Deanna Durbin

Actor, Singer
Though her name was little-remembered by anyone under the age of 50, Deanna Durbin once saved a major Hollywood studio from bankruptcy with a winning smile, an operatic singing voice and a can-do attitude. A MGM ... Read more »
Born: 12/04/1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA

Filmography

Actor (19)

First Love 1938 (Movie)

Constance Harding (Actor)

Mad About Music 1937 (Movie)

Gloria Harkinson (Actor)

That Certain Age 1937 (Movie)

Alice Fullerton (Actor)

100 Men and a Girl 1936 (Movie)

Patricia Cardwell (Actor)

Three Smart Girls 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

Because of Him (Movie)

Kim Walker (Actor)

Christmas Holiday (Movie)

Jackie Lamont (Actor)

Hers to Hold (Movie)

Penelope Craig (Actor)

His Butler's Sister (Movie)

Ann Carter (Actor)

It Started With Eve (Movie)

Anne Terry (Actor)

It's a Date (Movie)

Pamela Drake (Actor)

Lady on a Train (Movie)

Nikki Collins (Actor)

Nice Girl? (Movie)

Jane Dana (Actor)

Something in the Wind (Movie)

Mary Collins (Actor)

Spring Parade (Movie)

Ilonka Tolnay (Actor)

Summer Stock (Movie)

(Actor)

The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (Movie)

Ruth Kirke (Actor)

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (Movie)

Penny "Mouse" Craig (Actor)

Up in Central Park (Movie)

Rosie Moore (Actor)

Biography

Though her name was little-remembered by anyone under the age of 50, Deanna Durbin once saved a major Hollywood studio from bankruptcy with a winning smile, an operatic singing voice and a can-do attitude. A MGM discovery, the 13 year-old Canadian émigré was dumped by the studio in favor of a young Judy Garland in one of Tinseltown's most notorious intra-office screw-ups. Taken in at Universal, Durbin was groomed as a rival to Fox's pint-sized headliner Shirley Temple. Her first picture, "Three Smart Girls" (1936), was an unexpected box office smash and a string of subsequent hits made Durbin Hollywood's highest paid female star and an honorary Academy Award winner. As her international fame grew, Durbin's fans came to include British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Holocaust diarist Anne Frank. Shrewd investments and a share in a line of trademarked merchandise made the actress independently wealthy by the time she was 18 years old. With the end of the Great Depression and America's entry into World War II, Durbin's trademark sparkle faded somewhat, eclipsed by the rising stock of Judy Garland at MGM. Unhappy in her final roles for Universal, Durbin walked out of the limelight in 1949, never to return to films despite lucrative offers from Hollywood and Broadway. Raising a family in France with her third husband, Durbin refused all but one interview over the subsequent decades, preferring peace and privacy to her lasting fame as Hollywood's "Little Miss Fix-It."

Relationships

Joseph Cotten Actor

Companion
Reportedly involved during filming of "Hers to Hold" (1943)

Charles David Actor

Husband
He directed her in delightful comic film noir "Lady on a Train" (1945) Married Dec. 21, 1950 until his death March 1, 1999

Peter David

Son
Born June 20, 1951; father, Charles David

James Durbin

Father
Became U.S. citizen when he moved to California

Ada Durbin

Mother
Became U.S. citizen when she moved to California

Edith Durbin

Sister
Older

Felix Jackson Producer

Husband
Married June 13, 1945 Divorced Oct. 27, 1949

Jessica Jackson

Daughter
Born Feb. 7, 1946; father, Felix Jackson

Vaughn Paul

Husband
Married April 18, 1941 Divorced Dec. 14, 1943

EDUCATION

Bret Harte Junior High School

Manchester Grammar School

Fallowfield, Manchester

Milestones

1948

Last film, "Up in Central Park"

1939

Considerable publicity attended the release of "First Love", in which the young Robert Stack gave the 18-year-old Durbin her first screen kiss

1937

Feature film debut in "Three Smart Girls"

1936

Short film acting debut in "Every Sunday"

1936

Singing debut on the "Eddie Cantor Radio Hour"

Screen image began to adjust to more adult roles in "The Amazing Mrs. Holliday" (1942) and the rather more successful film noir, "Christmas Holiday" (1944)

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