Debbie Reynolds

The death of Debbie Reynolds shocked the world last year.

Debbie Reynolds, early in her career

If you are a fan of musicals from the 1950s and 1960s, then Debbie Reynolds is well known to you.

Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas.  The was the daughter of Ray and Minnie Reynolds.

Her family moved to Burbank, California in 1939.

In 1948, the 16 year old Debbie won Miss Burbank at her high school.  Shortly thereafter she landed a contract with Warner Brothers.

Jack L. Warner, owner of Warner Brothers, provided her with the nickname Debbie.

She stayed with Warner Brothers two years until they stopped producing musicals.  She then moved over to MGM.  She began to regularly appear in their musicals.

Debbie Reynolds

In 1952, she won the role in Singing’ in the Rain.  She had only a few short weeks to learn how to dance.

In 1955, Debbie married singer Eddie Fisher.  They would have two children, Carrie and Todd, before they divorced.  Their split is a well known story, as Eddie had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor following the death of her husband, Mike Todd.  The two couples had been very close friends before Mike Todd was killed in an airplane crash.

In 1957, she appeared in Tammy and the Bachelor and her recording of Tammy won her a gold record.

Debbie considered to appear in MGM musicals through the golden age of musicals.  Some of her movies include I Love Melvin, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, The Tender Trap, Bundle of Joy, The Mating Game, The Singing Nun, It Started with a Kiss, and How Sweet It Is!

In 1960, Debbie married Harry Karl.  They were married for thirteen years before divorcing.

In 1964, she starred in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which won her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress.

Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher

In 1970 she had her own TV show, but kept when NBC refused to ban cigarettes from her show.

In 1973, she made her Broadway debut in Irene.  She would go on to star in several more Broadway productions.

Beginning in the 1970, Debbie began to college movie memorabilia and built up an enormous collection.  She would go on to open a museum that featured her memorabilia.  Due to bankruptcy, she was forced to auction off much of the collection between 2009-2014.

In 1984, she married Richard Hamlett.  They were married until 1996.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, she continued to appear in movies and on TV shows such as Will & Grace.

Debbie was also a business woman and entrepreneur and had both successes and failures with her ventures.  She traveled around performing her own nightclub show.

Debbie Reynolds

She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2007, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Nevada, Reno.  This was for her contribution to the film studies program.

In 2014, Reynolds was awarded a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Debbie Reynold’s daughter, Carrie Fisher, suffered a medical emergency on a flight from London to Los Angeles two days before Christmas 2016.  Carrie died on December 27, 2016.  Debbie Reynolds died the following day on December 28, 2016.

Debbie Reynolds will be remembered for her contribution to the musical theater, as well as her love for Hollywood Memorabilia and her family.

 

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