Birth Name: Edna Mae Durbin
Height: 5' 3"
Nickname: "Winnepeg's Sweetheart"
Quote: "I couldn't go on forever being Little Miss Fixit who burst into song."
Durbin made her first film appearance in the short Every Sunday (1936) with a young Judy Garland. The film helped to prove the pair, as studio executives had questioned the wisdom of casting two female singers together.
Durbin signed a contract with Universal Studios, where she was given the professional name Deanna. She was 14 years old when she made her first feature-length film, Three Smart Girls (1936). Three Smart Girls was a success and established Durbin as a star. With Pasternak producing for Universal, Durbin went on to star in a string of successful musical films, including One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937), Mad About Music (1938), That Certain Age (1938), Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), and First Love (1939)—most of which were directed by Henry Koster.
The success of Durbin's films was reported to have saved Universal from bankruptcy. In 1938, she received an Academy Juvenile Award with Mickey Rooney. Her producer, Joe Pasternak, said:
In the early 1940s, Durbin continued her success with It's a Date (1940), Spring Parade (1940), Nice Girl? (1941), and It Started with Eve (1941), her last film with Pasternak and director Henry Koster. After Pasternak moved from Universal to MGM, Durbin was suspended between October 16, 1941 and early February 1942 for refusing to appear in They Lived Alone, which was scheduled to be directed by Koster. The project was canceled when Durbin and Universal settled their differences. In the agreement, Universal conceded to Durbin the approval of her directors, stories, and songs.
Following the two sequels to her first film Three Smart Girls, Durbin issued a press release announcing that she was no longer inclined to participate in these team efforts and was now performing as a solo artist. The Three Smart Girls Join Up title was changed to Hers to Hold (1943). In 1943, Durbin took on a more sophisticated role in the World War II story of refugee children from China, The Amazing Mrs. Holliday. Additional adult roles followed, including the film noir Christmas Holiday (1944), directed by Robert Siodmak, and the whodunit Lady on a Train (1945).
While these adult dramatic roles may have been more satisfying for Durbin, her fans preferred her in light musical confections such as Can't Help Singing (1944), her only Technicolor film, which featured some of the last melodies written by Jerome Kern plus lyrics by E. Y. Harburg.
In 1946, Universal merged with two other companies to create Universal-International. The new regime discontinued much of Universal's familiar product and scheduled only a few musicals. She stayed on for another four pictures: I'll Be Yours (1947), Something in the Wind (1947), Up in Central Park (1948), and For the Love of Mary (1948).
By 1948, however, her box-office clout began to diminish. In private life, On August 22, 1948, two months after completing her final film, Universal-International announced a lawsuit which sought to collect from Durbin $87,083 in wages the studio had paid her in advance.] Durbin settled the complaint by agreeing to star in three more pictures, including one in Paris. The studio allowed Deanna's contract to expire on August 31, 1949, so the three films were never made. Durbin, chose to retire from movies.
According to a family friend, Durbin died on or about April 20, 2013 in Neauphle-le-Château, France. She was 91 years old.
1. For the Love of Mary (1948) as Mary Peppertree .
2. Up in Central Park (1948) as Rosie Moore .
3. Something in the Wind (1947) as Mary Collins .
4. I'll Be Yours (1947) as Louise Ginglebusher .
5. Because of Him (1946) as Kim Walker .
6. Lady on a Train (1945) as Nicki Collins, also known as Margo Martin .
7. Christmas Holiday (1944) as Jackie Lamont/Abigail Martin [Manette] .
8. Can't Help Singing (1944) as Caroline [Frost] .
9. His Butler's Sister (1943) as Ann Carter .
10. Hers to Hold (1943) as Penelope Craig .
11. The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) as Ruth Kirke [Holliday] .
12. It Started with Eve (1941) as Anne Terry .
13. Nice Girl? (1941) as Jane Dana [also known as "Pinky"] .
14. It's a Date (1940) as Pamela Drake .
15. Spring Parade (1940) as Ilonka Tolnay .
16. Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) as "Penny" [Penelope Craig] .
17. First Love (1939) as Constance Harding .
18. That Certain Age (1938) as Alice Fullerton .
19. Mad About Music (1938) as Gloria [Harkinson] .
20. One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) as Patricia [Patsy] Cardwell .
21. Three Smart Girls (1936) as Penny [Craig] .
For more about Deanna Durbin please visit: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deanna_Durbin