Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Obituary: Debbie Reynolds

It was a cruel twist of fate that one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died, her mother, screen great Debbie Reynolds, 84, has died after suffering a stroke.

Reynolds started out in the business at a very young age, and, at the ripe old age of 20, she got the plum role opposite Gene Kelly in the musical classic, Singin' in the Rain. She played the role of Kathy Selden, a chorus girl hired by one of the producers to dub the speaking and singing voice of Lena Lamont, played by Jean Hagen in one of the greatest supporting role performances in history. What was funny is Hagen actually dubbed the speaking voice of Reynolds' character, who was dubbing for Lamont/Hagen.

After that film it was one success after another, and then the storybook romance and marriage to crooner Eddie Fisher, which produced children Carrie and Todd. Tragic that Todd with his niece Billie now have to plan funeral arrangements for both sister and mother. I can't even fathom it.

Reynolds was so popular that by the mid-1950s, the name "Debbie" or "Deborah/Debra" was one of the most popular ones for girl babies in the country. This despite the fact her real name was Mary Frances Reynolds.

Anyway, everything seemed to go great with the Fisher marriage until 1958, when a tragedy happened that ultimately tore them apart. When producer Michael Todd died in a plane crash, his widow, Elizabeth Taylor, was nearly out of her mind with grief. The Fishers were close friends of the Todds. Eddie consoled Liz the best way he could until it got way out of hand. Then began one of the great scandals of the 1950s, as Debbie Reynolds got dumped by Eddie Fisher so he could marry Elizabeth Taylor. The public was outraged over such a brazen act of disloyalty. It only forgave Liz when she nearly died in around 1960.

Eddie, however, got his comeuppance when in 1963 Liz cheated on him with her Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, and the rest is history. Fisher went on to marry three more times, the last wife leaving him a widower. He died in 2010.

Debbie eventually buried the hatchet with Elizabeth Taylor and went on with her life. She was highly successful as a businesswoman. She was involved in many causes, including film preservation and amassed a collection of movie memorabilia. She had a well-publicized rift with daughter Carrie that lasted a decade, but they were on great terms later on until the end of both of their lives.

This double-death is just too unreal.

Link to article.

Among many clips out there of her is this episode of This Is Your Life:

No comments: