June 22, 2024

Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, dead at 84

Just one day after actress Carrie Fisher died from a massive heart attack, her mother, legendary singer-actress Debbie Reynolds, 84, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after being rushed there for an unspecified medical emergency earlier in the day. Official details of her death have not yet been released.

Reynolds’ breakout role came about with her portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Yet, it was her first leading role in 1952 at age 19, as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, that set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star. Other notable successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956 Golden Globe nomination), The Catered Affair (1956 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Winner), and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her rendering of the song “Tammy” reached number one on the music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, entitled Debbie.

She starred in How the West Was Won (1963), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a biographical film about the famously boisterous Molly Brown. Her performance as Molly Brown earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other notable films include The Singing Nun (1966), Divorce American Style (1967), What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971), Mother (1996 Golden Globe nomination), and In & Out (1997). Reynolds is also a noted cabaret performer. In 1979 she founded the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood, which still operates today.

In 1973 Reynolds starred in a Broadway revival of the musical Irene and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. In 1969 she starred in her own television show The Debbie Reynolds Show, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in A Gift of Love (1999) and an Emmy Award for playing Grace’s mother Bobbi on Will & Grace. Reynolds is also known for her role as Aggie Cromwell in Disney’s Halloweentown series. In 1988 she released her autobiography titled, Debbie: My Life. In 2013, she released an updated version titled Unsinkable: A Memoir.

Reynolds continued to perform successfully on stage, television, and film well into her eighties. In January 2015, she received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In August 2015, it was announced she would be the recipient of the 2016 Academy Awards Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In 2016, a documentary about her life was released titled Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Debbie Reynolds is survived by her son Todd Fisher, from her marriage to Eddie Fisher; and granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd.

In memoriam, here is the most viewed YouTube clip of Debbie, from her breakout role in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain”.

 

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