Friday, April 1, 2011
Jane Powell (born April 1, 1929)
Jane Powell (born Suzanne Lorraine Burce; April 1, 1929) is an American singer, dancer and actress.
After rising to fame as a singer in her home state of Oregon, Powell was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer while still in her teens. Once there, the studio utilized her vocal, dancing and acting talents, casting her in such musicals as Royal Wedding, with Fred Astaire, A Date with Judy, with friend Elizabeth Taylor, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, with Howard Keel. In the late 1950s, her film career slowed, only to be replaced with a busy theater and television career.
As of 2010, Powell lives with her fifth husband, former child star Dickie Moore, in New York City and Connecticut, and is still active in television and theater.
Despite the same last name she is not related to actors William Powell, Dick Powell, or Eleanor Powell.
Powell lives in Manhattan and (since 1985), in Wilton, Connecticut, 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
In 2003, 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. In March 2009 she appeared and sang "Love is Where You Find It" in a show in which Michael Feinstein celebrated Movie Musicals and MGM Musicals in particular. She performed again with Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl on September 10, 2010.
She has three children from her first two marriages, and has been married five times in total.
Her first marriage was to former figure skater Gearhardt "Geary" Anthony Steffen. He was a former skating partner to Sonja Henie, turned insurance broker. They married on November 5, 1949, and divorced on August 6, 1953. They had two children, Gearhardt Anthony "G.A." (pronounced Jay) Steffen III (born 1951) and Suzanne "Sissy" Ilene Steffen (born November 21, 1952) Friend and fellow actress Elizabeth Taylor served as one of her bridesmaids, with Powell returning the favor during Taylor's 1950 wedding to Conrad "Nicky" Hilton.
On November 8, 1954, Powell married Patrick W. Nerney, an automobile executive nine years her senior, in Ojai, California. Nerney had previously been married to actress Mona Freeman, with whom he had a daughter, also named Mona. Daughter Lindsey Averill Nerney (Powell states she named her for the California-based olive processor) was born from the union on February 1, 1956. The couple divorced in 1963.
Powell's fifth marriage, to former child star Dickie Moore, has been her longest. Powell and Moore have been married since 198, when they met while Moore was researching for his own autobiography, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, But Don't Have Sex or Take the Car."
Her autobiography was published in 1988. For her 80th birthday, her husband and Robert Osborne, a film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, organized a party at a New York hotel for forty-five of Powell's friends and family members.