World Mourns The Death Of Deanna Durbin

For a moment, forget “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” and the Boston bombing and “Iron Man 3.” Why? Because something much more important to our cultural history has just occurred: Deanna Durbin has died. Who? you ask. As well you might: this bright child songstress, who lit up the movies in the 1930s and 40s and whom some preferred to the other talented juvenile of the time, Judy Garland, has died at the age of 91. I’m pulverized by this news. It was long a dream of mine to interview Miss Durbin, long after she had receded into the mists of that city where so many retired divas (Callas, Dietrich, et al) go to die. But she rarely sat down with journalists to kibbitz; the last official interview was in 1983. So committed was she to her privacy and keeping her back turned on the entertainment world that when Garland called her from London, after one of Judy’s million comeback concerts, to crow about the audience reception, Deanna replied: “Are you still in that asshole business?” That’s the way to be, and if I find Planet Earth a little dimmer today I am comforted in the knowledge that she and Judy are duetting away in Old Hollywood Heaven, which is the only afterlife that I wanna get into.

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