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Deanna Durbin

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Deanna Durbin (born Edna Mae Durbin on December 4, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to English immigrant parents) was a popular young singer and actress in Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s.

Changing her name to Deanna Durbin at the commencement of her career, Durbin signed a contract with MGM in 1935 and made her first film appearance in a short subject Every Sunday with another contractee, Judy Garland.

Durbin was released from her contract shortly thereafter as studio executive Louis B. Mayer felt he did not need two young female singers under contract. Hollywood legend has recorded that he instructed his staff to “drop the fat one” and that they had dismissed Durbin, misunderstanding that Mayer had in fact intended to terminate the contract of Garland.

Durbin was quickly signed to a contract with Universal Studios and made her first feature-length film Three Smart Girls in 1936. The huge success of her films were reported to have saved the studio from bankruptcy. In 1938 she received a special Academy Juvenile Award, along with Mickey Rooney. Such was Durbin’s international fame and popularity that she was mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary as a personal favorite.

She married an actor, Vaughn Paul, in 1941 and they were divorced in 1943. Her second marriage, to producer Felix Jackson in 1945, produced a daughter, Jessica Louise Jackson, and ended in divorce in 1949.

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