|Birthname:||Suzanne Lorraine Burce|
|Born:||1 April 1929|
|Spouse:||Geary Griffin (1949-1953) |
Patrick Nerney (1954-1963)
James Fitzgerald (1965-1975)
David Parlour (1978-1981)
Dickie Moore (1988-present)
Jane Powell (born April 1, 1929) is an American singer, dancer and actress. She was a star of MGM musicals as a teenager in the 1940s, and continued in the 1950s.
Born as Suzanne Lorraine Burce in Portland, Oregon, she sang on the radio as a child, and performed in theater before her film career began in 1944. She appeared in her first film, Song of the Open Road (1944), at the age of 15; her stage name "Jane Powell" was the name of the character she plays in the film, and prior to its release, MGM assigned this to her as her stage name. She sang at the Inauguration Ball for President Harry S. Truman on January 20, 1949. She was very lonely as a child. She did not choose to be a star, her mother did. She was shy and just wanted to be a normal child.
Her first MGM musical was Holiday in Mexico (1946), which brought her to the public's attention, and she was later billed as the co-star in several films including A Date with Judy (1948), and Nancy Goes to Rio (1950).
Powell got the chance to sing and dance with Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951), when she was brought in to replace Judy Garland. Her best-known film is probably Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), opposite Howard Keel, which gave her the opportunity to play a more mature character than previous films. Her other films include: Rich, Young and Pretty (1951), Small Town Girl (1953), Three Sailors and a Girl (1953), Athena (1954), Deep in My Heart (1954), Hit the Deck (1955), and The Girl Most Likely (1957). In 1956 Powell recorded a song, "True Love", that rose to 15 on the Billboard charts and 107 on the pop charts for that year, according to the Joel Whitburn compilation. This was her only single to make the charts.
By the end of the 1950s, Hollywood musicals began to lose popularity, and her film career effectively ended. In a 1995 interview with Robert Osborne, Powell indicated that MGM released her from her contract as part of a regime change that occurred at the studio following the ousting of MGM head Louis B. Mayer, which led to the studio moving away from musicals. Since then Powell has continued to work in television, radio, and live performances. Her stage roles include the touring productions of South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, Carousel, The Girl Next Door and How She Grew, and Irene, in which she made her Broadway debut, following Debbie Reynolds in the title role. She and Howard Keel also appeared on stage together in a revival of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Ms. Powell also toured in the late 1960s in a musical review entitled, "Just 20 Plus Me!" It was done to a recorded track and featured Ms. Powell with 20 handsome "chorus boys". Asked after the performance if the production was going to be made available on a commercial recording, she said simply, "No."
During the 1960s and 1970s Powell appeared regularly on television. She did a stint as one of the What's My Line? Mystery Guests on the popular Sunday Night CBS-TV program. Later, Powell appeared as a guest panelist on the same show. She was also in an episode of the The Love Boat. In addition she appeared in 1963 on an episode of The Judy Garland Show along side Ray Bolger.
Powell lives in Connecticut and Manhattan, with her fifth husband, former child actor Dick Moore. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Actors' Fund of America, and still acts and performs to the present day, most recently in a 2002 episode of .
In 2004, she made a return to the stage as Mama Mizner in the Stephen Sondheim musical Bounce. Despite Powell's great reviews in the part, Bounce was not critically successful and did not move to Broadway.
For one evening, she returned to her hometown, Portland, Oregon, narrating Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with Pink Martini on December 31, 2007. She also appeared on March 9, 2008, with Pink Martini at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City; she sang a duet of "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with lead singer China Forbes.
She has three children from her first two marriages, and has been married five times in total.