Jane Powell
Date of Birth
Apr 01, 1929
Birth Place:
Portland, OR


Possessed of an extraordinarily wide-ranging operatic singing voice, Jane Powell was a radio performer from childhood. She took dancing and acting lessons, then made her film debut at 15 in Song of the Open Road (1944), a deliberate effort to recapture the charm of Deanna Durbin musicals of the 1930s. Signed by MGM in 1945, Powell was cast as the ingénue in several of the studio's top musicals: She introduced the song "It's a Most Unusual Day" in A Date With Judy (1948), and played Fred Astaire's sister/dancing partner in Royal Wedding (1950). After peaking with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Powell's film career leveled off, ending altogether with a misfire attempt at a dramatic role (complete with dark hair and "native" skin coloring) in Enchanted Island (1958). She kept busy thereafter with plenty of TV performances, concerts, summer stock, and even Broadway, replacing former MGM colleague Debbie Reynolds in the 1970s revival of Irene. Somewhat at odds with her girl-next-door image, Jane Powell was married five times: Her fifth husband was former juvenile star Dickie Moore, with whom she'd fallen in love while he was interviewing her for his book on child actors. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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