The Girl Next Door--And How She Grew: An Autobiography

Jane Powell, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06757-1
There is little resemblance between the endearing star of early Hollywood musicals and the self-pitying, resentful Powell of this autobiography. Claiming she was unwanted and exploited by her mother, the actress writes that she was forced to begin working, in 1931, at age two. Under her own name, Suzanne Burce, she gained recognition as a singer on radio and in vaudeville. In 1943, she signed a contract that established her as Jane Powell at MGM, in the career she ``never wanted.'' The book is full of complaints by the woman who recalls herself as friendless, snubbed by other young contract players and always working. Yet she describes the thrills of making major films Royal Wedding , Seven Brides for Seven Brothers , etc.and good times with contemporaries at Roddy McDowall's house. McDowall and Powell's father, incidentally, are among the few people she cares for. She disparages numerous others: the new head of MGM who dismissed her in 1955, three husbands, ``Mama'' who looms as most unnatural even for a stage mother, and so on. Living happily with Dick Brown (also a former child star), Powell reports that now she is enjoying her current successes on stage and TV. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
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