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Hollywood Golden Age star Jane Powell has passed away at the age of 92 on Thursday.
Jane died of natural causes at her home in Wilton, Connecticut, film critic and longtime pal Susan Granger told The Hollywood Reporter.
She was most famed for her roles in Hollywood musicals A Date With Judy, Royal Wedding and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
She played Milly, a boarding-house cook who falls in love with frontier farmer Adam and sets out to teach his six brothers a thing or two about manners, in 1954’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
This film is one of the most popular MGM films of all time and was nominated for five Oscars.
Jane also stepped in for June Allyson (who was pregnant) and then Judy Garland (who was fired after missing a rehearsal) to play the wise-cracking sister of Fred Astaire’s character in Donan’s first solo directing effort, the musical romance Royal Wedding in 1951.
She also starred in musicals Two Weeks With Love (1950), Athena (1954) and the Seven Brides follow-up — and Hit the Deck (1955), with all three co-starring Debbie Reynolds.
More recently, Jane played the widowed mother of Alan Thicke’s home-bound psychiatrist character on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains and had stints on the daytime soap operas As the World Turns and Loving and as a woman with dementia on a 2002 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Born Suzanne Lorraine Burce on April 1, 1929, in Portland, Oregon, she sang an aria to win a talent contest on Janet Gaynor’s Stars Over Hollywood radio program.
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MGM execs took notice and signed her to a contract at $225 a week, putting her in the Little Red Schoolhouse.
“We had other advantages, obviously. It was exciting,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 2011.
“You got to meet people you’d never otherwise get to meet. But there’s something young people miss if they don’t have the usual progression from kindergarten to grade school to high school, all of that. There were no sleepovers, no girls’ nights. I didn’t know anybody. It was a lonely life, really.”
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She gained her first movie credit at age 15 in Song of the Open Road (1944), playing a rich, child movie star who wants to hang out with regular kids.
One of her numbers, “Too Much in Love,” received an Oscar nomination for best original song.
Her character in the movie was named Jane Powell, and she was told to take that as her stage name.
Jane was married five times, first to Geary Steffen and lastly to former child star Dickie Moore, who died in September 2015.
Her Date With Judy co-star Elizabeth Taylor was one of her bridesmaids at her first wedding and she was Elizabeth's at her first wedding, to Conrad Hilton.
Jane is survived by her children, Geary, Suzanne and Lindsay, and grandchildren, Skye and Tia.
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