Hollywood 1930s child star Deanna Durbin dies aged 91
Wednesday 01 May 2013
Deanna Durbin, a singing child movie star of the 1930s who became one of the world's highest paid actresses before turning her back on stardom, has died at the age of 91.
Her son Peter H. David was quoted as telling The Deanna Durbin Society newsletter that the actress died "a few days ago", thanking her admirers for respecting her privacy. No other details were given.
The actress was born Edna Mae Durbin in Winnipeg, Canada, but moved to California with her British-born parents when she was young. She broke into the movies in 1936, aged 14, when she appeared in Every Sunday with Judy Garland, according to her biography on the IMDb film website.
She made her name playing the ideal teenage daughter in Three Smart Girls in 1936 and in its profitable follow-up the next year, One Hundred Men and a Girl, which was credited with saving Universal studios from bankruptcy.
Capitalising on her fame, Universal cast Durbin in a series of musical movies including That Certain Age and Mad About Music which made the actress with the sweet soprano voice into one of Hollywood's most popular stars.
Durbin shared a special Juvenile Award with Mickey Rooney at the 1938 Oscars for their "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth".
At 25, Durbin was the second highest-paid woman in America behind her fellow actress Bette Davis, according to the New York Times, and her fan club ranked as the world's largest during her active years.
But Durbin found fame hard to handle and, despite trying to move on from her image as the perfect daughter with films such as Christmas Holiday (1944) and Lady on a Train (1945), she walked away from stardom aged about 28.
"I couldn't go on forever being Little Miss Fixit who burst into song," she once said.
From 1949 she stayed out of the limelight, moving to France with her third husband, the French director Charles David. She gave only one interview in the following decades and rejected all offers of a comeback. Her husband died in 1999.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender says showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson 'can't front ITV motoring show' due to BBC contract clause
Amy Winehouse film: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' movie as it scores highest ever UK opening for British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts