Archive for the ‘WW 2 Pin Up Girls’ Category

Yank Pin Up Jean Trent March 30, 1945

Jean Trent information is very scarce. She was from Denver Colorado, but no information when and if she was actually born there. She was in 14 films from 1942 – 1946. All but one uncredited. The most popular films she was in were “Western Mail” (1942) “Saboteur” (1942), “Arabian Nights” (1942), “Salome Where She Danced” (1945).

 

 

 

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped by her father several times until her mother took him to court. Ginger’s mother left her child in the care of her parents while she went in search of a job as a scriptwriter in Hollywood and later to New York City. Mrs. McMath found herself with an income good enough to where she could send for Ginger. Lelee became a Marine in 1918 and was in the publicity department and Ginger went back to her grandparents in Missiouri. During this time her mother met John Rogers. After leaving the Marines they married in May, 1920 in Liberty, Missouri. He was transferred to Dallas and Ginger (who treated him as a father) went too. Ginger won a Charleston contest in 1925 (age 14) and a 4 week contract on the Interstate circuit. She also appeared in vaudeville acts which she did until she was 17 with her mother by her side to guide her. Now she had discovered true acting. She married in March, 1929, and after several months realized she had made a mistake. She acquired an agent and she did several short films. She went to New York where she appeared in the Broadway production of “Top Speed” which debuted Christmas Day, 1929. Her first film was in 1929 in “A Night in a Dormitory” (1930). It was a bit part, but it was a start. Later that year, Ginger appeared, briefly in two more films, “A Day of a Man of Affairs” (1929) and “Campus Sweethearts” (1930). For awhile she did both movies and theatre. The following year she began to get better parts in films such as “Office Blues” (1930) and “The Tip-Off” (1931). But the movie that enamored her to the public was “Gold Diggers of 1933” (1933). She did not have top billing but her beauty and voice was enough to have the public want more. She suggested using a monocle and this also set her apart. One song she popularized in the film was the now famous, “We’re in the Money”. In 1934, she starred with Dick Powell in “Twenty Million Sweethearts” (1934). It was a well received film about the popularity of radio. Ginger’s real stardom occurred when she was teamed with Fred Astaire where they were one of the best cinematic couples ever to hit the silver screen. This is where she achieved real stardom. They were first paired in 1933’s “Flying Down to Rio” (1933) and later in 1935’s “Roberta” (1935) and “Top Hat” (1935). Ginger also appeared in some very good comedies such as “Bachelor Mother” (1939) and “5th Ave Girl” (1939) both in 1939. Also that year she appeared with Astaire in “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle” (1939). The film made money but was not anywhere successful as they had hoped. After that studio executives at RKO wanted Ginger to strike out on her own. She made several dramatic pictures but it was 1940’s “Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman” (1940) that allowed her to shine. Playing a young lady from the wrong side of the tracks, she played the lead role well, so well in fact, that she won an Academy Award for her portrayal. Ginger followed that project with the delightful comedy, “Tom Dick and Harry” (1941) the following year. It’s a story where she has to choose which of three men she wants to marry. Through the rest of the 1940s and early 1950s she continued to make movies but not near the caliber before World War II. After “Oh, Men! Oh, Women!” (1957) in 1957, Ginger didn’t appear on the silver screen for seven years. By 1965, she had appeared for the last time in “Harlow” (1965/II). Afterward, she appeared on Broadway and other stage plays traveling in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. After 1984, she retired and wrote an autobiography in 1991 entitled, “Ginger, My Story” which is a very good book. On April 25, 1995, Ginger died of of congestive heart failure in Rancho Mirage, California. She was 83.

Bettie Page Pin Up Icon

Bettie Page’s life was filled with cult myth, mystery, and sadness. Her image captured the imagination of a generation with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality, during an era of 1950s sexual repression. She was the quintessential pin-up, tacked up on walls in military barracks and garages; five decades later, some feminists still hail her as a pioneer of women’s liberation. It has been estimated that over 20,000 photographs of Bettie were taken, and new generations of fans still buy copies by the thousands.

Page was born Betty Mae Page on April 22, 1923 in Nashville, Tennessee to a part-Cherokee mother, she grew up in a family so poor “we were lucky to get an orange in our Christmas stockings.” The family included three boys and three girls, and Page later said her father molested all of the girls. Her father eventually stole a police car for a cross-country trip. He was sent to prison, and for a time Betty lived in an orphanage. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old.

In her teens Bettie acted in high school plays and was a straight-A student. She graduated from the Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville on a Daughters of the American Revolution scholarship in 1944, and went on to study drama in New York. Her notorious career began one day in October 1950, while on a break from her job as a secretary in a New York office. On a walk along the beach at Coney Island, an amateur photographer admired the 27-year-old’s curvy body and asked her to pose. Nudity didn’t bother her, she said, likening it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Her modeling career took off, and she was the centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine.

In 1951, Bettie fell under the influence of Irving Klaw, a photographer who specialized in S&M. He cut her hair into the dark bangs that became her trademark, and posed her in spiked heels and little else. Bettie began to attain renown as the “Queen of Bondage,” known for her bangs, saucy come-hither looks, and controversial sadomasochistic poses. At the time, most of these photos were sold on a lucrative subscription basis, where the customers made specific requests as to the scenes and layouts. She also appeared as a performer in over 50 burlesque films. The photos and films were publicly denounced as perversion. Klaw was later arrested for “conspiracy to distribute obscene material” though the U.S. Mail, and Bettie was called to testify in a private session. Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, her home state, even launched a congressional investigation against her.

Believing that her days as a pin-up were over, Bettie retreated from public view, later saying she was hounded by federal agents. Her early marriage to her high school sweetheart had ended in divorce; she moved to Florida in 1957 and married a much younger man, but that marriage also failed, as did a third, and she suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1959, she was lying on a sea wall in Key West when she saw a church with a white neon cross on top. She walked inside and became a born-again Christian. After attending Bible school, she wanted to serve as a missionary but was turned down. Instead, she worked full-time for evangelist Billy Graham’s ministry.

A move to Southern California in 1979 brought more troubles. There she had a nervous breakdown and had an altercation with her landlady. The doctors that examined her diagnosed her with acute schizophrenia, and she spent 20 months in a state mental hospital in San Bernardino, California. After a fight with another landlord she was arrested for assault, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed under state supervision for eight years. She was released in 1992 from Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County.

Her mysterious disappearance from the public eye only fueled the public’s fascination. In fact, for two decades no one was sure where she was, or if she was still alive. She resurfaced in the 1990s after being tracked down for a documentary. She occasionally granted interviews and sold autographs, but refused to allow her picture to be taken in her old age. In a 1993 telephone interview, she told a reporter that she was “penniless and infamous.” She later hired a law firm to help her recoup some of the profits being made with her likeness. She spent her final years living in Los Angeles with her brother.

According to long-time friend and business agent Mark Roesler, on December 6, 2008, Bettie Page was hospitalized in critical condition. Roesler was quoted by the Associated Press as saying Page had suffered a heart attack and by Los Angeles television station KNBC as claiming Page was suffering from pneumonia. A family friend said Page was in a coma, a claim not denied by Roesler. Her family eventually agreed to discontinue life support, and she died at 18:41 PST on December 11, 2008.

TRIVIA:

Measurements (during her glamour modeling career): 36-24-36 1/2 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

Height: 5′ 5½” (1.66 m)

Became a born-again Christian in the 1960s and served as a Baptist missionary to Angola.

Her favorite drink was Hires Root Beer.

“America’s Mermaid”

Born in Los Angeles, California, on August 8, 1921. Sometimes called “America’s Mermaid,” Esther Williams helped popularize synchronized swimming through a string of hugely popular films in the 1940s and 1950s. The youngest of five children, she suffered a great personal at an early age when her older brother, Stanton, a promising actor, died at the age of sixteen. Soon after his death, Williams found a respite from her sadness by learning to swim. She even got a job at a local swimming pool near her house to earn free swimming time.

As a teenager, Williams was a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team. She won several national swimming competition events in 1939 and hoped to compete at the 1940 Olympic Games. But the Olympics were canceled because of World War II. Disappointed, she took a job at an upscale department store. But she did not stay on land for long. Producer Billy Rose asked to audition for his swimming and diving show called “Aquacade” in San Francisco. She landed the lead role opposite Johnny Weissmuller, best known as Tarzan in the popular Tarzan film series.

After the show ended, Williams returned to Los Angeles and eventually landed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios. Around this time, her brief first marriage to Leonard Kovner ended. She made her film debut in Andy Hardy’s “Double Life” with Mickey Rooney in 1942. Williams made a bigger splash, however, with her first swimming movie, 1944’s “Bathing Beauty” with Red Skelton. To film the elaborate synchronized swimming scenes, a special pool was built with all sorts of cranes and lifts to capture the action on film. It became one of the most popular films of that year. The next year she married singer and actor Ben Gage.

Although not an especially good actress, Williams was a sight to see in the water. She starred in a number of aquatic musicals, including “Thrill of a Romance”, “Neptune’s Daughter”, and “Million Dollar Mermaid”. People around the world flocked to movie theaters to see the graceful Williams work her magic on screen, making her an international superstar. Unfortunately, her life–both professionally and personally–hit a rocky period in the late 1950s. Her marriage to Gage ended in divorce, and she had some misses at the box office.

In the 1960s, Williams had almost completely stepped out of the limelight. At request of her third husband, actor Fernando Lamas, she stopped acting. The couple stayed together until his death in 1982. Instead of performing, Williams focused business interests. After endorsing swimsuits in 1940s and 1950s, she designed her own swimsuit line, the Esther Williams Swimsuit Collection. She also put her name on a line of backyard swimming pools. Both businesses are still thriving today.

Now in her eighties, Williams remains active despite a recent health setback. In 2007, she told Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer during a television interview that she had suffered a stroke, but that did not slow her down for long. In time, she recovered and returned to swimming.

Esther Williams lives in Beverly Hills, California, with fourth husband Edward Bell. She has three children from her second marriage to Ben Gage.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 36-26-36 (as a champion swimmer), 38-27-34 (filming Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5′ 10″ (1.78 m)

Three step-children, from Lamas: Cristina, Alexandra “Alex,” and Lorenzo.

 

Ida was born on February 4, 1914, Camberwell, London, England to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was “Her First Affaire” (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. “Peter Ibbetson” (1935) was one of her few noteworthy movies and it was not until “The Light That Failed” (1939) that she got a chance to get better parts. In most of her movies, she was cast as the hard, but sympathetic woman from the wrong side of the tracks. In “The Sea Wolf” (1941) and “High Sierra” (1941), she played the part magnificently. It has been said that no one could do hard-luck dames the way Lupino could do them. She played tough, knowing characters who held their own against some of the biggest leading men of the day – Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Colman, John Garfield and Edward G. Robinson. She made a handful of films during the forties playing different characters ranging from “Pillow to Post” (1945), where she played a traveling saleswoman to the tough nightclub singer in “The Man I Love” (1947). But good roles for women were hard to get and there were many young actresses and established stars competing for those roles. She left Warner Brothers in 1947 and became a freelance actress. When better roles did not materialize, Ida stepped behind the camera as a director, writer and producer. Her first directing job came when director Elmer Clifton fell ill on a script that she co-wrote “Not Wanted” (1949). Ida had joked that as an actress, she was the poor man’s Bette Davis. Now, she said that as a director, she became the poor man’s Don Siegel. The films that she wrote, or directed, or appeared in during the fifties were mostly inexpensive melodramas. She later turned to Television where she directed episodes in shows such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Have Gun – Will Travel”, “The Donna Reed Show”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “77 Sunset Strip”, “The Investigators”, ‘The Ghost & Mrs. Muir”, “The Rifleman”, “Batman”, “Sam Benedict”, “Bonanza”, “The Untouchables”, “The Fugitive”,” Columbo”, and “Bewitched”. In the seventies, she did guest appearances on various television show and small parts in a few movies.

Ida Lupino died from a stroke while she was undergoing treatments for colon cancer in Los Angeles in August 1995, at the age of 77.

TRIVIA…

Nickname: Little Scout

Height: 5′ 4″

Her daughter was born on April 23, 1952. She only weighed 4 pounds and almost died.

Lupino was married and divorced three times:

* Louis Hayward, actor (November 1938 – May 11, 1945) * Collier Young, producer (1948 – 1951) * Howard Duff, actor (October 1951 – 1984), with whom she had a daughter, Bridget Duff (b. April 23, 1952)

Lina Romay - YANK Pinup Girl - May 18, 1945

Maria Elena “Lina” Romay was a Mexican-American actress and singer. She was born on January 16, 1922 to Porfirio Romay, the attache to the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. She performed for a time with Xavier Cugat.

The Latin-American singer/actress Lina Romay was active in films from 1942 to 1952. She came to Hollywood under contract to Columbia, then worked briefly at MGM and RKO. In 1949, she began a three-year run as featured vocalist on the TV series “Paul Whiteman’s Goodyear Revue”. She can be seen in such stellar movies as “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942) starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth and “Bathing Beauty” (1944) starring Esther Williams and Red Skelton. She attracted the attention of servicemen worldwide as a stunning Latin beauty and appeared in “Yank” Magazine as a pinup girl or cover girl in other publications. She also appeared in several Soundies of the era, no doubt having been selected because of her exceptional singing voice and uncommon good looks. Being of Mexican heritage, and having been born in the USA, Miss Romay could sing equally as well in both English and Spanish and her roles she played were both as Spanish senoritas to non-ethnic Anglo roles.

Lina appeared with Xavier Cugat in the WW2 feature “Stage Door Canteen”, where she can be seen singing and even dancing a bit with Cugat, with the delightful song “A Bombshell From Brooklyn”. Lina reminds some of enchanting Carmen Miranda, especially in her excellence in singing and stage presence as seen in “The Heat’s On” (1943). She is top notch in this picture, as evidenced by her fabulous singing and hand gestures…yes, hand gestures. I don’t know if my fellow fans have noticed, but she is perfectly poised a la Miranda while delivering her songs and perfectly gestures with her hands. It’s very poetic, feminine and artistic, so if you are lucky enough to see this movie, you’ll see what I mean. Several movies later, Lina proves herself a talented actress by appearing in a notable dramatic role in the little gem “Adventure” (1945) with Clark Gable, where she plays Gable’s first love interest in the picture (the “girl in a distant port), but second-fiddle to Greer Garson in the picture which boasted the byline “Gables Back and Garson’s Got Him”. Lina’s performance was very convincing and quite important in the movie. She even gets to sing some wonderful Spanish-language songs. Although it was a minor part in the picture, she was no doubt noticed by her growing legion of fans and moviegoers just discovering her charms and talents. Gable’s really lucky that he gets to play brief love scenes with Lina, who’s simply stunning on the silver screen. Lina nearly steals the show in her next project “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy” (1946), playing Polly Benedict’s perky cousin. She charms everybody with a sexy and spirited song and dance near the opening scenes, as her character enchants the townsfolk including Judge Hardy and his family. However, our hero Andy, seems bored and daydreaming of his girl, even while the stunning Lina does the rumba for him. Her infectious smile and cheery personality truly light up the screen. It’s an important role for Lina which is still pleasing audiences today. Lina Romay’s screen credits should not be confused with those of the same-named actress/director of the 1970s and 1980s.

Lina married Dr. Jay W. Gould III, descendant of the railroad financier, at the Westwood Lutheran Church in a ceremony attended only by members of their families. He’s 33; she’s 34. Gould’s the son of Jay and Anne Gould and was married twice before, in 1944 to Jennifer Beryl Bruce, daughter of actor Nigel Bruce, and in 1948 to socialite Blair Roemer Stevens. He has a 6-year-old boy from his marriage to Bruce. On January 13, 1954, her daughter Anne Elena is born early in St. John’s Hospital in Los Angeles. On June 8 1956, her daughter Gloria D. is born in Los Angeles. And on April 15, 1961 her son, Jay IV, is born in Los Angeles. Her husband, Dr. Jay W. Gould III dies at age 67 in California.

Lina Romay died of natural causes at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California on Dec. 17, 2010. She was 91.

Virginia Grey was born on March 22, 1917 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of actor Ray Grey – he was one of the Keystone Kops – and director for Mack Sennett and appeared on the silent screen with Mabel Normand, Dorothy Gish and Ben Turpin, among others. He died while Virginia was still a child. One of her early babysitters was Gloria Swanson. Grey debuted at the age of ten in the silent film “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1927) as Little Eva. She continued acting for a few more years, but then left movies in order to finish her education.

Grey returned to films in the 1930s with bit parts and extra work, but she eventually signed a contract with MGM and appeared in such movies as “Another Thin Man” (1939), “Hullabaloo” (1940) and “The Big Store” (1941). She played Consuela McNish in “The Hardys Ride High” (1939) with Mickey Rooney, and in 1942 she was in “Tarzan’s New York Adventure” with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan.

She left MGM in 1942, and signed with several different studios over the years, working steadily.

During her participation in WWII bond drives, she developed a close relationship with John Basilone, US Marine Medal of Honor winner, who was later killed on Iwo Jima.

She had an on again/off again relationship with Clark Gable in the 1940s. After his wife Carole Lombard died and he returned from military service, Clark and Virginia were often seen at restaurants and nightclubs together. Many, including Virginia herself, expected him to marry her. The tabloids were all expecting the wedding announcement. It was a great surprise when he hastily married Lady Sylvia Ashley in 1949. Virginia was heartbroken. They divorced in 1952, but much to Virginia’s dismay their brief romance was never rekindled. Her friends say that her hoping and waiting for Clark was the reason she never married.

She was a regular on television in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing on “Playhouse 90”, “General Electric Theater”, “The DuPont Show with June Allyson”, “Your Show of Shows”, “Wagon Train”, “Bonanza”, “Marcus Welby, M.D.”, “Love, American Style”, “Burke’s Law”, “The Virginian”, “Peter Gunn”, “The Red Skelton Show” and many others.

Although never a box office star, Miss Grey was as indomitable as she was versatile, acting in more than 100 films and 40 television shows — musicals, comedies, adventure films, westerns and romantic dramas.

She retired from the screen in the early 1970s and passed away due to heart failure at the Motion Picture and Television Retirement Home on July 31, 2004, at age 87.

Evelyn Ankers – YANK Pinup Girl July 13, 1945

Evelyn Ankers, a beautiful movie actress who was a staple of Universal’s horror films in the 1940s, was born in Valparaiso, Chile to English parents on August 17th, 1918. Her parents repatriated the family back to England in the 1920s, and it was in Old Blighty that Ankers developed a desire to become an actress.

She began appearing in small roles in English movies in the mid 1930s while she was still in school. She appeared in “Fire Over England” (1937) with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh and in “Bells of St. Mary’s” (1937). A beauty with talent, she soon won starring roles in the low-budget “The Villiers Diamond” (1938) and “The Claydon Treasure Mystery” (1938).

With war clouds darkening the skies over Europe, Ankers emigrated to the United States and was signed to a contract by Universal in 1940. She made her Universal debut in the Abbot and Costello comedy-horror picture “Hold That Ghost” (1941) before appearing in the horror film classic “The Wolf Man” (1941) opposite Lon Chaney, Jr. Ankers found herself cast into the horror picture ghetto, appearing in two more Chaney fright films, “The Ghost of Frankenstein” (1942) and “The Frozen Ghost” (1945) during a period in which she was cast ashore with a sarong-less Jon Hall in “The Invisible Man’s Revenge” (1944). She also appeared in support of Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes in “The Voice of Terror” (1942) and “The Pearl of Death” (1944).

Ankers married B-movie hunk Richard Denning in 1942 and made a go articulating the anxieties of the home front while her husband was off to war. Horror flicks were popular during World War II, but after the cessation of hostilities in 1945, they went out of favor with audiences. Ankers’ career, mated to the genre at Universal, suffered.

She quit Universal in 1945 and freelanced at Columbia and Poverty Row’s Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) and Republic Pictures in dramas and mysteries. Evelyn co-starred with her returned husband Richard in the major release “Black Beauty” (1946) for 20th Century Fox. For PRC, she headlined “Queen of Burlesque” (1946) and later co-starred with Lex Barker in “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain” (1949).

As the 1950s dawned, a decade of conformity and family values, Ankers quit the movies for married life and motherhood after making “The Texan Meets Calamity Jane” (1950), in which she was first-billed. She was 32 years old. A decade later, Ankers came out of retirement to make one final screen appearance, in her hubby’s “No Greater Love” (1960).

Evelyn Ankers died of ovarian cancer on August 29, 1985 in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, twelve days after her 67th birthday.

TRIVIA:

Height: 5′ 8″ (1.73 m)

She was called “Queen of the Screamers” on account of her blood-curdling vocal outbursts in “B” suspense thrillers of the ’40s.

Ankers was engaged to actor Glenn Ford, but Ankers broke the engagement when she met Richard Denning while Ford was on location.

Evelyn’s husband, Richard Denning, had a recurring role on Hawaii Five-O as the governor of Hawaii from 1968-80. Sadly, Evelyn never put in appearance as the First Lady of the Aloha State even though she’d been offered the role. She was quite contented with retirement.

Buried at Maui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii next to her husband Richard Denning, who served in the US Navy during WWII and served on a submarine as Yeoman 1st Class in the South Pacific.

Frances Langford was born Julia Frances Newbern Langford on Saturday, April 04, 1914 in Lakeland, Florida, she was the daughter of Vasco Cleveland Langford and his wife, Anna Rhea Newbern. She was an American singer and entertainer who was popular during the Golden Age of Radio and also made film appearances over two decades.

Langford originally trained as an opera singer. While a young girl she required surgery on her throat, and as a result, she was forced to change her vocal style to a more contemporary big band, popular music style. While singing for radio during the early 1930s, she was heard by Rudy Vallee, who invited her to become a regular on his radio show. From 1935 until 1938 she was a regular performer on Dick Powell’s radio show. From 1946 to 1951, she performed with Don Ameche on The Bickersons.

With her film debut in “Every Night at Eight” (1935) she introduced what became her signature song: “I’m in the Mood for Love.” She then began appearing frequently in films such as “Broadway Melody of 1936” (1935), “Born to Dance” (1936) and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942) with James Cagney, in which she performed the popular song “Over There.” In several of these films, such as Broadway Melody, she appeared as herself, as she did in 1953 in “The Glenn Miller Story” where she sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo” with the Modernaires and the movie orchestra.

From 1941, Langford was a regular singer on Bob Hope’s radio show. During World War II, she joined Hope, Jerry Colonna, and other performers on U.S.O. tours through Europe, North Africa, and the South Pacific, entertaining thousands of G.I.’s throughout the world.

In his memoir, “Don’t Shoot! It’s Only Me!”, Bob Hope recalled how Frances Langford got the biggest laugh he had ever heard. At a U.S.O. show in the South Pacific, Langford stood up on a stage to sing before a huge crowd of G.I.’s. When Langford sang the first line of her signature song, “I’m in the Mood for Love,” a soldier in the audience stood up and shouted, “You’ve come to the right place, honey!”

During her travels with Hope, Langford often experienced the hazards of war first hand, taking shelter during bombing raids and dodging aerial attacks. During one of their USO tours, she and Bob Hope were forced to leap out of a jeep to avoid fire from a German fighter plane. They both jumped to safety in a culvert, with Frances landing on top of Bob. Another time they spent the night in the basement of a hotel in Algiers as bombs burst above them. She also survived the crash of the show’s airplane in Australia. Langford once caused an uproar when she violated military rules by hitching a ride in a P-38 fighter plane. The matter was made worse when the plane went into action during its flight.

 

Also, during the war, Langford wrote a weekly column for Hearst Newspapers, entitled “Purple Heart Diary,” in which she described her visits to military hospitals to entertain wounded G.I.’s. She used the weekly column as a means of allowing the recovering troops to voice their complaints, and to ask for public support for making sure that the wounded troops received all the supplies and comforts they needed. During the war while on a stint in Italy, Francis danced with George Belt, a serviceman from Ozark, Arkansas. He still brags about it today.

In 1953, Frances again entertained troops with the USO, this time in Korea.

She gave her last public concert in 1966 during a tour for the US forces in Vietnam.

Her association with Hope continued into the 1980s. In 1989 she joined him for a USO tour to entertain troops in the Persian Gulf.

Frances Langford married three times. Her first husband, from 1934 until 1955, was actor Jon Hall. In 1948 they donated 20 acres of land near her estate in Jensen Beach, Florida to the Board of County Commissioners of Martin County, which named it Langford Hall Park. Located at 2369 N.E. Dixie Highway just south of the Stuart Welcome Arch, it is known today simply as Langford Park and is one of the county’s major parks.

In 1955, she married Outboard Marine Corporation President Ralph Evinrude. They lived on her estate in Jensen Beach and opened a resort they named The Outrigger, where Langford frequently performed. Evinrude died in 1986. In 1994, she married Harold Stuart, who had been an assistant secretary of the United States Air Force under President Harry S. Truman and who survived her. She had no children.

Langford was a supportive member of the Jensen Beach community and constantly donated money to the community. She died at her Jensen Beach, Florida home on July 11, 2005, at age 92 from congestive heart failure. In 2006, the Frances Langford Heart Center, made possible by a bequest from her estate, opened at Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, Florida.

TRIVIA:

Nickname: Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts

Height: 5′ (1.52 m)

Personal Quotes:

“Entertaining the troops was the greatest thing in my life. We were there just to do our job, to help make them laugh and be happy if they could.” (January 2002)

“I’d sing a song, and I could just see the guys getting this faraway expression. I knew they were going home in their minds.”

 

Known as “The Polka Dot Girl” of World War II pinups, Chili Williams (born Marian Sorenson Uhlman on December 18, 1922) was discovered by a modeling agent in 1943 at Fire Island in New York. The modeling agent’s photographer, Ewing Krainin, took her picture while she was frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean surf, and a series of photos appeared in the September 27, 1943 issue of LIFE Magazine.

 

Krainin had stitched together a black-and-white polka-dot dance-set (which would later come to be known as the “bikini”) for her. The photos were so well received, that 100,000 fans sent in letters requesting copies. The pinups eventually found their way into the hands of homesick GI’s fighting during the final phases of World War II.

She signed a movie contract later in 1944 and moved to Hollywood, California, where she appeared appeared in 17 films, including the wartime favorites “Girl Rush” (1944), “The Falcon In Hollywood” (1944), “George White’s Scandals” (1945), “Johnny Angel” (1945), “Wonder Man” (1945), and “Having A Wonderful Crime” (1945). Chili died on October 17, 2003 in California.