She returned to the big screen in "The Subject Was Roses" (1968), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.


She later starred as Olivia Walton in the television movie "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" (1971), which was the pilot episode for The Waltons. Although she won a Golden Globe for her performance, she was not invited to reprise the role in the television series; the part went to Michael Learned. (In a 1999 interview with the Archive of American Television, Waltons creator Earl Hamner said he and producers were unsure if Neal's health would allow her to commit to the grind of a weekly television series.) Neal played a dying widowed mother trying to find a home for her three children in a moving 1975 episode of NBC's "Little House on the Prairie".


In 1978, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville dedicated the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in her honor. The center serves as part of Neal's advocacy for paralysis victims. She appeared in Center advertisements throughout 2006. In 2007, Neal worked on Silvana Vienne's innovative critically-acclaimed art movie "Beyond Baklava: The Fairy Tale Story of Sylvia's Baklava", appearing as herself in the portions of the documentary talking about alternative ways to end violence in the world. Also in 2007, Neal received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. (Academy Award nominee Roy Scheider was the recipient of the other.)


She often appeared on the Tony Awards telecast, possibly because she was the last surviving winner from the first ceremony. Her original Tony was lost, so she was given a replacement by Bill Irwin when they presented the Best Actress Award to Cynthia Nixon in 2006.


Patricia%20Neal5.jpg Patricia Neal


In April 2009, Neal received a lifetime achievement award from WorldFest Houston on the occasion of the debut of her film, Flying By. Neal was a long-term actress with Philip Langner's Theatre at Sea/Sail With the Stars productions with the Theatre Guild. In her final years she would appear in a number of health care videos, including The Healing Influence.


During the filming of "The Fountainhead" (1949), Neal had an affair with her married co-star, Gary Cooper, whom she had met in 1947 when she was 21 and he was 46. By 1950, Cooper's wife, Veronica, had found out about the relationship and sent Neal a telegram demanding they end it. Neal became pregnant by Cooper, but he persuaded her to have an abortion. Shortly after the abortion, Cooper punched Neal in the face after he caught Kirk Douglas trying to seduce her.


The affair ended, but not before Cooper's daughter, Maria (now Maria Cooper Janis, born 1937), spat at Neal in public. Years after Cooper's death, Maria and her mother Veronica reconciled with Neal.


Neal met British writer Roald Dahl at a dinner party hosted by Lillian Hellman in 1951. They married on July 2, 1953, at Trinity Church in New York. The marriage produced five children: Olivia Twenty (April 20, 1955 November 17, 1962); Chantal Tessa Sophia (b. 1957); Theo Matthew (b. 1960); Ophelia Magdalena (b.1964); and Lucy Neal (b. 1965). Her granddaughter Sophie Dahl is a noted actress and model.


Patricia%20Neal6.jpg Patricia Neal


In the early 1960s, the couple suffered through grievous injury to one child and the death of another. On December 5, 1960, their son Theo, four months old, suffered brain damage when his baby carriage was struck by a taxicab in New York City. On November 17, 1962, their daughter, Olivia, died at age 7 from measles encephalitis.


On February 5, 1965, while on location filming "7 Women" (1966), a pregnant Patricia was bathing daughter Tessa at a rented home when she suffered a massive, paralyzing stroke, followed by two more. Baby Lucy was later born on August 4, 1965 healthy but in its aftermath, the actress suffered from partial paralysis, partial blindness, she lost her memory and was unable to speak. Husband Roald Dahl had her undergo extensive therapy back in England, including swimming, walking, memory games and crossword puzzles.


Neal and Dahl's 30-year marriage ended in divorce in 1983 after Dahl's affair with Neal's friend, Felicity Crosland. In 1981, Glenda Jackson played her in a television movie, The Patricia Neal Story which co-starred Dirk Bogarde as Neal's husband Roald Dahl. Neal's autobiography, "As I Am", was published in 1988.


Neal died at her home in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, August 8, 2010, of lung cancer at age 84. She had converted to Catholicism four months before her death and was laid to rest in the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.



Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Her classmates at Northwestern University included Cloris Leachman, Paul Lynde, Charlotte Rae, Charlton Heston, Martha Hyer, and Agnes Nixon.


Personal Quotes

"John Wayne had enormous appeal for the public, but I did not find him appealing in the least. I think my charms were lost on him too. He was going through marital problems, which kept him in a bad humor all the time. Duke was at odds with the director and could be a bully, particularly with a gay publicity man, who seemed to draw his wrath at every turn." - On Operation Pacific (1951) [when she heard Paul Newman died] "Somebody came in and told me that Paul had died, and I was heartbroken, because he was a beautiful man. I knew that he was a little ill, and I knew that he was probably going to die, but you know it's just so heartbreaking when one hears it."


"I've had a lovely time." - Patricia Neal's last words while on her deathbed.


PackardAd-October1944.jpg Packard Ad - October 1944

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