That’s our pal, the late Patricia Williamson (right), helping our star of the day sell war bonds. The photo is part of a wonderful vintage collection the late Williamson of Tucson, Arizona generously shared with us before her death.
The above snapshot, showing her with Marlene Dietrich, was taken at Los Angeles’ Union Station as Marlene was leaving on a tour to sell War Bonds issued to help finance the World War II effort. The bond selling was an important form of patriotic activity, and Hollywood stars took it seriously.
Pat wasn’t the only one wishing her a “bon voyage.” Naturally, Dietrich had a military escort.
In 1943 Pat, then Patricia Nanette Hawkins, fresh out of high school, had been signed up by the Standard Oil Company of California to be a “Chevronette.” These young women were part of the company’s second world war effort.
Pat, (who was born on St Patrick’s day when her mother had to leave a production of No, No, Nanette), and a few other compatriots were set up in a booth in downtown L.A., and every afternoon at 4:30 a movie star would arrive to help sell war bonds and stamps.
Pat and the other “Chevronettes” were photographed with stars and other dignitaries, and the pictures were circulated nationwide.
Dietrich, of course, was very active during the War, not only selling Bonds but entertaining the troops. As an immigrant, she took great pride in her pro-U.S. war activities.
Her unforgettable vocalizing of the most effective anti-war hymn of all time – it was also her nickname, “Lili Marlene” — as well as her bravery as a German-born entertainer openly and frequently serenading American troops assures her a substantial niche in history. (As do her more than 50 movies – 33 Hollywood titles — spanning 55 years.)
And as busy Dietrich was making war bond tours, she found time to make a few of those films.