August 31, 2011

Deanna Durbin's 3rd Wedding Venue is a Perfect Fit

After her retirement from films in the late 1940s, Deanna Durbin married for the third time on December 21, 1950 to director Charles Henri David (Lady On A Train). The ceremony was held in city hall in the French village of Sarreguemines. The Pittsburgh Press remarks about the relative stillness of the proceedings for the movie star, contrasting it with the “showy Hollywood style weddings” seen around postwar France. However, the venue was the perfect beginning for the couple’s new life together.
Pittsburgh Press Announces Durbin Marriage Dec 21, 1950

Ms. Durbin states in a 1952 interview for the Syracruse Herald-Journal,
“I gave a good chunk of my life to the movies and missed a normal girlhood. I am going to run a real home for my own …children.” 
The star further states that same year in the Corpus Christ Times that 
“… I can see how much Jessica [her first child] missed by not having [me around]. When she was a baby, I was at the studio from 6 in the morning until 8 at night. During that time she was in the care of a nurse, and heaven knows what would happen to her while I was at the studio.”
Ms. Durbin and Charles David envisioned a different life for themselves, a quieter existence. Their marriage ceremony reflects the choice and  the town’s history parallels somewhat the bride‘s own life up to that point.

Merdian Daily Journal mentions the engaged couple's plans - Dec 16, 1950

The tranquil town of Sarreguemines, which lies about 47 miles from David’s birthplace, borders Germany at the confluence of the Blies and the Sarre rivers. Much like Deanna Durbin’s multiple and converging talents in the modern movie business, the convenient and vivacious place became very attractive to tradesmen by the end of the 13th century.

The village changed hands between warring states more than once, and was often a possession  of oppressive forces, not unlike a film star with her handlers. City officials note that in the 14th century “Sarreguemines threw off its feudal yoke and became governed by an autonomous municipal body,” much like Ms. Durbin’s move from a profitable but abusive movie star life to a more liberating suburban existence after retiring.

Though the Pittsburgh Press marvels that Ms. Durbin‘s wedding “attracted little attention from the residents….,” and  that “no crowds gathered to cheer or toss rice,” Sarreguemines suits the couple’s resolution to bring sanity and peace to their new family. The village’s history of determination through as series of ups and downs seems a fitting place for Universal Studios’ moneymaking movie phenomenon to throw off the bonds of stardom and march resolutely toward a married life away from Hollywood.
Durbin and David with son Peter, early 1950s

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