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Deanna Durbin

Deanna Durbin was the second child of British immigrant parents who moved the family to Southern California when she was still an infant. She demonstrated a singing talent at an early age and eventually began to study voice at Ralph Thomas' Academy in Los Angeles. In 1935, while only in her early teens, she successfully auditioned for a part in a proposed film biography of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink to be made by MGM. The studio first put her in a short, Every Sunday, in which she co-starred with Judy Garland, another young, aspiring singer/actress, who was six months her junior. There is a story -- probably apocryphal -- that MGM decided to keep only one of the two and that Durbin was dropped by mistake. Actually, the studio did not renew her contract when the Schumann-Heink film was canceled. At this point, Rufus LeMaire, the casting director who had brought her to MGM and subsequently moved to Universal, signed her and convinced his new studio to put her in the film Three Smart Girls. While it was being made, Durbin became a regular on Eddie Cantor's radio show, and just before it was released, she began recording for Decca Records; she was just turning 15 years old.

Three Smart Girls was a big hit and Durbin became a star. She made an additional 20 films for Universal through 1948. In each, she usually sang a few songs, including a mixture of newly written material and arias from operas. Frequently, she made studio recordings of the same material for Decca. (The day of the original soundtrack album did not arrive until late in her career.) Unfortunately, her movies vastly overshadowed her recordings. Of her recordings, only "My Own" -- a song she also sang in the 1938 film That Certain Age -- made the charts. By the mid-'40s, Durbin had become disillusioned with Hollywood, especially after the commercial disappointment of Christmas Holiday (1944), an adaptation of a Somerset Maugham novel that marked her attempt to become a serious actress. Although she was the movie industry's highest-paid female star in 1947, she gave up filmmaking in 1948 at the age of 26. In 1950, she married her third husband, Charles David of Pathé Films, and moved to Normandy, France, where she remained out of the limelight. Nevertheless, her films continued to be shown on television and were made available on video. Many of her recordings, drawn from her films and radio appearances as well as the Decca catalog remained in print. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

She died this past year.
Who is this singing right now?
eric.barrow1
A true song bird. Her music can soothe a heavy heart. RIP you beautiful angel.
leslie_marti n _ y
I love her!!!
leslie_marti n _ y
Deanna Durbin is simply wonderful, and I love her very much. When I heard about her, and saw my first movie of hers, I was eleven years old. She is now my heroine, and if you wanted to know anything about her, I could tell you, for I've studied her so much. I love to sing along with her, and to collect her movies and CD's. Even though she is ninety-one this year and I am thirteen, I still feel close to her.
Thank you Deanna Durbin!

Maureen M.

N.C.
One of the best voices I have ever heard.
Not sure I've encountered a prettier face/voice combo before
rileysbooks
Deanna was one of my mom's favorite artists. She played and sang with her as we listened to her recordings. Fond memories.
Not only a wonderful voice but a beautiful women as well and a very fine actress.
mfran40
What a beautiful, sweet voice!
If you have a heart and a soul this music will reach you no matter how old you are.
like her voice and her movies she comes from a wonderful time.
Deanna Durbin had a most beautiful voice. It was too beautiful to earn just a limited success and to be accidentally bypassed at a time when her success was on the ascent to the fame it deserved. She seems to have disappeared from a lime light that should still be ours to share and enjoy. God bless her for the limitted treasures in song that she left us. Broken hearted Jack
gehoffer
Please rotate more of her in the female BB artist rotation.
katiearrigo
I love Deanna Durbin. Her music is so great and reminds me of the olden days that I long for....even though I'm 30!
Have always enjoyed any music sung by Deanna Durbin! She is a wonderful soprano! Signed, Lizetsgethap p y @ y a h o o . c o m
mfran40
How wonderful that we can still hear this beautiful voice and other of her contemporari e s . The technology that can make this possible in the 21st century is truly miraculous.
I have always loved and admired her singing of the above songs and others!

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