Deanna Durbin, who made two dozen movies and recorded a hundred songs, has died at the age of 91, her family has announced.
Little was heard from Deanna after her fourth marriage in Paris, in 1950, after which she settled into discreet French society. Requests to play the original Eliza in My Fair Lady were politely rebuffed.
In the 1940s, she was an icon to young girls. Her picture was on the wall of Anne Frank’s hiding place.
She was one of the first worldwide stars. Among her greatest fans were Mstistlav Rostropovich, who pursued her films as a boy, and Kiri te Kanawa’s music teacher in New Zealand, who trained all her pupils to sing the Deanna way.
Music programmes from 1940s Los Angeles feature full-page ads by several maestros, each claiming to be Deanna Durbin’s only teacher.