While hiding from the Nazis in the secret annex in Holland, Anne Frank pinned a photo of her favorite movie star to the wall abover her bed.
That Hollywood star was Deanna Durbin.
The picture can still be seen there today. When I saw it, I wept.
Durbin’s light and optimistic musicals rescued Universal Studio from bankruptcy. In 1945 and 1947 Deanna Durbin made more money than any other woman in the United States. While she was active her fan club was the world’s largest.
But Durbin grew disenchanted with her Hollywood career and retired in 1948 at the age of 27. Her career lasted thirteen years in which she starred in twenty-one films.
With her husband she moved to a small French village outside Paris where she continues—she is now 81—to maintain her privacy. In 1983 she granted an interview to film historian David Shipman.
It’s hard to believe but once upon a time Hollywood stars gave hope to the hopeless; once upon a time Hollywood stars represented freedom to the enslaved.