Deanna Durbin, who was a beloved young actress during the Golden Age of Hollywood, has died. She was 91.
Durbin was just in junior high when she was discovered and ended up starring in “Every Sunday”, a one-reel short, opposite Judy Garland. She would go on to draw in crowds at the theaters and, at one time, was a bigger star than Shirley Temple. In those days, that was a huge deal. By 1947, she was the highest-paid movie star in the country, and one of the most famous faces in the world. Anne Frank reportedly had a photo of Durbin tacked up on the wall in the attic she hid in with her family. But by 1948, she was tired of the business and made the decision to walk away at the age of 28.
“The character I was forced into had little or nothing in common with myself – or with other youth of my generation, for that matter,” she said. “I was never happy making pictures. I’ve gained weight. I do my own shopping, bring up my two children and sing an hour every day.”
Durbin retired to France with her husband, director Charles David, and led a happily married life up until his death in 1999, just before their 50th anniversary. She is survived by her two children, Peter and Jessica.