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Deanna Durbin Dead: Former 1930s Child Star Dies At 91

05/01/2013 08:28 am ET | Updated May 01, 2013

Former child star Deanna Durbin has died at the age of 91, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Durbin's son, Peter H. David, was quoted in the "Deanna Durbin Society" newsletter saying his mother had passed away several days ago, but he did not provide any other details about her death.

Durbin gained popularity during the Depression and was known for her "sweet soprano voice" that charmed American audiences, according to the New York Times.

The actress was born Edna Mae Durbin; her British parents moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Los Angeles when she was 2 years old, and she was discovered while still in junior high school. She made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland. Soon after, she signed a contract with Universal, changed her name to Deanna, and was cast in a series of musical comedies, reports Variety.

The Canadian-born actress was reportedly the second-highest paid actress in America in 1946, bringing in just $5,000 less than Bette Davis, with a salary of $323,477 from Universal, according to the Times. Despite her obvious popularity, Durbin would go on to retire just two years later at the age of 29, making "For The Love Of Mary" her final film. The actress had remained out of the public eye ever since.

The former child star, married Charles David, who directed her in the 1945 film "Lady on a Train," in 1951 and together they had one son, Peter. Durbin had previously been married to assistant director Vaughn Paul from 1941 to 1943, and writer-actor Felix Jackson, with whom she had a daughter, Jessica, from 1945 to 1949.

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