Speed Reads

rest in peace

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers star Jane Powell dies at 92

Jane Powell, the star of Hollywood Golden Age musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, died Thursday at her home in Wilton, Connecticut. She was 92. 

Powell's friend, Susan Granger, said the actress and singer died of natural causes. Granger's father, S. Sylvan Simon, directed Powell in her first movie, 1944's Song of the Open Road. 

Powell, born Suzanne Lorraine Bruce, first began performing at age 5, singing on the radio in Portland, Oregon, and she landed a contract with MGM as a teenager. At 21, she starred in 1950's Royal Wedding, dancing onscreen with Fred Astaire. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ended up being a surprise hit in 1954, with Powell saying in a 2000 interview that "the studio didn't think it was going to do anything. MGM thought that Brigadoon was going to be the big moneymaker that year. It didn't turn out that way. We were the ones that went to the Radio City Music Hall, which was always such a coup."

Once Hollywood musicals started going by the wayside, Powell found herself only landing roles in minor films, and she started performing in musical theater productions. She starred on Broadway, replacing Debbie Reynolds in Irene, and also toured with shows like The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Powell married her fifth husband, Dick Moore, in 1988; he died in 2015. She is survived by her daughter, Lindsey Nerney.