ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Deanna Durbin; Operatic Soprano of the Movies

Updated on January 29, 2013

Deanna Durbin

Deanna Durbin was born in 1921, and made numerous popular movies from the mid 1930's to the late 40's. After Deanna Durbin retired from movies, Jane Powell became the new Deanna Durbin of the movies. She was a young and talented singer who looked natural in her girl next door parts, but somehow the same level of magic was never duplicated as with the young Deanna.

Even today Durbin is gaining a pop culture following with the release of her DVD collection. A truly remarkable and gifted woman with a charm and manner all her own.

One of Deanna's Earliest Publicity Photos

Early Deanna
Early Deanna

A More Mature & Sophisticated Deanna Durbin

Grown up and glamorous Image
Grown up and glamorous Image

Deanna's Career

In 1937 Deanna Durbin began her movie career. She was a unique talent, with a perfect voice and musical ability.

Deanna Durbin was born Edna Mae Durbin in 1921 in Canada, though She was raised in California.

She made her first film appearance in 1936 with Judy Garland in Every Sunday, and was signed with Universal Studios quickly after. Miss Durbin was highly successful as the sweet, innocent teenage daughter with a golden voice in numerous films of the 1930's, and won a Juvenile Academy Award in 1938.

Louis B. Mayer wanted her signed to MGM desperately, but was outsmarted by Universal, who came in with the contract before L.B. Mayor did.

In the late 1930's, after a series of highly successful movies, a brilliant publicity stunt was launched to find a boy to give Deanna her first screen kiss. Thousands of young boys auditioned to play Durbin's prince charming in a film that would be a modern day Cinderella story titled, "First Love." Young and handsome Robert Stack was the winner, who played the part masterfully. There isn't a girl in the world who can watch Stack, with is beautiful voice, and charming manners, and not find herself thinking that he is the guy she should have met as a teenager.

It is believed that Deanna did not enjoy making movies as she matured, and felt silly playing the roles she was given. Indeed she was growing up and could not possibly continue playing these girly characters. The studio gave Deanna a more glamorous look and a more seductive persona, but Deanna was now not only growing up, but growing outward. Although she was never fat by today's standards, she was not particularly lean and trim either.

Durbin often appeared to be almost chubby in her young adulthood and the studio began to put the pressure on to lose some weight, telling Deanna that her costumes were getting tight. Durbin is reported to have snapped back, "you can always let my dresses out at the sides."

Durbin finally left Hollywood and retired from singing and acting in the late 1940's. She married a producer-director and moved to Paris. She then completely withdrew from public life all together. Deanna Durbin is as mysterious as Greta Garbo. She has never been coaxed out of retirement, and sightings are extremely rare. She is still alive at 90 years young.


Deanna sang many classics, arias, and popular songs, and is responsible more than any other opera singer for the inspiration of new singers.

Her voice is that of a lyric soprano, with great range and clarity.

After Deanna Durbin retired, MGM decided it was their chance to find an answer to Durbin and went searching for a new young soprano. They discovered Jane Powell, who has said that she had always wanted to meet Deanna, and still would like to.

To this day Deanna's films and DVD's are as popular as ever, and she continues to inspire with her music, and wholesome movies.

Jane Powell; The New Deanna Durbin

Deanna Durbin in 1981


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for your comment Jan.

      Deanna is still going strong.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved her beautiful voice from the 40ties on and still do. Nice to know that she is alive now.

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

      Hi Patriette,

      I love BWs too.

      I like "First Love" and "Three Smart Girls"

    • Patriette profile image


      9 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Beautiful voice that one doesn't tire listening to... Skarlet, do you have any Deanna Durbin movie recommendations? I love watching old Black & Whites.

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California


      Thank you teaches345.

      I adore Deanna, and watch her old movies when ever I can. I would not be surprised if she still does sing, but I am sure she does not sound the same. Still, I would like to hear it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Wow, what a beautiful voice. I wonder if she still sings at 90, wouldn't that be something? Thanks for the information on this talented opera singer.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)