Monday, April 9, 2018

10 Things You May Not Know About Deanna Durbin

Deanna Durbin (1921 – 2013) was one of the biggest stars of the 1930s and 1940s. She had an international fan club that was the largest in the world. With her beautiful soprano voice and genuine charm on screen, Durbin endeared herself to a generation of film fans. Her fame is still celebrated today.

1. Durbin was born in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. In 1923 her parents moved the family—Deanna had an older sister, Edith (b. 1909)—to Southern, California, and became United States citizens.

A very young Deanna Durbin

2. In 1935 she was signed to a six-month contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but her option was dropped in 1936. The studio had another girl singer named Judy Garland.

3. In 1936 she signed with Universal Studios, which was on the brink of bankruptcy, at the tender age of 14. Her starring role in Three Smart Girls (1936) made her an overnight sensation and put Universal in the black.

4. Durbin auditioned for the voice of Snow White, but Walt Disney thought her voice sounded “too old” for the part. She was 15.

5. She was one of Anne Frank’s favorite movie stars. If you visit the Frank house in Amsterdam, Holland, you will see pictures of Durbin on Frank’s bedroom wall.

Deanna Durbin with Gene Kelly from Christmas Holiday
6. In 1938, Durbin received an Academy Juvenial Award for “bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth.” 

7. When Durbin was kissed by Robert Stack in First Love (1939), the press dubbed it “The kiss heard around the world!”

8. In 1941, Durbin starred in what many consider her best film, It Started with Eve, costarring Charles Laughton and Robert Cummings.

9. During her reign at Universal, Durbin always received top billing.

10. In 1947, Durbin was the highest paid woman in America. She retired the next year (at age 27), never to work in show business again.

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