Local resident Bill Harper, known to some for years for production work and writing for The Star, has written a book focusing on a Hollywood star from his earliest childhood.
"Deanna Durbin: A Hollywood Fairy Tale: The Legend of Edna Mae," focuses on a Canadian native who sprang to fame as a contemporary of Judy Garland. Durbin, known for her singing and acting skills, was most prominent in the late 1930s through the 1940s.
Harper, in a promotional announcement, wrote, "Without any stage or movie experience she flashed on the screen with a box office smash in 1936, at the age of fourteen, and continued with financial successes year after year – movie after movie to become Hollywood’s highest paid actress. In 1949, at the age of 28, she walked away from all of it to take up housekeeping and raising children with her third husband in the environs of Paris, France - stepping out of the spotlight into anonymity. However, when she died April 17, 2013, obituaries from around the world loudly proclaimed – Deanna Durbin was not forgotten."
Among Durbin's most prominent moments were her appearances in such films as "Three Smart Girls," "One Hundred Men and a Girl," and "First Love."
Harper wrote that he first heard of Durbin in the early 2000s, when she was in an advertisement leading into a Universal Studio movie. He "was enchanted," and dove into research. The author joined the staff of The Church of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, in Augusta, in 1991, serving as a pastoral assistant – a role in which his still serves.