OK, now it can be told.
No other classic Hollywood movie star has drawn more (very informed) email from our devoted Classicmoviechat.com readers than — drum roll, please! — Deanna Durbin.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, to report that to our surprise, the “sweetheart of Winnepeg” has inspired an unusual (for us) number of articulate responses, almost passionate in intensity. We love it.
There are few things in life we cherish more than hearing from you — early and often. For those unacquainted with Durbin’s relatively short career and why she remains so popular after years out of the limelight, check out our previous blogs on this multi-talented star.
Specifically, Who Was Deanna Durbin?, published on Oct. 7, and — most especially — two blogs based on contributions from faithful reader and avid Durban fan, Mark: Need To Know Deanna Durbin – A Reader Authoritatively Tells All (Nov. 10) and Deanna Durbin – Rival To Judy? (Nov. 11).
You might be surprised that after all these years, Durbin would provoke such sustained interest and strong reaction. After all, the former Edna May Durbin — the belle of Winnepeg, Alberta (her Canadian birthplace in 1921) — had a movie career that was over in just 13 years. Deanna hung it all up more than 60 years ago — and by all accounts has been living in a small village in north central France ever since.
Enough of the preliminaries. Let’s get to our latest round of email. Uncle Stevie writes:
There are still many fans worldwide who savor Deanna’s contributions. We all are miffed at her early departure from the public and longed for her to do Broadway and concerts, and more movies with other stars.
She also never did a guest appearance or walk on in anyone else’s movie. There do not seem to be saved footage of Deanna Durbin singing in anything but her own movies. What a bummer.
Uncle Stevie adds that, A major deposit of information and photos of Deanna Durbin can be seen on the website https://www.deannadurbindevotees.com/.
We’ll check it out and you should too.
From Grand Old Movies comes this: Thanks for the terrific info on one of my favorite stars. Glad to know that Deanna is still going strong living in France!
Durbin afficianado Alex Anisimov writes in reference to our Deanna Durbin – Rival to Judy blog, describing it as an accurate and well written article about the Queen of Song — thanks!!
Well, thank you Alex. All credit goes to our friend and fellow Durbin fan, Mark.
Switching from Durbin to Robert Wolders — how’s that for an abrupt transition? — our man Mark weighs in, not about Deanna this time but about the the Netherlands-born actor best remembered today for his off screen romances.
As noted in our Classic Movie Cougars blog of Nov. 17, covering older actresses bedding younger men, Wolders in 1975 married Merle Oberon (she was 64, he was 38) and after her death, began a long-term affair with Audrey Hepburn (who was seven years older–they’re pictured above).
Mark writes: Wolders may be best known to many people today for his appearance in an entertaining episode of the classic MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW TV series. (That’s Mary above in her classic “flip” hairdo.)
In the episode, Wolders plays a skiing instructor Moore’s ‘Mary Richards’ character begins dating, to the consternation of her friends and co-workers, all of whom assume there can’t be anything but a physical attraction between them. (Question to Mark: were Mary’s friends and co-workers right?)
In response to our Big Child Stars of the 1940’s — They are…. blog published on Nov. 14, about Joan Carroll and Skip Homeier, regular reader Patricia Nolan-Hall (aka Caftan Woman) has some thoughts about the actor’s best work aside from 1951’s star-laden World War II drama, Halls of Montezuma.
Pat writes: Western fans might call Skip Homeier’s high water mark his movies with (director) Budd Boetticher, ‘The Tall T’ and ‘Comanche Station.’ (I’m a western fan). I sincerely hope both Joan and Skip are enjoying this time in their lives, and know what pleasure their work still gives fans.
Homeier’s character in 1957’s The Tall T, which costarred Randolph Scott, Richard Boone and Maureen O’Sullivan, is named ‘Billy Jack.’ This was many years before actor-writer-director Tom Laughlin created his 1970’s screen vigilante of the same name (Billy Jack, The Trial of Billy Jack and Billy Jack Goes To Washington) .
In 1960’s Comanche Station, another Randolph Scott outing for Columbia Pictures, Homeier’s character is named ‘Frank.’ Good choice!
Thanks to each of our correspondents. Please keep the cards and letters coming.