She has been off the silver screen for over 60 years, so don’t be too hard on yourselves if our questions about the singing star of the 1930s and 40s stumped you. Even we lost track of her a while, thus this Quiz update.
After reading this, by all means take a peek at our previous DD blogs (Need To Know Deanna Durbin and Deanna Durbin – Rival to Judy, Nov. 10-11, 2011).
Ok, let’s get to our answers.
1) Question: Where was she born? 1) Des Moines, Iowa; 2) Sheffield, England; 3) Nutley, New Jersey; or 4) Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Answer: Durbin wasn’t known as “Winnepeg’s Sweetheart” for nothing. That’s where she was born as Edna May Durbin.
2) Question: How old is she now? 1) Seventy two; 2) Eighty three; 3) Ninety; or 4) One hundred and four.
Answer: This is a trick question. Fact is, Deanna is no longer with us. She died at the age of 91 in 2013. She had been staying out of the limelight since the late Forties, living in Neauphle-le-Chateau, France with her third husband, French director Charles David. She rejected all offers of a comeback, and gave only one interview in the ensuing decades. Her husband died in 1999.
3) Question: Did she ever win an Academy Award? 1) No, but was nominated several times; 2) Yes; or 3) Yes, but it was shared.
Answer: If you chose No. 3, congratulate yourself. Deanna won the best the Academy Award’s 1939 Best Juvenile Award, which she shared with Mickey Rooney.
4) Question: She made over 20 films and shorts in her 12-year career, yet only one film was in color. Which one?
Answer: 1944’s Can’t Help Singing, which costarred Robert Paige and one of our very favorite character actors, Akim Tamiroff. Deanna plays a politician’s daughter in this western romance with music who follows her boyfriend West during the California gold rush.
5) Question: Was Deanna the voice for Walt Disney’s Snow White?
Answer: Durbin auditioned as the voice of the Snow White in 1937’s animation classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but Walt Disney turned her down because she sounded too mature. She was a teenager at the time.
6) Question: On which radio program was Deanna a regular feature? 1) The Charlie McCarthy Show (with Edgar Bergen); 2) Allen’s Alley with Fred Allen; 3) The Jack Benny Program; or 4) The Eddie Cantor Show.
Answer: Deanna spent two years on Eddie Cantor’s radio show, making her debut in September 1936. She was, incidentally, a big hit.
7) Question: What’s the connection between Deanna Durbin and Anne Frank?
Answer: It was a star-fan thing. Durbin was the Holocaust victim’s favorite movie star. Frank adorned her secret Amsterdam hiding nook with photos of Deanna. If you visit the Frank house you will still see a photo on the wall.
8 ) Question: Who gave her her first screen kiss? In what movie? And why was it front page news?
Answer: It was Robert Stack in his 1939 movie debut in First Love, who provided Deanna with her first onscreen kiss. As to why this event commanded front page attention, it musta been a slow news day. Says Joe: It was a big deal because it was.
9) Question: In what novel does a character claim to have seen a Deanna Durbin film seven times, only he can’t remember which film?
Answer: Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan.
10) Question: Durbin appealed to several key World War II figures who considered her their favorite star. Who are they? 1) Dwight Eisenhower, 2) Albert Speer; 3) Benito Mussolini; 4) Douglas MacArthur; or 5) Winston Churchill.
Answer: Mussolini and Churchill were nuts about Deanna, and MacArthur admired her work as well. Cannot vouch for Speer, however.