STARFest Logo
2023 Event:
Melanie Gall

Hosted by STARFest Director Michelle Steinhusen

Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood

Where Judy Garland is remembered as an entertainment icon, Deanna Durbin – who turned her back on Hollywood at 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 Melanie Gall

On October 17, hear Melanie Gall perform the one-woman show Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood at the Arden Theatre. Tonight, join us for an in-depth conversation about her book of the same name.

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

The 1930s were 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 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.

Michelle Steinhusen is an avid reader, the adult programming librarian at St. Albert Public Library, and the Director of STARFest Readers Festival.