Jane Powell, ‘Royal Wedding’ Star and Hollywood Golden Age Actress, Dies at 92

by Anna Dunn

Golden age actress Jane Powell has died at 92. Powell was known for her work in Royal Wedding and singing at President Harry S. Truman’s Inaugural Ball. According to Deadline, Powell died peacefully of natural causes in her home in Connecticut. She shared that home with her husband, Dick Moore, who passed away in 2015.

Powell was one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden age to continue acting into the 2000s. It makes her career one of her generation’s longest.

Deadline reports that Powell was born in Portland Oregon. She became quite the successful singer in her home city. She performed all over Oregon as the “Oregon Victory Girl,” a World War II era position that helped sell war bonds. When she moved to Hollywood, she quickly signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Shortly after signing with MGM, Powell was thrust into the world of Film, specifically musical films.

Powell Played a Version of Herself in her First Film

For her film Debut, Powell got to do what not many first-time actors get to do. She played a fictional version of herself in Song of the Open Road. The film follows a teenage singer moving to Hollywood and linking up with the greats.

But her popularity continued to grow in the mid to late 40s. She acted in films such as Delightfully Dangers and A Date With Judy. She also performed in multiple Broadway musicals and had a successful singing career.

In 1951, Powell got the role of her lifetime in Royal Wedding. She played the lead as Ellen Bowen alongside Fred Astaire, who played her brother. In the film, the Bowen siblings are a song and dance duo living in London amidst the excitement of the wedding between Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth. Powell replaced Judy Garland in the lead role.

Jane Powell Continued Acting in Musicals after ‘Royal Wedding’

The actress was a part of several future musical films, and she landed another infamous role with her work on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. She performed historically important musical numbers such as When You’re In Love, Goin’ Courtin’, and Wonderful, Wonderful Day.

With so much musical film success, she also landed plenty of roles on Broadway, starring in the 1973 broadway production of Irene. She continued her broadway and theatre career through the late 2000s.

Her final screen credit was on an episode of Law & Order: SVU in 2002. She played a truly harrowing role in an episode about elder abuse. In 2007, Powell occasionally sang with the band Pink Martini at the Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl.

Powell’s career in film and theatre left a major mark on the Golden Age and she made a permanent mark on entertainment history. Powell is survived by her children, Suzanne Steffen, Geary Anthony Steffen III, Lindsay Cavalli, and her granddaughters.