On 15 August 1945, Japan’s surrender brings World War II to a close. News doesn’t come much more momentous than that, and one of the broadcasters reporting it was KFWB, a Los Angeles radio station.
In the studio were none other than Hollywood stars Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich.
Orson and Rita had been married for two years. Judging by their expressions here, who would guess that disaster lay ahead? The following year they would begin making The Lady from Shanghai, with Rita in the starring role opposite Orson, who also directed. It ‘reads’ like a letter of pure hatred towards Rita and it was released in 1948, the couple were divorced in November 1947.
Marlene had moved from Germany to the US in 1930. She had rejected the Nazis’ blandishments and become one of the first celebrities to raise money for US war bonds.
This photo and all but one of the other on this page are from a shoot by photographer Otto Rothschild, showing the news coming in and being announced. Rothschild was the official performing arts photographer for the Los Angeles Music Center, the Hollywood Bowl and the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. (The odd photo out is the last one in the sequence, which was taken by Eugene L Abbott.)
The photos are from the personal collection of John Dehner. John worked as a radio actor before becoming a TV star. Prior to acting, he was an animator at Walt Disney Studios and also a professional pianist.
Also featured are Sam Balter, a member of the United States gold medal basketball team in 1936 and the only Jewish-American to win a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics; John B Hughes, an actor, who starred in Meet John Doe (1941) and Rhapsody in Blue (1945); and Lou Marcelle, an actor, known for Stars on Horseback (1943) and Where Will You Hide? (1948).