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Debbie Reynolds

At the peak of her career, actress Debbie Reynolds was America's sweetheart, the archetypal girl next door; best remembered for her work in Hollywood musicals, she appeared in the genre's defining moment, Singin' in the Rain, as well as many other notable successes. Born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas, she entered the film industry by winning the Miss Burbank beauty contest in 1948, resulting in a contract with Warner Bros. However, the studio cast her in small roles in only two films -- 1948's The June Bride and 1950's The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady -- and she soon exited for the greener pastures of MGM, where she first appeared in Three Little Words. A more significant turn in 1950's Two Weeks with Love garnered Reynolds strong notices, and soon she was touted as the new Judy Garland, with a role in 1951's Mr. Imperium also on the horizon.

Still, star Gene Kelly initially opposed her casting in his 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain; Reynolds acquitted herself more than admirably alongside the likes of Donald O'Connor and Jean Hagen, however, and the film remains one of the greatest Hollywood musicals ever produced. A series of less distinguished musicals followed, among them 1953's I Love Melvin, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, and Give a Girl a Break; on loan to RKO, she scored a major success in 1954's Susan Slept Here, and upon returning to MGM was awarded with a new and improved seven-year contract. However, the studio continued to insert Reynolds into lackluster projects like the health-fad satire Athena and the musical Hit the Deck; finally, in 1955 she appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in the hit The Tender Trap, followed by a well-regarded turn as a blushing bride in The Catered Affair a year later.

Additionally, Reynolds teamed with real-life husband Eddie Fisher in the musical Bundle of Joy; the couple's children also went on to showbiz success -- daughter Carrie became a popular actress, novelist, and screenwriter, while son Todd became a director. In 1957 Reynolds starred in Tammy and the Bachelor, the first in a series of popular teen films that also included 1961's Tammy Tell Me True, 1963's Tammy and the Doctor, and 1967's Tammy and the Millionaire; her other well-received films of the period included 1959's It Started with a Kiss, 1961's The Pleasure of His Company, and 1964's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. In 1959, Reynolds' marriage to Eddie Fisher ended in divorce when he left her for Elizabeth Taylor; the effect was an outpouring of public sympathy that only further increased her growing popularity, and it was rumored that by the early '60s she was earning millions per picture.

By the middle of the decade, however, Reynolds' star was waning. While described by the actress herself as her favorite film, 1966's The Singing Nun was not the hit MGM anticipated; its failure finally convinced the studio to offer her characters closer to her own age, but neither 1967's Divorce American Style nor the next year's How Sweet It Is performed well, and Reynolds disappeared from the screen to mount her own television series, the short-lived Debbie Reynolds Show. In 1971, she appeared against type in the campy horror picture What's the Matter with Helen?, but when it too failed she essentially retired from movie-making, accepting voice-over work as the title character in the animated children's film Charlotte's Web but otherwise remaining away from Hollywood for over a decade.

Reynolds then hit the nightclub circuit, additionally appearing on Broadway in 1973's Irene. In 1977, she also starred in a Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of Annie Get Your Gun. By the 1980s, Reynolds had become a fixture in Las Vegas, where she ultimately opened her own hotel and casino, regularly performing live in the venue's nightclub and even opening her own museum of Hollywood memorabilia. In 1987, she reappeared in front of the camera for the first time in years in the TV movie Sadie and Son, followed in 1989 by Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder. In 1992 Reynolds appeared briefly as herself in the hit film The Bodyguard, and a small role in Oliver Stone's 1993 Vietnam tale Heaven and Earth marked her second tentative step toward returning to Hollywood on a regular basis; finally, in 1996 she accepted the title role in the acclaimed Albert Brooks comedy Mother, delivering what many critics declared the best performance of her career.

The comedies Wedding Bell Blues and In and Out followed, and Reynolds remained active into the new millennium, appearing in her own West End show Debbie Reynolds: Alive and Fabulous in 2010 and in the HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra in 2013. She passed away on December 28, 2016, one day after the death of daughter Carrie Fisher, who had suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Debbie Reynolds was 84 years old. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Great Debbie Reynolds

1. Hit The Deck: A Kiss For Two

2. Hit The Deck: Join The Navy-And-Loo-Loo

3. Hit The Deck: Why, Oh, Why?

4. Singin' In The Rain: Good Morning

5. Singin' In The Rain: Singin' In The Rain

6. Singin' In The Rain: Moses

7. Singin' In The Rain: You Were Meant For Me

8. Singin' In The Rain: You Are My Lucky Star

9. Singin' In The Rain: All I Do Is Dream Of You (Reprise)

10. Two Weeks With Love: Aba Daba Honeymoon

11. Two Weeks With Love: A Hearth That's Free

12. Two Weeks With Love: By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

13. Two Weeks With Love: Oceana Roll

14. Two Weeks With Love: My Hero

15. Two Weeks With Love: Row Row Row

x

Track List: Summer Romance

1. Summer Romance

2. Why Not Me

3. Moonglow

4. Hooray For Love

5. Love Is A Simple Thing

6. S´posin´

7. You Won´t Be Satisfied

8. Ev´ry Time

9. You Couldn´t Be Cuter

10. Mean To Me

11. The Blue Room

12. Here I Am In Love Again

13. I Like The Likes Of You

14. Time After Time

15. Am I That Easy To Forget

16. Ask Me To Go Steady

17. Aba Daba Honeymoon

18. I Love You A Thousand Ways

19. Just For A Touch Of Your Love

20. City Lights

21. Too Young To Love

22. I Can´t Love You Anymore

23. Love Is A Thing

x

Track List: Irene: A Musical Comedy (New Broadway Cast Recording (1973))

2. Irene: A Musical Comedy: The World Must Be Bigger Than an Avenue

5. Irene: A Musical Comedy: Alice Blue Gown

10. Irene: A Musical Comedy: I'm Always Chasing Rainbows

x

Track List: Best Of

1. Tammy

2. A Very Special Love

3. Am I That Easy To Forget

4. Moonglow

5. Time After Time

6. Mean To Me

7. Love Is A Simple Thing

8. S'posin'

9. You Won't Be Satisfied

10. Hooray For Love

11. Aba Daba Honeymoon

Comments

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She will be dearly missed!
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Rest in piece debbie reynolds you will be missed and remembered at the oscars.
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Loved Debbie! When she died it was like losing a part of my childhood and my mama all over again.
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may you rest in peace debbie n carrie
we will surely miss you both
be praying for you.

nildz
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God Bless You Debbie Reynolds. There is one more angel in Heaven now.
Report as inappropriate
jimmatlock20 0 4
Fairwell my dear friend, RIP.
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wonderworldb a l t
You have to admit that winning an Emmy Award portraying Grace Adler's larger-than- l i f e mother on TV's Will & Grace didn't hurt her later popularity in the early 2000s.
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Named one of my daughters Debbie & one Tammy. I LOVE Debbie Reynolds.
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GROWING UP, SHE WAS MY FAVORITE ACTRESS. WISH YOU WOULD PLAY MORE OF HER SONGS.
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some of my earlist memories are sitting in bed with my grandmaw watching tammys movies usually make me cry coz that was a very long time ago and granny been gone for twenty thanks for listening
Report as inappropriate
Please play more of Debbie Reynold in the future,very relaxing after work.
Report as inappropriate
Not only is she a fine singer, but a talented actress as well. I thought she was great in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. A sweet and glowing human being as well--it's really too bad that her relationship s have turned out so badly--she deserves much, much better in life.
Report as inappropriate
Debbie Reynolds, I remember watching her on the black & white tv in the Coffee
Farms of Hawaii. Fell in love with the movie where she was a country girl catching catfish, singing 'Tammy'. a girls dream of what love should be about.
mahalo Easter

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