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This Day in WWII 2 November 1939 - 1944


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NashKelvinatorAd-Nov1942.jpgNash - Kelvinator Ad - November 1942



1939: The first transport of Polish women arrives at Ravensbruck concentration camp.


Anita%20Ekberg1.jpg*Anita Ekberg


1942: Bitter street fighting continues in Stalingrad with neither side making much progress. Kleist's final Caucasus advance ends as the 13th Panzer Division of III Panzer Corps approaches the outskirts of Ordshonikidse, the southeastern-most point in Russia to be reached by the Wehrmacht.

1942: Operation 'Supercharge', the breakout at El Alamein gets under way. Rommel has only 32 Panzer's left intact.


Anita%20Ekberg2.jpgAnita Ekberg


1942: Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrives in Gibraltar to set up an American command post for the invasion of North Africa.

1942: The Australians recapture Kokoda in New Guinea.


WesternCartidgeAd-Nov1943.jpgWestern Cartridge Ad - November 1943


1943: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay in Bougainville ends in U.S. Navy victory over Japan.

1944: The Canadians take Zeebrugge, the last corner of occupied Belgium, on Channel coast. The Canadian 2nd Division withdraws from a 700yd deep bridgehead in Walcheren. All eligible Germans are ordered to enroll in Volksturm on pain of court-martial.

1944: The United States 28th Division is ordered to clear the Germans out of the Hurtgen Forest and is nearly destroyed in the attempt.


Anita%20Ekberg3.jpgAnita Ekberg


1944: German forces manage to stop the Russians at Kraisevo, enabling the Second Panzer Army to establish a firm line west of Belgrade.

1944: The Red Army enters the southeastern suburbs of Budapest.


Anita%20Ekberg4.jpgAnita Ekberg


*Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born September 29, 1931 in Malmö, Skåne län, Sweden, the eldest girl and the sixth of eight children. In her teens, she worked as a fashion model. In 1950, Ekberg entered the Miss Malmö competition at her mother's urging, leading to the Miss Sweden contest, which she won. She consequently went to the United States to compete for the Miss Universe title, despite not speaking English.

Although she did not win Miss Universe, as one of six finalists she did earn a starlet's contract with Universal Studios, as was the rule at the time. In America, Ekberg met Howard Hughes, who at the time was producing films and wanted her to change her nose, teeth and name (Hughes said "Ekberg" was too difficult to pronounce). She refused to change her name, saying that if she became famous, people would learn to pronounce it, and if she didn't become famous, it would not matter.

As a starlet at Universal, Ekberg received lessons in drama, elocution, dancing, horse-riding and fencing. Ekberg skipped many of the lessons, restricting herself to horse riding in the Hollywood Hills. Ekberg later admitted that she was spoiled by the studio system, and that she played instead of pursuing bigger film roles.


Anita%20Ekberg5.jpgAnita Ekberg


The combination of a colorful private life and physique gave her appeal to gossip magazines such as Confidential and to the new type of men's magazine that proliferated in the 1950s. She soon became a major 1950s pin-up. In addition, Ekberg participated in publicity stunts. Famously, she admitted that an incident where her dress burst open in the lobby of London's Berkeley Hotel was pre-arranged with a photographer.

By the mid-50s, other studios offered Ekberg work. Paramount Pictures and Frank Tashlin cast her in "Hollywood or Bust" (1956) and "Artists and Models" (1955) both starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Both films used her as a foil for many of the director's sight gags. Ekberg also played an Amazonian extraterrestrial in 1953's "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars".

Bob Hope joked that her parents had received the Nobel Prize for architecture as she was touring with him and William Holden to entertain U.S. troops in 1954. The tour led her to a contract with John Wayne's Batjac Productions. Wayne cast her in "Blood Alley", a small role (1955), where Ekberg's features and appearance were Orientalized to play a Chinese woman, a role that earned her a Golden Globe award.

RKO gave Ekberg the female lead in "Back from Eternity".

In 1956, Ekberg went to Rome to make "War and Peace", directed by distinguished Hollywood veteran King Vidor and co-starring Audrey Hepburn.


Anita%20Ekberg6.jpgAnita Ekberg



Federico Fellini gave Ekberg her greatest role in "La Dolce Vita" (1960), in which she played the unattainable "dream woman" opposite Marcello Mastroianni; then "Boccaccio '70" in 1960, a movie that also featured Sophia Loren. Fellini would call her back for two other films: "I clowns" (1972), and "Intervista" (1987), where she played herself in a reunion scene with Mastroianni.

La Dolce Vita was a sensational success, and Anita Ekberg's uninhibited cavorting in Rome's Trevi Fountain remains one of the most celebrated images in film history.

Ekberg was married to the British actor Anthony Steel from 1956 to 1959. From 1963 to 1975, she was married to the actor Rik Van Nutter. In an interview she said she wished she had a child, stating the opposite on another occasion.

Ekberg was romantically linked to Tyrone Power, Marcello Mastroianni, Errol Flynn, Yul Brynner, Frank Sinatra and Gary Cooper; she also had a three-year affair with Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli. In his autobiography "Pieces of My Heart," actor Robert Wagner claims to have had an enjoyable one-night stand with Ekberg.

Ekberg keeps in close contact with her grand-nephew Benedikt Ekberg, who currently attends Occidental College in Los Angeles, California.

Ekberg has not lived in Sweden since the early 1950s and rarely visits the country. She has welcomed Swedish journalists in her house outside Rome, and in 2005 appeared in the popular radio program Sommar, talking about her life. She stated in an interview that she will not move back to Sweden before she dies, when she will be buried there. Ekberg has said that the Swedish people and media have not appreciated her sufficiently; nevertheless, her personal and radio appearances have been popular in Sweden.


Anita Ekberg died on January 11th, 2015 following a series of illnesses.


Anita%20Ekberg7.jpgAnita Ekberg



Measurements: 39 1/2-22-36 (as Miss Sweden 1950), 42-27-38 (posing for glamour photos in 1982 at age 50). (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

Height: 5' 6 1/2" (1.69 m)

Nickname: The Iceberg


NashKelvinatorAd-Nov1944.jpgNash - Kelvinator Ad - November 1944


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