1981 Photo of Deanna Durbin

A post-1940s photo of reclusive megastar Deanna Durbin is rare. I'd seen the famous early '80s photo that she'd sent to Life Magazine to refute the rumor that she was plump, but it was published in grainy black and white and not sharp enough.

That's why I nearly leaped out of my seat when I found this:

This photo was taken in Paris in 1981 by her husband, Charles David (director of Lady On A Train). It was later given to Professor William Everson of NYU Cinema Studies

The lady is stunning and stylish at sixty, of course. But what eye-popping color! This must be what audiences felt like when they saw her first technicolor movie.  Wow!


  1. That's a wonderful picture and she's definitely not plump! I believe she's still alive, correct?

  2. I can't thank you enough for sharing that find. I've just been wondering what Deanna Durbin movie I would watch today.

  3. Oh my, that's wonderful!!!!!

    To Victoria, yes, happily she's still alive. She celebrated her 89th birthday last December.

    Best wishes,

  4. Great picture. I've always thought that it would be a fun hobby to find old houses and obtain permission from the owners to search their attics for old pictures, stamps, books, and so on, with the understanding that you'd just record in your scrapbook anything interesting or valuable that you found, with perhaps a copy of pictures of historic value. I actually did this a couple of times in Ithaca, when as a student I was hired to clean out the attics of several professors. I found some great old newspapers that someone had tucked away long ago, plus some old stamps of value. I guess that's where I got the idea for the hobby. Driving through small towns when crossing the U.S., I could just picture the historic treasure troves in those attics. The basements, not so much.

  5. My comment, part 2 (the comment fairy for your blog is very fussy, for me at least. I always have to submit multiple times.) Your picture also reminded me that I dated a young woman back in the 60s who worked at Polaroid as a software engineer. The company had a big building on Route 128 near Boston. Who could have guessed back then that the company would declare bankruptcy in 2011 (a month ofter 9/11) and that the creative director of the new Polaroid would be Lady Gaga.

  6. How wonderful to see Deanna Durbin because her films are so extraordinarily beautiful.I recently viewed: " His Butler's Sister" and there is a Russian Song that is magnificently performed.I also get the feeling that she was in love with Franchot Tone. The chemistry is undeniable.I am very proud that she was born in Canada and that her talent was recognized by Universal so that the world could be blessed with her singing.If Deanna Durbin reads this blog, I want you to know how much you are stll loved by your listening audience. As a teacher, I have shown your performances to children to inspire their love of music. So thank you, and God bless you for sharing your gift.

    A Music Teacher in Toronto, Canada

  7. To A Music Teacher in Toronto, Canada:

    You might be interested in perusing the forums of the Deanna Durbin Devotees, one of the very first fan clubs for this megastar. Like our lovely leading lady, the DDDs are still alive and kicking.

    They also have an address for sending fan mail to Deanna Durbin. Be aware that due to the volume of fan letters Ms. Durbin rarely responds to these missives, which is understandable.

    You might also enjoy the Deanna Durbin Blog which features reviews of Ms. Durbin's movies, as well as newspaper clippings and magazine pages in which our star is mentioned.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    - Java

  8. I am able to buy only half of Deanna Durbin's movies in DVD. I wonder where I can buy her other DVD movies. I enjoy her movies because tahere are direct, simple and beautiful. By R. Chow

  9. R. Chow,
    The short answer is you probably have all the official Durbin DVDs.

    Out of Durbin's 21 feature-length movies, there are only 11 in the DVD format.

    For a detailed answer, read my post on the subject here:ABOUT DEANNA DURBIN DVDS AND VHS TAPES

  10. Dear Java's Journey I have been a fan of Deanna Durbin since 1950, the year I was born. My dad was so in awe of her, he named me after her. I have all of her CD'S and her movies. I know that she can't read all of her fan mail,but is it possible to get her address? Thank so much! Deanna Jackson

  11. Anonymous,
    The last known address for Deanna Durbin is the following:

    Deanna Durbin David
    B.P. 3315
    Cedex 03
    Paris 75123

    This address was retrieved from the fan mail section of The Deanna Durbin Devotees - a fan club that has existed since the beginning of Ms. Durbin's popularity.

    You might want to peruse their forums at the following web address: http://www.deannadurbindevotees.com

    Also, you can check out the Amazing Deanna Durbin blog for reviews of her films.

    Best Wishes,

  12. Deanna Durbin was a true Hollywood Ledgend with her magical smile, beautiful looks, velvety complexion and a amazing voice. My parents were ardent fans of hers in the 1930's & 1940's. So i became to absolutely adore her films and amazing voice growing up as a child in the 1950's & 1960's and to this day love just watching her classic Hollywood Films and listening to her truly wonderful magical voice. I live near to where Deanna's father and sister was born in Manchester England. I was so thrilled to see a photograph of Deanna taken in 1981 she looks just as good now as she did in her Hollywood Heyday ! Thankyou Deanna Durbin for bringing so much joy and happiness to so many people the world over ! We love you x Ian W Saunders Manchester England. 15 October 2011

  13. Laird, I appreciate the story. It's great to have another Durbin fan.

    - Java

  14. She is dead now. May she rest in peace. Thanks for all the tunes, and for all the movies!


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"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email: java-rush@hotmail.com


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