A Date With Janet Powell

 Jane Powell today. Photo by Frank Rizzo.

Jane Powell today. Photo by Frank Rizzo.

The first thing you notice about Jane Powell are her eyes, which are big, round and as blue and deep as a Hollywood swimming pool.

These are the same eyes that sparkled with teen innocence in the 1948 film musical, “A Date with Judy,” that lit up as she danced opposite Fred Astairein 1951’s “Royal Wedding” and that shot looks of determination in 1954’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” one of the last great films in MGM’s Golden Age of Musicals.

The petite Powell, still slender and stylish at 88, recently dropped by at a luncheon hangout, the Lunch Box, not far from her Wilton home where she had lived since the ’80s with her husband of 28 years, former child actor Dickie Moore, who died in 2015.

 Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell in "A Date with Judy"

Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Powell in "A Date with Judy"

“I don’t think about the past except now, when we’re talking about it,” says Powell over a toasted bagel, jam and coffee. She smiles with a combination of spark and ache and gives a small shrug. “I never felt I was really there anyway. I always pictured myself as a fly who was up in the corner looking down at myself. I never feel I was there.” 

 Jane Powell. Photo by Chris Setter.

Jane Powell. Photo by Chris Setter.

She is content, she says, to live alone with her toy poodle Venus and Persian cat Dusty. She supervises her garden, finds spiritual comfort in a local non-denominational church and enjoys not having to do anything she doesn't want to do. “I’m not very sentimental when it comes to the past,” she says. “I don’t live there and I feel for people who do because it’s never going to be the same as you remember it.”

Born Suzanne Burce, she spent her earliest years an only child in Portland, Ore. Her parents, like many of that time, “hoped their child was the next Shirley Temple.”

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 Frank Rizzo and Jane Powell

Frank Rizzo and Jane Powell