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Debbie Reynolds

Best known to movie fans for her breakout role which was also her first leading role, as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Filmography

1948      

June Bride

 

1950      

The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady

Three Little Words

Two Weeks with Love

 

1951      

Mr. Imperium

 

1952      

Singin’ in the Rain

Skirts Ahoy!

 

1953      

I Love Melvin

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis

Give a Girl a Break

 

1954      

Susan Slept Here

Athena

 

1955      

Hit the Deck

The Tender Trap

 

1956      

Meet Me in Las Vegas

The Catered Affair

Bundle of Joy

 

1957      

Tammy and the Bachelor

 

1958      

This Happy Feeling

 

1959      

The Mating Game

Say One for Me

It Started with a Kiss

The Gazebo

 

1960      

The Rat Race

Pepe

 

1961      

The Pleasure of His Company

The Second Time Around

 

1962      

How the West Was Won

 

1963      

My Six Loves

Mary, Mary

 

1964      

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Goodbye Charlie

 

1966      

The Singing Nun

 

1967      

Divorce American Style

 

1968      

How Sweet It Is!

 

1971      

What’s the Matter with Helen?

 

1973      

Charlotte’s Web

 

1974      

Busby Berkeley

That’s Entertainment!

 

1992      

The Bodyguard

 

1993      

Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul

Heaven & Earth

 

1994      

That’s Entertainment! III

 

1996      

Mother

Wedding Bell Blues

 

1997      

In & Out

 

1998      

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Zack and Reba

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie

Halloweentown

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

1999      

Keepers of the Frame

 

2000      

Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

Rugrats: Acorn Nuts & Diapey Butts

 

2002      

Cinerama Adventure

 

2007      

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project

 

2008      

Light of Olympia

The Jill & Tony Curtis Story

Blaze of Glory

The Brothers Warner

Fay Wray: A Life

 

2012      

One for the Money

In the Picture

 

 

Awards

Debbie Reynolds was nominated for one Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964).

I do 20 minutes every time the refrigerator door opens and the light comes on. ~ Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932, in El Paso, Texas, to Maxene “Minnie” (née Harman) and Raymond Francis “Ray” Reynolds, a carpenter who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. She was of Scottish-Irish and English ancestry and was raised in a strict Nazarene church. She had a brother two years her senior.

Her family moved to Burbank, California in 1939. When Reynolds was a sixteen-year-old student at Burbank High School in 1948, she won the Miss Burbank beauty contest.

Reynolds was first discovered by talent scouts from Warner Bros. and MGM who were at the 1948 Miss Burbank contest. Both companies wanted her to sign up with their studio and had to flip a coin to see which one got her. Warner won the coin toss, and she was with the studio for two years and acquired the nickname “Debbie” via Jack L. Warner. When Warner Brothers stopped producing musicals, she moved to MGM.

With MGM, 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 (1950) and sung as a duet with co-star Carleton Carpenter) was the first soundtrack recording to become a top-of-the-chart gold record, reaching number three on the Billboard charts.

Her performance in the film greatly impressed the studio, which then gave her a co-starring role in what would become her highest-profile film, Singin’ in the Rain (1952), a satire on movie making in Hollywood during the transition from silent to sound pictures. It co-starred Gene Kelly, whom she called a “great dancer and cinematic genius,” adding, “He made me a star. I was 18 and he taught me how to dance and how to work hard and be dedicated.” In 1956, she appeared in Bundle of Joy with her then-husband, Eddie Fisher.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

© 1964 – MGM, Inc.

Her starring role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) led to a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Reynolds noted, however, that she initially had issues with its director, Charles Walters. Reynolds also played in Goodbye Charlie, a 1964 comedy film about a callous womanizer who gets his just reward. It was adapted from George Axelrod’s play Goodbye, Charlie and also starred Tony Curtis and Pat Boone.

She next portrayed Jeanine Deckers in The Singing Nun (1966). In what Reynolds once 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 weekly television show. Although she was television’s highest paid female performer at the time, she quit the show for breaking its contract.

When NBC explained to Reynolds that banning cigarette commercials from her show would be impossible, she kept her resolve. The show drew mixed reviews, but according to NBC, it captured about 42 percent of the nation’s viewing audience. She said later she was especially concerned about the commercials because of the number of children watching the show. She did quit doing the show after about a year, which she said had cost her about $2 million of lost income.

Reynolds played the title role in the Hanna-Barbera animated musical, Charlotte’s Web in which she originated the song “Mother Earth and Father Time”. Reynolds continued to make other 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 Mo