Early Hollywood superstar Deanna Durbin dies at 91

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2013 at 10:36 am •  Published: May 2, 2013
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Rode said Durbin, along with Abbott and Costello, "saved the studio from going down the tubes."

By 1939 child roles were becoming increasingly out-of-reach for Durbin who had grown into a mature young woman. She was passed over for the role of Dorothy in the classic "Wizard of Oz" and Garland got the part. That same year saw her first on-screen kiss — with Robert Stack — and the news bumped war headlines off daily papers.

Durbin married cinematographer Vaughn Paul in 1941, and was divorced in 1943.

She made "Can't Help Singing," her first and only Technicolor film, in 1944. Her other films were in black-and-white because studio executives said it was too expensive to have Deanna Durbin and color film in the same movie.

That same year she married playwright Felix Jackson, 20 years her senior. They had one daughter and divorced in 1949.

In 1945, Durbin made "Lady on a Train" — directed by Charles David, whom she married five years later. The two moved to France and had a son. David died in 1999.

After her early retirement, Durbin repeatedly dismissed speculation that she might someday return to the screen. Responding to a request for an interview from The Associated Press in 1958, Durbin wrote that she was reveling in the anonymity she found living in the French countryside.

"I've gained weight, I do my own shopping, bring up my two children and sing an hour every day," she wrote.

Durbin is survived by her daughter, Jessica Jackson, and her son, Peter H. David.

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