Jane Powell, one of the last surviving stars of Golden Age movie musicals, has died. She was 92. Powell made her film debut in 1944 and went on to star in several important MGM musicals, including Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with Howard Keel. She also starred in Broadway, appearing in productions of Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady.
Susan Granger, a spokesperson for Powell's family and a friend of the actress, told Deadline that Powell died of natural causes at her home in Wilton, Connecticut. Powell lived in Connecticut with her fifth husband, former child actor and publicist Dickie Moore, whom she married in 1988. Moore died in 2015.
Powell was born Suzanne Lorraine Bruce on April 1, 1929 in Portland, Oregon. After singing locally, she visited Los Angeles in 1943 with her parents and won a radio competition. She attracted the attention of MGM, but her first film was made at United Artists. In 1944's Song of the Open Road, she played a character named Jane Powell, which she made her stage name. The movie even features a scene with Powell and the great comedian W.C. Fields.
She quickly rose through the ranks at MGM with hits Delightfully Dangerous (1945), Three Daring Daughters (1948), and A Date With Judy (1948), which co-starred Elizabeth Taylor. In 1951, she starred opposite Astaire as his sister in Royal Wedding. Although best known today for the scene where Astaire dances around the walls and ceilings of his room, the film also cemented Powell's star status. She shared shared the memorable "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life" song with Astaire.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is another important film on Powell's resume. The project reunited her with Royal Wedding director Stanley Donen. The film was a huge hit when it hit theaters in late 1954. Keel and Powell both starred in a 1978 stage version of the movie. Powell's other movie credits include Hit the Deck (1955), The Girl Most Likely (1958), The Female Animal (1958) and Enchanted Island (1958).
Powell retired from films in the late 1950s as interest in musicals began to wane. She transitioned to television though, appearing in episodes of Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Murder, She Wrote. She also starred in eight episodes of Growing Pains, playing Alan Thicke's on-screen mother. Her final acting role was in a 2002 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in which she played a victim of elder abuse. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Powell is survived by her children, Geary Anthony Steffen III, Suzanne Steffen, and Lindsay Cavalli, and granddaughters Skye Cavalli and Tia Cavalli.