Debbie Reynolds circa 1970
|Born||Mary Frances Reynolds
April 1, 1932
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
|Parents||Raymond Francis Reynolds
Maxine N. Harmon
Debbie Reynolds (born Mary Frances Reynolds; April 1, 1932) is an American actress, singer, and dancer.
Initially signed at age sixteen by Warner Bros., Reynolds' career got off to a slow start. When her contract was not renewed, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) gave her a small but significant part in the film Three Little Words (1950) starring Fred Astaire and Red Skelton, then signed her to a seven-year contract. In her next film, Two Weeks with Love (1950), she had a hit with the song "Aba Daba Honeymoon". However, it was her first leading role at age 19 in Singin' in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor, that set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star.
Other notable successes include Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956), Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her rendering of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the music charts; a major role opposite Gregory Peck in the Western How the West Was Won (1962); and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a biographical film about the famously boisterous Margaret Brown, for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1973 Reynolds was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Irene. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for playing Grace's mother on Will & Grace.
Reynolds's first marriage, to popular singer Eddie Fisher, produced a son, author/host producer Todd Fisher, and a daughter, actress/author Carrie Fisher, but ended in divorce in 1959 when Fisher fell in love with Reynolds's former (and later) friend Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds's second and third marriages also ended in divorce.
She is a noted collector of film memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1970 MGM auction. In June 2011, unable to find a suitable home for her large collection, she began auctioning it off. She continues to perform successfully on stage, television and film to the present day. In January 2015, Reynolds received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, the second child of Maxine N. (née Harmon; 1913–1999) and Raymond Francis Reynolds (1903–1986), who was a carpenter for the Southern Pacific Railroad. She has a Scottish-Irish and English ancestry. Reynolds was a Campfire Girl and a troop leader (a scholarship in her name is offered to high-school age Girl Scouts). Her family moved to Burbank, California in 1939, where she was raised in a strict Nazarene faith. At age sixteen, in 1948, while a student at Burbank High School (not Burroughs High as has been misreported), she won the Miss Burbank beauty contest. Soon after, she had a contract with Warner Bros, and acquired a new first name. Her older brother Bill graduated from Burbank High School in 1947.
Reynolds regularly appeared in movie musicals during the 1950s and had several hit records during the period. Her song "Aba Daba Honeymoon" (featured in the film Two Weeks with Love  as a duet with Carleton Carpenter) was a top-three hit in 1951. Her most high-profile film role was in Singin' in the Rain (1952) as Kathy Selden. In Bundle of Joy (1956) she appeared with her then-husband, Eddie Fisher.
Her recording of the song "Tammy" (1957; from Tammy and the Bachelor), earned her a gold record, and was the best-selling single by a female vocalist in 1957. It was number one for five weeks on the Billboard pop charts. In the movie (the first of the Tammy film series), she co-starred with Leslie Nielsen.
In 1959, Reynolds recorded her first album for Dot Records, simply called Debbie, which included her own selection of twelve standards including "S'posin'", "Moonglow", "Mean To Me", and "Time After Time". Bing Crosby paid tribute to Reynolds in the sleeve notes accompanying the album thus:
Someone recently said, and with reasonable accuracy I would think, that good singers make good actors. Evidence in support of this belief is available in the recent performances of Sinatra and Martin, for instance, but I would like to put forth also the proposition that the reverse is quite true: good actors make good singers. Assuming they can carry a tune. We all know that Debbie is better than a good actress—she's VERY good, and we all know she can sing with a lilt and a listenable quality that's genuinely pleasant and agreeable. Witness "Tammy". It was small surprise to me then that when I listened to this beautiful album she has etched for Dot, I found myself captivated and enchanted. Quite obviously Debbie had spent a great deal of time selecting the songs to be included, because she's made them her own, and invested them with a sincerity that's inescapable—of contrasting moods to be sure, but the moods are there, and to me, mighty effective. And that, mes amis, is artistry.
Reynolds also scored two other top-25 Billboard hits with "A Very Special Love" (1958) and "Am I That Easy to Forget" (1960)—a pop-music version of a country-music hit made famous by both songwriters Carl Belew (in 1959), Skeeter Davis (in 1960), and several years later by singer Engelbert Humperdinck. She has released several albums of both her vintage performances and her later recordings.
During these years, she also headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms. Her starring role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) led to a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She then portrayed Jeanine Deckers in The Singing Nun (1966). In what Reynolds has called the "stupidest mistake of my entire career", she made headlines in 1970 after instigating a fight with the NBC television network over cigarette advertising on her eponymous television series; NBC canceled the show.
Reynolds made her Broadway debut in 1973 in a revival of Irene, a musical first produced 60 years before. For that production, she received a Tony nomination. She toured with Harve Presnell in Annie Get Your Gun, then wrapped up the Broadway run of Woman of the Year in 1983. In the late 1980s, Reynolds repeated her role as Molly Brown in the stage version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, first opposite Presnell (repeating his original Broadway and movie role) and later with Ron Raines.
Reynolds continues to make appearances in film and television. She played Helen Chappel Hackett's mother, Deedee Chappel, on an episode of Wings titled, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother", which originally aired on November 22, 1994. From 1999 to its 2006 series finale, she played Grace Adler's theatrical mother, Bobbi Adler, on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2000. She plays a recurring role in the Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown film series as Aggie Cromwell. Reynolds made a guest appearance as a presenter at the 69th Academy Awards in 1997.
Awards and nominations
She has received various nominations for awards including: an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for The Debbie Reynolds Show (1970), a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Mother (1996) and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her role of Bobbi Adler in the sitcom Will & Grace (2000). In 1996 and 1997, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, in the American Comedy Awards.
Her foot and hand prints are preserved at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6654 Hollywood Boulevard for live performance and a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars dedicated to her.
In November 2006, Reynolds received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Chapman University (Orange, California). On May 17, 2007, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Nevada, Reno, (Reno, Nevada) where she had contributed for many years to the film-studies program.
Reynolds last CD was a Christmas Record with the late Donald O'Connor entitled "Chrissy the Christmas Mouse". It received rave reviews and was arranged by Angelo DiPippo and produced by Dr. Fillardi.
Reynolds has amassed a large collection of movie memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1970 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer auction, and displayed them, first in a museum at her Las Vegas hotel and casino during the 1990s and later in a museum close to the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. On several occasions, she has auctioned off items from the collection.
The museum was to relocate to be the centerpiece of the Belle Island Village tourist attraction in the resort city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the developer went bankrupt. The museum itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009.
Todd Fisher, Reynolds' son, announced that his mother was "heartbroken" to have to auction off her collection. It was valued at $10.79 million in the bankruptcy filing. The Vancouver Sun reported that Profiles in History has been given the responsibility of conducting a series of auctions beginning in June and continuing into December 2011. Among the "more than 3500 costumes, 20,000 photographs, and thousands of movie posters, costume sketches, and props" to be sold are Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat and Marilyn Monroe's white "subway dress", whose skirt is lifted up by the breeze from a passing subway train in the film The Seven Year Itch (1955).
Reynolds was hospitalized in October 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles because she had an adverse reaction to medication she was taking. She canceled appearances and concert engagements for the next three months.
Reynolds has been married three times. Her first marriage was to singer Eddie Fisher in 1955. They are the parents of Carrie and Todd Fisher. A public scandal ensued when Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor fell in love following the death of Taylor's then-husband Mike Todd, and Reynolds and Fisher were divorced in 1959. In 2011, first on The Oprah Winfrey Show only weeks before Elizabeth Taylor's death from congestive heart failure, Reynolds explained that she and Taylor happened to be traveling on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth at the same time when they made up. Reynolds sent a note to Taylor's room, and Taylor sent a note in reply asking to have dinner with Reynolds and end their feud. The two reconciled, and, as Reynolds put it, "...we had a wonderful evening with a lot of laughs".
Her second marriage, to millionaire businessman Harry Karl, lasted from 1960 to 1973. He was previously married to Marie McDonald. Reynolds later found herself in financial difficulty because of Karl's gambling and bad investments.
Reynolds was married to real estate developer Richard Hamlett from 1984 to 1996. They purchased Paddlewheel Hotel & Casino, a hotel and casino in Las Vegas, but it was not a success. In 1997, Reynolds was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Since 1955, Reynolds has been active in The Thalians, a charitable organization, devoted to children and adults with mental health issues. In 2011 she stepped down after 56 years of involvement, and is now an emerita member.
In keeping with the celebrity tradition of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival of Winchester, Virginia, Reynolds was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2011 ABF that took place from April 26 to May 1, 2011.
|1948||June Bride||Boo's Girlfriend at Wedding||Uncredited|
|1950||Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, TheThe Daughter of Rosie O'Grady||Maureen O'Grady|
|1950||Three Little Words||Helen Kane|
|1950||Two Weeks with Love||Melba Robinson|
|1952||Singin' in the Rain||Kathy Selden|
|1952||Skirts Ahoy!||Debbie Reynolds||Uncredited|
|1953||I Love Melvin||Judy Schneider / Judy LeRoy|
|1953||Affairs of Dobie Gillis, TheThe Affairs of Dobie Gillis||Pansy Hammer|
|1953||Give a Girl a Break||Suzy Doolittle|
|1954||Susan Slept Here||Susan Beauregard Landis|
|1955||Hit the Deck||Carol Pace|
|1955||Tender Trap, TheThe Tender Trap||Julie Gillis|
|1956||Meet Me in Las Vegas||Debbie Reynolds||Uncredited|
|1956||Catered Affair, TheThe Catered Affair||Jane Hurley|
|1956||Bundle of Joy||Polly Parish|
|1957||Tammy and the Bachelor||Tammy|
|1958||This Happy Feeling||Janet Blake|
|1959||Mating Game, TheThe Mating Game||Mariette Larkin|
|1959||Say One for Me||Holly LeMaise aka Conroy|
|1959||It Started with a Kiss||Maggie Putnam|
|1959||Gazebo, TheThe Gazebo||Nell Nash|
|1960||Rat Race, TheThe Rat Race||Peggy Brown|
|1961||Pleasure of His Company, TheThe Pleasure of His Company||Jessica Anne Poole|
|1961||Second Time Around, TheThe Second Time Around||Lucretia 'Lu' Rogers|
|1962||How the West Was Won||Lilith Prescott|
|1963||My Six Loves||Janice Courtney|
|1963||Mary, Mary||Mary McKellaway|
|1964||Unsinkable Molly Brown, TheThe Unsinkable Molly Brown||Molly Brown|
|1964||Goodbye Charlie||Charlie Sorel / Virginia Mason|
|1966||Singing Nun, TheThe Singing Nun||Sister Ann|
|1967||Divorce American Style||Barbara Harmon|
|1968||How Sweet It Is!||Jenny Henderson|
|1971||What's the Matter with Helen?||Adelle|
|1973||Charlotte's Web||Charlotte A. Cavatica||Voice|
|1974||That's Entertainment!||Compilation film|
|1987||Sadie and Son||Sadie||TV Movie|
|1989||Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder||Amanda Cody|
|1989||Kiki's Delivery Service||Madame||Voice (English dub)|
|1992||Battling for Baby||Helen||TV Movie|
|1992||Bodyguard, TheThe Bodyguard||Debbie Reynolds||Cameo as herself|
|1993||Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul||Documentary|
|1993||Heaven & Earth||Eugenia|
|1994||That's Entertainment! III||Compilation film|
|1996||Wedding Bell Blues||Herself|
|1997||In & Out||Berniece Brackett|
|1998||Zack and Reba||Beulah Blanton|
|1998||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie||Mrs. Claus / Mitzi - Rudolph's Mother / Mrs. Prancer - School Teacher||Voice|
|1998||Halloweentown||Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell|
|1998||Christmas Wish, TheThe Christmas Wish||Ruth||TV Movie|
|1998||Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas||Herself||Voice only|
|1999||A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story||Shirlee Allison||TV Movie|
|1999||Keepers of the Frame||Documentary|
|2000||Rugrats in Paris: The Movie||Lulu Pickles||Voice|
|2000||Virtual Mom||Gwen||TV Movie|
|2000||Rugrats: Acorn Nuts & Diapey Butts||Lulu Johnson||Voice|
|2001||These Old Broads||Piper Grayson||TV Movie|
|2001||Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge||Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell||TV Movie|
|2002||Cinerama Adventure||Herself (Interviewee)||Documentary|
|2002||Generation Gap||TV Movie|
|2004||Connie and Carla||Herself|
|2004||Halloweentown High||Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell||TV Movie|
|2006||Return to Halloweentown||Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell||TV Movie|
|2006||Lolo's Cafe||Mrs. Atkins||Voice|
|2007||Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project||Herself (Interviewee)||Documentary|
|2008||Light of Olympia||Queen||Voice|
|2008||Jill & Tony Curtis Story, TheThe Jill & Tony Curtis Story||Herself||Documentary|
|2008||Blaze of Glory||Voice|
|2008||Brothers Warner, TheThe Brothers Warner||Documentary|
|2008||Fay Wray: A Life||Documentary|
|2012||One for the Money||Grandma Mazur|
|2012||In the Picture||Aunt Lilith||Short|
|2013||Behind the Candelabra||Frances Liberace||TV Movie|
- A Visit with Debbie Reynolds (1959)
- The Story of a Dress (1964)
- In the Picture (2012)
- Jukebox Jury (1953)
- Light's Diamond Jubilee (October 24, 1954): TV special aired on all four TV networks of the time
- The Eddie Fisher Show (recurring guest star 1957–1959)
- A Date with Debbie (1960)
- Go!!! (1967)
- ...And Debbie Makes Six (1968)
- The Debbie Reynolds Show (1969–1970)
- Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children (1969)
- Leapin' Lizards It's Liberace (1978)
- Aloha Paradise (1981) (canceled after seven episodes)
- Win, Lose or Draw (1987)
- Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (1989)
- The Golden Girls (1990) (guest star, "There Goes The Bride pt. 1 & 2" as Truby)
- Movie Memories with Debbie Reynolds (1991–1992)
- Wings (1994)
- Roseanne (1997): "Arsenic and Old Mom" as Audrey Conner
- Will & Grace (recurring cast member 1999–2006)
- Rugrats (2000–2004) (voice)
- Generation Gap (2002) (unsold pilot)
- Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales (2003)
- Kim Possible (recurring cast member 2003–2007) (voice)
- Pryor Offenses (2004)
- Secret Talents of the Stars (2008) (canceled after one episode)
- RuPaul's Drag Race (2010) Guest Judge
- The Penguins of Madagascar (2010) ("Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel") (voice)
- So You Think You Can Dance (2011) Guest Judge
- Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil (2011) (season 2)
- Best Foot Forward (1953) (Dallas)
- Irene (1973) (Broadway and US national tour)
- Debbie (1976) (Broadway)
- Annie Get Your Gun (1977) (San Francisco and Los Angeles)
- Woman of the Year (1983) (Broadway) (replacement for Raquel Welch)
- The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1989) (US national tour)
- Irene (musical) (2008) Perth Western Australia
- Debbie Reynolds profile, filmreference.com; accessed January 25, 2015.
- "Ancestry of Carrie Fisher", Genealogy.com
- Byrne, James Patrick. Coleman, Philip. King, Jason Francis. Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History: A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia. Volume 2. P. 804. ABC-CLIO, 2008; ISBN 978-1-85109-614-5.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Reynolds, Debbie (with Columbia, David Patrick) (1988). Debbie: My Life. William Morrow and Company, p. 309; ISBN 978-0-688-06633-8
- . Internet Movie Database.
- Debbie Reynolds Emmy Award Nomination
- "Who Would You Rather Take Advice From? Ivana Trump or Debbie Reynolds?". Janet Charlton's Hollywood. 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- Staff (January 31, 2012). "Debbie Reynolds Memoir: 'Unsinkable' To Highlight Divorces". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
- "51st Life Achievement Recipient, 2014". 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Auction Set for Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Memorabilia". Los Angeles Daily News. September 10, 2010.
- Flory, Josh (September 9, 2010). "With No Buyer, Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Memorabilia To Go To Auction". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- "Reynolds to Auction Hollywood Memorabilia". The Wall Street Journal blogs. September 10, 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
- Stone, Jay (February 27, 2011). "Marilyn Monroe's Skirt Going Up – On Auction Block". The Vancouver Sun.
- "Debbie Reynolds hospitalized, cancels three months of shows". Fox News. October 10, 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Brozan, Nadine (July 9, 1997). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Grand Marshal: Debbie Reynolds". thebloom.com. June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- Reynolds, Debbie (with Columbia, David Patrick) (1988). Debbie: My Life. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 978-0-688-06633-8.
- Reynolds, Debbie (with Dorian Hannaway) (2013). Unsinkable: A Memoir. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 978-0-062-21365-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Debbie Reynolds.|
- Reynolds' official website
- Debbie Reynolds at AllMovie
- Debbie Reynolds at the Internet Broadway Database
- Debbie Reynolds at the Internet Movie Database
- Debbie Reynolds at the TCM Movie Database
- Works by or about Debbie Reynolds in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Motion Picture Museum website
- Debbie Reynolds at TVGuide.com
- Radio appearance WSRQ "Big Band Files w/Doug Miles
- Photographs and literature
- Debbie Reynolds at Emmys.com