Monday, August 14, 2017

Deanna vs. Judy

Garland and Durbin in Every Sunday
(neither one of them look fat to me)
I love film trivia and the story of Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland is interesting and amusing at the same time. 

Although few remember Deanna Durbin, practically all of us know superstar Judy Garland! Perhaps that's because of The Wizard of Oz, which used to be shown on television every spring when I was growing up, or the fact that those old MGM musicals used to be shown on TV before the days of cable and Turner Classic Movies.

Both actresses started out at MGM as young girls. When they appeared together in Every Sunday singing a duet, Garland using her powerful jazzy vocals and Durbin in her extraordinary operatic voice, MGM executives wondered if it would be wise to keep the two young singers under contract. 

Here's what happened next from Deanna Durbin Devotees:

Judy Garland
The story goes that while Louis B. Mayer was away on a trip he instructed his people at MGM to "drop the fat one." They misunderstood and mistakenly let Deanna go. 

When Mayer found out that Judy Garland was still at the studio and that Deanna was gone – he was very upset. That's just one of the reasons Mayer was never overly fond of Judy. He also preferred Deanna's classical singing over Judy's jazzy repertoire.

Soon after Deanna was released by MGM, Universal Studios gave her a contract on the 13th of June and cast her in the September production of THREE SMART GIRLS which became a major smash hit. An executive from MGM was overheard speaking about the two girls saying: "Universal got Tiffany's and we're stuck with Woolworth's."


Deanna Durbin
To this day, Deanna Durbin is the only actress in motion picture history to have ten hits in a row. The first ten were both artistic and financial successes. All of that money rolling into Universal certainly bothered Louis B. Mayer.

And the rest is history... Judy Garland eventually became a huge star at MGM and she certainly has greater name recognition to this day!

I know you must be familiar with Judy Garland, but have you ever heard of Deanna Durbin?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

4 comments:

Norma Beishir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norma Beishir said...

I'd heard of Deanna Durbin but not many of the details of the connection between them. I wonder, did they get along, or were they more like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford?

William Kendall said...

Yes, I have heard of her.

Maria McKenzie said...

@Norma: They were actually life-long friends! Deanna retired young (after making a fortune) and moved to France with her husband. I think I read that when Judy was touring there in the 1960's she gave Deanna a call, and Deanna said something like, "Girl, you're still at it?!"

@William: She was one of your fellow Canadians, btw;).