American actress/singer Susanna Foster was 11 years old when a friend of her family recorded her voice and sent the results to MGM. That studio had recently lost Deanna Durbin to Universal, thus was casting about for a pre-teen songstress who could be groomed for stardom. Foster sat out her contract taking singing lessons, and was dropped before she'd even seen a camera, reportedly due to an MGM executive who was promoting his own wife. Paramount cast Foster in a tiny role in The Great Victor Herbert (1939), which led to an "introducing" assignment in There's Magic in Music (1939). In a deliberate attempt to avoid the cutesy-poo image of Deanna Durbin, Foster was cast in her first starring picture as a street-wise toughie who happened to have a gorgeous voice. This image didn't stick, and soon Foster was playing goodie-goodies. In 1942, Universal studios, which always liked to have a few stray sopranos on hand just in case, signed Foster to co-star with Nelson Eddy and Claude Rains in The Phantom of the Opera (1943). As always, Foster sang like an angel, but her acting was easily overshadowed by both Rains and Eddy. In 1944, Universal decided to re-use the Phantom sets for a similar period musical, The Climax, which paired Foster with Boris Karloff--again no contest. Outgrowing her youthful charm, Foster became hard to cast (and somewhat difficult personally, it is said). Realizing that Universal didn't have anything worthwhile lined up for her, Foster retired from the screen, declaring that she'd always hated her film career. Following an unsuccessful marriage to singer Wilbur Evans, Susanna Foster faded into private life, taking clerical work to support herself and her sons and turning down all offers to resume her singing career.