Edna Mae Durbin, born December 4, 1921, was a Canadian-born actress and singer. She appeared in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s. She retired from acting and singing in 1949, and withdrew from public life. She died of lung cancer in Paris, France, in 2012, at the age of 89.
About Deanna Durbin in brief
Edna Mae Durbin, born December 4, 1921, was a Canadian-born actress and singer. She appeared in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s. At the age of 17, she was awarded the Academy Juvenile Award. She retired from acting and singing in 1949, and withdrew from public life, granting only one interview for the remainder of her life, in 1983. She married film producer-director Charles Henri David in 1950, and the couple moved to a farmhouse near Paris. She died of lung cancer in Paris, France, in 2012, at the age 89. She was buried in a private ceremony at the Chateau de Chantilly, France. She is survived by her husband, Charles Henri Durb in France, and her daughter, Edna Mae, who lives in the U.S. with her husband and their two sons, John and James. She also leaves behind a son, James, who is an actor and a husband-and-father-to-be. She had a daughter with the late actor John Cusack, and a son with actor David Carradine, who died in 2012. She has a granddaughter with actor Robert De Niro, who starred in the film The Godfather: Part II. She will also be remembered for her role in the musical The Sound of Music, in which she played the role of a young girl who falls in love with her stepmother’s older sister. She later appeared in the films Mad About Music, That Certain Age, Three Smart Girls Grow Up, and First Love.
She sang in many musicals, including the musicals One Hundred Men and a Girl and Mad About music. She performed many styles from popular standards to operatic arias. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1938 for the film Three Smart girls. In 1936, she auditioned to provide the vocals for Snow White in Disney’s animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but was rejected by Walt Disney, who said the 15-year-old was too old for the part. In late 1936, the general music secretary of the Metropolitan Opera, Cesar Sturani, offered her an audition, but she turned down his request because she felt she needed more singing lessons. In 1938, she received an Academy Academy Award nomination for her performance in Lady on a Train. The success of her films was reported to have saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy. Her success as the ideal teenaged daughter in films such as Three Smart Girl was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy, and she was signed to a contract with Universal Studios. She made her first film appearance in the short Every Sunday with Judy Garland, another teenager. She starred in a succession of successful musical films for Universal, including One Hundred men and a girl.