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Performing Arts History & Criticism

Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood

by (author) Melanie Gall

Globe Pequot
Initial publish date
Aug 2022
History & Criticism, Rich & Famous
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price
    $21.99 USD

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The 1930s was a magical age in Hollywood, with Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney, Bette Davis and Clark Gable lighting up the silver screen. But Deanna Durbin's fame surpassed them all. Born in Canada, Deanna was “discovered” by starmaker Eddie Cantor, producer Joe Pasternak and director Henry Koster, and she quickly became the world’s most celebrated star. She saved Universal Studios from ruin, she was a favourite of Winston Churchill and Anne Frank, and she became the highest-paid woman in America.


From the start, Deanna’s life was irrevocably connected with that of another young ingénue, Judy Garland. Deanna and Judy were wildly talented, ambitious, and strong-willed young women who followed vastly different paths to stardom. While fame was thrust upon Deanna, Judy spent years struggling for success and their early friendship soon turned into a lifelong rivalry.


Despite her tragic life, Judy Garland is remembered as an entertainment icon, beloved by millions. However, Deanna Durbin—who turned her back on Hollywood at the age of twenty-eight to pursue love and happiness—has been largely forgotten. But Deanna’s legacy endures, and this first-ever biography tells of how her gorgeous voice and winning charm vaulted her to worldwide fame and how a thirteen-year-old girl transformed moviemaking and influenced a generation of fans as the first teenage superstar.


About the author

Contributor Notes

Melanie Gall is a professional musician and music historian who holds advanced degrees from several academic institutions, including Manhattan School of Music in New York, Mozarteum University in Salzburg, and Glenn Gould School in Toronto. Melanie is an internationally-acclaimed performer and has sung at Lincoln Center and Royal Albert Hall. She has also written several plays featuring historic music and “Ingenue,” about Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland, had a sold out Off-Broadway run at SoHo Playhouse and won a Best Musical Award at the Adelaide Festival. Melanie divides her time between Alberta, Canada and New York City.