Skip to comments.Deanna Durbin, Plucky Movie Star of the Depression Era, Is Dead at 91
Posted on 04/30/2013 7:54:52 PM PDT by EveningStar
Deanna Durbin, who as a plucky child movie star with a sweet soprano voice charmed American audiences during the Depression and saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy before she vanished from public view 64 years ago, has died, a fan club announced on Tuesday. She was 91.
In a newsletter, the Deanna Durbin Society said Ms. Durbin died a few days ago, quoting her son, Peter H. David, who thanked her admirers for respecting her privacy. No other details were given.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
One of her biggest fans was Winston Churchill.
What a sweetheart. RIP
I never really cared for the “musical” genre in film that much. But three exceptions to this, which I did tend to enjoy, were the Astaire/Rogers films, the Busby Berkelely films, and the Deanna Durbin films.
Durbin made a lot of films for Universal, and virtually all of them are rather pleasant and amusing. Used to see them on the late-shows quite often in the 1970s. They don’t circulate too much anymore. Mainly because the prime outlet for old films nowadays is Turner Classics, and they don’t have the Universal/Paramount library.
She was one of the last living “stars” of the 1930s. Only a tiny few left now (Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland, Luise Rainer, etc.)
I expected a cold star picture on Wikipedia, not a va-vroom! Reminder of what today’s “talent” is lacking.
“Child”, not cold. Frakkin’ autocorrect.
I didn’t know she was still alive(until recently, that is). RIP, Miss Durbin.
How about wholesome? No botox or plastic surgery. Real people.
Deanna Durbin - Un Bel Di (One Fine Day)
All Hollywood has now are fake boobs, hairpieces, fake nails, liposuction, facelifts, padded rearends, nose jobs and lousy personalities.
I loved how women stars looked in the 40’s. And the way they were lit and photographed in B&W. Pure glam!
They truly were stars
In high school I once pulled out a bound volume of Life magazines so I could look up the issue covering the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One issue from November 1941 featured a photo of Deanna Durbin in her underwear playing a violin in the privacy of her bedroom. She was about twenty at the time. Va va voom!
IBSWBM (In Before She Will be Missed!)
What a beautiful Dame...
She was awfully cute. Loved her.
Amazingly talented and also very very cute and sweet.
All that is wrong with the movie musical can be summed up in two words; Barbra Streisand.
From the Golddiggers and Big Broadcast to South Pacific and My Fair Lady, the art form was fine until those four horrid movies she made; Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, Funny Lady and Yentl.
I’m pretty sure I’ve hated every single “musical” from about the mid-1960s onward!
Yentl, what a freak show.
‘Funny Girl’ was terrific. The first half anyway. Once the songs run out it’s downhill.
Fiddler on the Roof? Cabaret? Oliver!?
Nope. Not my sort of thing. That whole ‘modern’ musical style. Too gay. I’ll take the Deanna Durbin films instead. Or, even a Monogram cheapie like “Swing Parade of 1946.” Or, even better, “The Big Broadcast” (1932), with Bing Crosby, the Boswell Sisters, Cab Calloway, and Arthur Tracy.
Thank you. That was great.
Former neighbor of W.C. Fields. IIRC he used to shoot at her swans when he heard her singing.
She can’t be missed. The story said she went into seclusion 64 years ago. Who misses someone who hasn’t made an appearance in 64 years and doesn’t even have her death announced until “a few days ago”. Sounds like she out-Garboed Garbo.
I like Footloose.
And the singing episode of Buffy.
The voice of an angel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT_b_MWrJQU Ave Maria brings tears to my eyes.
Are you talking about stage or screen musicals? ‘Oliver!’ premiered on stage in 1960. Fiddler in 1964. The films were made later. I didn’t even mention all the Sondheim stage musicals which blow away the ones you mentioned.
Screen musicals. As a genre. I don’t really like the modern Broadway-esque approach of screen musicals, from the type of vocal stylistics to often the way the music is integrated into the plots. It does not appeal to me at all. I find such films invariably grating.
Older-style musicals? Yes. I like many of them. “42nd Street” and the Berkely films. Bing Crosby’s older Paramount movies, like “Waikiki Wedding” or “Anything Goes.” Early-40s films with wartime swing-band elements. Not quite as keen on MGM, but I do like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “An American in Paris.” The aforementioned Deanna Durbin films from Universal.
But by the mid-50s and into the 60s, probably starting with “Oklahoma,” musicals started getting too damn faggy. And I just don’t like the type of music.
The best screen musicals were the ones that MGM made in the ‘40s and ‘50s. ‘Meet Me in St Louis’ ‘Singin in the Rain’, ‘The Band Wagon’. Stuff like ‘Oklahoma!’, Carousel, and South Pacific were overblown cinematic adaptations of great Broadway shows.
I believe there are 5 actors from Gone With the Wind that are still alive. And one or two are older than DeHavilland.
She wasn’t a recluse, she just didn’t want to be in the industry anymore.
Yep, there are still a few 30s film vets around, but the list is dwindling rapidly. Mary Carlisle (who I once met) is still living. I think Marsha Hunt is too. Adrian Booth, who was a leading-lady in b-westerns, goes back to the late-30s, and she’s still alive. Then there are the kid actors, including mega-star Shirley Temple.
And you’re right about Durbin. I never heard about her being a recluse. Just that she married a Frenchman, moved to France, and never really had any interest in anything Hollywood-oriented ever since.
Carla Laemmle is also still alive. She is the niece of the founder of Universal Studios and had the first speaking lines in the 1930 film of Dracula with Lugosi.
Yes, that’s another one. Also kid actor Dickie Moore. I think Fay MacKenzie ‘might’ still alive, but I’m not sure. Not certain if Louise Currie or Anne Jeffries credits dip back to pre-1940, but they’re around. Also Herb Jeffries, the singer, made three or four of those low-budget, “all-colored cast” b-westerns.
Seems amazing. Not too many years back, there were slews of 1930s-era actors and actresses still around. Saw and met dozens of them. Even opened a car-door once for Maureen O’Sullivan. Ah, well.
here singing was fantastic....!
so sorry to hear that.. i think she was Canadian
she sang a broadcast thanks to America for all the help in WW2.
A beautiful rendition of Danny Boy:
This is a great source...
Wow, that’s a nifty site. Lots of interesting info. Had no idea Richard Coogan, Danielle Darrieux, or Mike Road were still living. Plus, I thought Audrey Totter had passed away years ago. Glad to know I was wrong. And good to confirm Patricia Morison and Bea Wain are still around. John Calvert, too, who’s 102 this year.
And add Marjorie Lord to our surviving 1930s film vets list. She was leading lady in one of the last Wheeler and Woolsey films (although when I mentioned this to her when I saw her at a book signing, she didn’t seem to want to acknowledge it all that much!).
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