Film actor, director, and producer Leslie Howard, best known for his role as Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, (however he was an accomplished actor whose film roles included Professor Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1938), The Petrified Forest (1936) and Intermezzo (1939).) at age 50 dies on June 2, 1943, in a plane crash.
Howard’s plane, traveling from Lisbon to London on World War II-related business, was shot down by Nazis who suspected Winston Churchill was aboard.
It has been rumoured, but not confirmed, that Howard was engaged in secret war work at the time, and that Germany believed the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who had been in Algiers, to be on board. Howard’s manager, Alfred Chenhalls, physically resembled Churchill, while Howard was tall and thin, like Churchill’s bodyguard, WAlter H. Thompson.