Jane Powell (April 1, 1929). During the summer of 1943, while on vacation in Hollywood, with her parents. Jane appeared on Janet Gaynor's radio show called, Hollywood Showcase: Stars over Hollywood. The show was a talent competition and one of the other contestants was Kathie Lee Gifford's mother, Joan Epstein. Powell won the competition and auditioned for MGM. Without even taking a screen test, Powell was then signed to a seven-year contract. Within two months, Powell had been loaned out to United Artists for her first film, Song of the Open Road.
Powell's second film was, Delightfully Dangerous, which Powell felt was the "worst movie she's ever made." Her performances began to improve in the films, Holiday in Mexico, Three Daring Daughters, in which she co-starred with Jeanette MacDonald. Soon she was given top billing in a string of musicals: A Date with Judy (1948) with Elizabeth Taylor and Nancy Goes to Rio (1950) with Ann Sothern. Powell danced with Fred Astaire in the film, Royal Wedding (1951), when she was brought in to replace June Allyson, who had become pregnant, and then Judy Garland, who dropped out due to illness. Her best known film is, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), opposite Howard Keel, which gave her the opportunity to play a more mature character than her 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).
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Jane Powell Fun Facts:
Within her first few years at MGM, Powell made six films and sang at the inauguration ball for President Harry S. Truman on January 20, 1949.
Powell's character in Song of the Open Road was named Jane Powell, and this was how she came up with her stage name.
In 1945, Jane sang Because at the wedding of Esther Williams and Ben Gage.