Actor Biography

DEANNA DURBIN

Born: 1921, Winnipeg, Canada

Died: 2013, Neauphle-le-Château, France

Notable Films: Three Smart Girls (1936), First Love (1938), Christmas Holiday (1944)

Deanna Durbin was a teenager (15 years old) when she made her first film, Three Smart Girls (1936). The film was very successful, and she quickly became an audience favorite. The popularity of her films and the income they generated is credited with restoring Universal Studios to profitability after it had gone into receivership. As a teenager, she is cute and charming with a strong and accomplished singing voice.

By 1938, when she had matured sufficiently to be attracted to young men, Durbin starred in the appropriately named First Love (1938), co-starring handsome Robert Stack. Her subsequent films star an attractive and captivating young woman rather than a cute teenager. Starting with her teen years and continuing into her maturity she radiates charm, warmth, and vitality. Her singing complements her appeal. She is enjoyable to watch and listen to. Most of her films are romantic comedies with songs. Christmas Holiday (1944), with a murderous leading man and only two songs, is a film noir and an exception in her filmography.

She starred in 22 films, the last one made in 1948. In 1950, she married her third husband, producer-director Charles David, and moved to France. Since then, she mostly refused to discuss her movie career. Durbin died April 20, 2013, at the age of 91.