It Started with Eve (1941)
The musical actress was one of the most popular and highest-paid young stars in the 1930s.
Her son Peter H. David told the Deanna Durbin Society newsletter that his mother had died several days ago, but did not give further details and thanked her fans for respecting her privacy.
By the end of the 1930s, Durbin had become one of the biggest box-office stars, appearing in several musical comedies and presented with a special Academy Award with Mickey Rooney, marking their "significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth".
She was said to have saved Universal from bankruptcy during the period, while she was also Sir Winston Churchill's favourite star. The Prime Minister would have access to her films before anyone else in the UK, and would allegedly celebrate military victories by watching her 1937 film One Hundred Men and a Girl.
Durbin initially landed at MGM after a successful audition for a part in a planned biopic of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. She actually made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland (the two were only six months apart in age), and the opera film was never made. Soon thereafter Universal signed Durbin to a contract.
Her first film at U was “Three Smart Girls” (remade decades later as “The Parent Trap”). That big box office hit, in which she played the perfect teenage daughter, paved the way for many more of the same, and Durbin was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy.
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