Jane Powell, the musical star of Hollywood’s golden age as Seven wives for seven brothers, died Thursday at her home in Wilton, Connecticut. She was 92 years old.
Powell’s friend Susan Granger said the actress and singer died of natural causes. Granger’s father, S. Sylvan Simon, directed Powell in his first film, 1944 Song of the open road.
Powell, born Suzanne Lorraine Bruce, began performing at the age of 5, singing on radio in Portland, Oregon, and landed a contract with MGM as a teenager. At 21, she performed in the 1950s Royal wedding, dancing on screen with Fred Astaire. Seven wives for seven brothers ended up being a surprise hit in 1954, with Powell saying in an interview in 2000 that “the studio didn’t think it was going to do anything. MGM thought that Brigadoon was going to be the big money maker that year. It didn’t happen that way. We were the ones who went to Radio City Music Hall, which was always such a hit. “
Once Hollywood musicals started to die out, Powell only found herself landing roles in minor films and she began performing in musical theater productions. She performed on Broadway, replacing Debbie Reynolds in Irene, and has 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.