Burce, Suzanne Lorraine 1929-
BURCE, Suzanne Lorraine 1929-
PERSONAL: Born April 1, 1929 (some sources cite 1928), in Portland, OR; daughter of Paul (a malt shop owner) and Eileen Burce; married Geary Anthony Steffen, Jr., November 5, 1949 (divorced August 6, 1953); married Patrick Nerney, November 8, 1954 (divorced, 1963); married James Fitzgerald, June 27, 1965 (marriage ended); married David Parlour, October 21, 1978 (divorced, 1981); married Dick Moore (a public relations executive and former child actor), May 21, 1988; children: (first marriage) Geary, Suzanne; (second marriage) Lindsay.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Michael Hartig Agency Ltd., 156 Fifth Ave., Suite 820, New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Actress and singer. Film appearances include Song of the Open Road, United Artists, 1944; Delightfully Dangerous, United Artists, 1945; Holiday in Mexico, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1946; A Date with Judy, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1948; Luxury Liner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1948; Three Daring Daughters, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1948; Nancy Goes to Rio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1950; Two Weeks with Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1950; Rich, Young, and Pretty, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1951; Royal Wedding, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1951; Small Town Girl, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953; Three Sailors and a Girl, Warner Bros., 1953; Athena, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1954; Deep in My Heart, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1954; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1954; Hit the Deck, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1955; 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration, 1955; The Girl Most Likely, Universal, 1957; The Enchanted Island, Warner Bros., 1958; The Female Animal, Universal, 1958; That's Entertainment!, 1974; Tubby the Tuba, 1976; Marie, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1985; That's Dancing!, 1985; Picture This, 1999; and Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, 2002.
Appearances on television series include Turn of Fate, NBC, 1957-58; Loving, ABC, 1985-86; and Growing Pains, 1988-91. Host of the series The Musicals. Appearances on TV miniseries include Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, CBS, 2000. Appearances on TV movies include Mayday at 40,000 Feet!, CBS, 1976, and The Sandy Bottom Orchestra, Showtime, 2000. Appearances on TV specials include Ruggles of Red Gap, NBC, 1957; Standard Oil Anniversary Show, NBC, 1957; Give My Regards to Broadway, NBC, 1959; Meet Me in St. Louis, CBS, 1959; The Victor Borge Show, NBC, 1960; The Victor Borge Special, NBC, 1960; Hooray for Love, CBS, 1960; Feathertop, ABC, 1961; The Jane Powell Show, NBC, 1961; The Danny Thomas Special, NBC, 1967; The Night of 100 Stars II, ABC, 1985; The 11th Annual Circus of the Stars, 1986; Happy Birthday, Hollywood!, ABC, 1987; An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner, CBS, 1989; Burt Reynolds's Conversations With . . . , The Nashville Network, 1991; Nelson and Jeanette, PBS, 1992; Real Memories: Jane Powell, Turner Classic Movies, 1995; The Making of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," 1997. Appearances on episodic television include Toast of the Town, 1954; Alcoa/Goodyear Theatre, NBC, between 1957-1958; The Andy Williams Show, 1964; "The Jitterbug," The Judy Garland Show, 1964; Fantasy Island, ABC, 1978; The Love Boat, ABC, 1981; "Old Habits Die Hard," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987; As the World Turns; The Dick Powell Show, NBC; and The June Allyson Show, CBS. Other television appearances include Wheeler and Murdoch, 1970, and "The Andersons: Dear Elaine," The Letters, ABC, 1973.
Stage appearances include Irene, Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1973; I Do! I Do!, Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, 1980; The Night of 100 Stars II, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1985; Ancestral Voices, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, NJ, 2000; Avow, Century Theatre, New York City, 2000; 70, Girls, 70, York Theatre Company, New York City, 2000; and Nothing like a Dame 2000, Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York City, 2000. Appeared in the solo show The Girl Next Door and How She Grew (see also below); also appeared in Cinderella, New York City Opera; in AfterPlay, off-Broadway production; and in Chapter Two, Marriage-Go-Round, and Same Time, Next Year. Major tours include Carousel!, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific.
Recordings include the video The 1950s: Music, Memories, and Milestones, 1988. Also appeared in Fight Back with Fitness, an exercise video for arthritis sufferers. Also recorded the album Change Partners, 1994. Singles include "Ride on a Rainbow" and "I Have You to Thank," both released by Verve.
AWARDS, HONORS: A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
AS JANE POWELL
The Girl Next Door . . . and How She Grew (autobiography), Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.
Also author of monologue The Girl Next Door . . . and How She Grew.
SIDELIGHTS: Born Suzanne Lorraine Burce, Jane Powell appeared in her first film, Song of the Open Road (1944), when she was just fifteen years old. Her big break came in 1951, when she replaced June Allyson (who had become pregnant) and Judy Garland (who was ill) in Royal Wedding. Performing dances choreographed for Allyson and Garland, with steps she had not had an opportunity to sufficiently practice, Powell nevertheless made a name for herself in her role.
Throughout the 1950s, Powell's career in Hollywood flourished, and she associated with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, with whom she was so close that each served as a bridesmaid at the other's first wedding. Powell sang at President Harry S Truman's inaugural ball in January 1949, and reached the pinnacle of her success with her performance as Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). But as the bottom began falling out of the studio system that had prevailed during the golden age of Hollywood, and as the big-budget, lush musicals that had proliferated since the 1930s became a thing of the past, Powell's career as a starlet of the silver screen abruptly faded. She was not yet thirty years old.
In the decades that followed, Powell made a name for herself on stage and the small screen. She also created a one-woman act based on her life, calling it The Girl Next Door . . . and How She Grew. The title also became the name of her autobiography, published in 1988. Talking with Marian Christy of the Boston Globe, Powell said of her own life, "I've changed. I'm not so frantic, so nervous. Sometimes I express ideas I never knew. I used to be a person who felt held down. All I ever heard was: 'You can't!' 'You shouldn't!'.... I've gotten better as I've gotten older. I used to have highs and lows. Now my attitude is more steady. I used to worry if I wasn't worried. As I've gotten older, I don't have anxieties." More than a decade later, in 2000, Simi Horwitz of Back Stage found the septuagenarian actress still going strong, and appearing off-Broadway in Bill C. Davis's Avow.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 34, 2001.
Powell, Jane, The Girl Next Door . . . and How She Grew, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.
Back Stage, August 4, 2000, Simi Horwitz, "From MGM's Girl-Next-Door to Modern Mom" (interview), p. 31.
Boston Globe, July 27, 1988, Marian Christy, "Confidence Finally Arrives" (interview), p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, June 17, 1988, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Girl Next Door . . . and How She Grew, p. 52.
USA Today, May 20, 1987, Nanci Hellmich, "Jane Powell at Fifty-eight: Time for Savoring" (interview and profile), p. D4.*