The blonde, blue-eyed Powell usually played characters with a gentle mischievous streak in her musical comedies, but she would shatter the light-hearted atmosphere of her films when she sang: A surprisingly powerful coloratura would emerge from the diminutive (5-feet-1) thesp.
Her producer and mentor was MGM’s Joe Pasternak, who had earlier developed the talents of Deanna Durbin at Universal.
Auditioning for Louis B. Mayer and for David O. Selznick, she quickly drew a seven-year contract with MGM in 1943. Her first film, on loan-out, was 1944 musical “Song of the Open Road,” in which the actress played a child film star who runs away. She took her character’s name, Jane Powell,