Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Changing her name to Deanna Durbin at the commencement of her career, Durbin signed a contract with MGM Studios in 1936 and made her first film appearance in a short subject with another contractee, Judy Garland. She made her first film Three Smart Girls in 1936.
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 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.
She married an actor, Vaughn Paul, in 1941 and they were divorced in 1943. Her second marriage, to Felix Jackson, a writer, in 1945, produced her only child, Jessica Jackson, and ended in divorce in 1949.
By the late 1940s Durbin had tried to assume a more sophisticated film persona in such films as the whodunnit Lady On A Train (1945), but the public preferred her as the sweet and wholesome adolescent she had come to represent.
She retired from public life in 1950, after her marriage to Charles David , who had directed her in Lady On A Train. The couple moved to Paris, France with Durbin stating she would never return to show business. Since then she has resisted all offers to perform and has refused to be interviewed, steadfastly asserting her right to privacy. David died in Paris on March 1, 1999.
Deanna Durbin has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1722 Vine St.
- Every Sunday (1936) (short subject)
- Three Smart Girls (1936)
- One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937)
- Mad About Music (1938)
- That Certain Age (1938)
- Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)
- (1939) (short subject)
- First Love (1939)
- It's a Date (1940)
- Spring Parade (1940)
- Nice Girl? (1941)
- It Started with Eve (1941)
- The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943)
- Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
- Hers to Hold (1943)
- His Butler's Sister (1943)
- Road to Victory (1944) (short subject)
- Christmas Holiday (1944)
- Can't Help Singing (1944)
- Lady on a Train (1945)
- Because of Him (1946)
- I'll Be Yours (1947)
- Something in the Wind (1947)
- Up in Central Park (1948)
- For the Love of Mary (1948)
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