2 May 2013

Deanna Durbin dead

5:30 am on 2 May 2013

Canadian actress and singer Deanna Durbin has died.

Durbin, 91, broke into the movies in 1936, aged 14, when she appeared in Every Sunday with Judy Garland.

She made her name playing the ideal teenage daughter in Three Smart Girls in 1936 and in a follow-up the next year, which was credited with saving Universal studios from bankruptcy.

Capitalising on her fame, Universal cast Durbin in a series of musical movies including That Certain Age and Mad About Music which made the actress with the sweet soprano voice into one of Hollywood's most popular stars.

However, she walked away from stardom aged about 28.

"I couldn't go on forever being Little Miss Fixit who burst into song," she once said.

From 1949, she stayed out of the limelight, moving to France with her third husband, French director Charles David.

She gave only one interview in the following decades and rejected all offers of a comeback. Her husband died in 1999.