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Today’s Birthday April 1: US performer Jane Powell (1929-).
Jane Powell was a trained dancer and operatic vocalist who was one of MGM’s American actresses in 1940s and 1950s Hollywood.
Born on April 1, 1929 in Oregon, she had been singing on the radio and on stage for years before she landed her first film role at the age of 15 in Song of the Open Road (1944).
For the rest of her teens she was given profile-raising roles in films like MGM musical Holiday in Mexico (1946).
But it was in 1951 when Powell got her lucky break, acting in Royal Wedding opposite Fred Astaire.
First June Allyson pulled out of the project due to pregnancy, and then Judy Garland’s MGM contract was terminated, which meant Powell was offered the coveted role.
The part soon led to other roles. She had hits with Rich, Young and Pretty (1951) and Small Town Girl (1953).
But it was her role in the 1954 movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers that was the pinnacle of her career.
Unlike the lovestruck adolescents of previous roles, she played a more mature, appealing figure and it is widely believed the film showed Powell at her best.
She made a few more movies before Hollywood grew tired of musicals and she returned to the stage and small screen.
Powell continued to act into her late 70s, making an appearance on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as recently as 2002.
Despite making her living playing wholesome young women, Powell has been married five times.
She married her current husband, former child star Dickie Moore, in 1988.