Just Linda doing her part

The lovely lady taking a tour of what seems to be a P-38 Lightning, possibly at Lockheed’s Burbank plant circa 1943, has all the looks of a film noir femme fatal.

Well, that’s because she is Linda Darnell, an oft-forgotten tragic starlet of the 1940s and 50s.

In the 1949 movie A Letter to Three Wives, when told ​“If I was you, I’d show more of what I got. Maybe wear something with beads,” Linda replied, ​“What I got don’t need beads.”

During WWII, Ms. Darnell, described by Hollywood flacks as the “girl with the perfect face,” did her part for the war effort with a series of tours, Bond drives, lunch with returning GIs, and the like while at the height of her popularity in Zorro films, swashbuckling pirate movies, Westerns, and action adventures of the kind that the Joes and Bluejackets overseas delighted in watching to take their mind off the war.

She also was a featured pin-up in Yank magazine in 1944.

Linda Darnell – Yank Pin Up May 12, 1944

This, naturally, translated to ending up as nose art on Navy and Air Force planes.

A P-38, ironically, with the Yank profile of Ms. Darnell.

U.S. Navy PB4Y-2 “Privateer” Patrol Bomber Squadron VPB-118 “The Old Crows.” Crew 8 in front of BuNo 59380, “Summer Storm.” The “Summer Storm” nose art, based on Linda Darnell pinup art, was painted just before a B-29 lost power and crashed into her, destroying her (amazingly there were no fatalities). When Crew 3 went MIA they were flying Crew 8’s replacement plane, 59449. U.S. Navy Photo (Photo print courtesy of Guy Jones, son of Harold Jones; notes courtesy of Jack Leonard) Via VPB-118.com 

Sadly, Ms. Darnell died the day after she suffered burns over 90 percent of her body in an Illinois house fire in 1965, aged just 41.

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