Thursday, May 02, 2013

Obituary: Deanna Durbin

One of the last stars of Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930s-1940s, Deanna Durbin, died April 20, her fan club announced. She was 91 years old.

She, like Judy Garland, was a huge singing star and juvenile lead in motion pictures of the late 1930s. Her career didn't last as long as Garland's after she married for the third time in the late 1940s and retired to France.

From 1936 to 1942, Ms. Durbin was everyone’s intrepid kid sister or spunky daughter, a wholesome, radiant, can-do girl who in a series of wildly popular films was always fixing the problems of unhappy adults.

And as an instant Hollywood star with her very first movie, “Three Smart Girls,” she almost single-handedly fixed the problems of her fretting bosses at Universal, bringing them box-office gold.

In 1946, Ms. Durbin’s salary of $323,477 from Universal made her the second-highest-paid woman in America, just $5,000 behind Bette Davis.

Her own problems began when she outgrew the role that had brought her fame. Critics responded negatively to her attempts to be an adult on screen, as a prostitute in love with a killer in Robert Siodmak’s bleak film noir “Christmas Holiday” (1944) and as a debutante mixed up in a murder plot in “Lady on a Train” (1945.)

Clip from the 1937 film 100 Men and a Girl:

1 comment:

Pickerwiddley said...

I am a huge fan. I am so sorry to hear the news of the death of Deanna Durbin. I have only recently completed my collection of her movies and watch them weekly. Deanna was such an inspiration, her talent, natural charm and beauty will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing.