Professional Name: Debbie Reynolds

Birth Name: Mary Frances Reynolds

Birth Date: 1 April 1932

Birth Place: El Paso, Texas, USA

Profession: Actress

Notable Works: Singing in the Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Biography

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At the peak of her career, actress Debbie Reynolds was America's sweetheart, the archetypal girl-next-door. Best remembered for her work in Hollywood musicals, she appeared in the genre's defining moment, Singin' in the Rain, as well as many other notable successes. Born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932, in El Paso, TX, she entered the film industry by winning the Miss Burbank beauty contest in 1948, resulting in a contract with Warner Bros. However, the studio cast her in small roles in only two films -- 1948's The June Bride and 1950's The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady -- and she soon exited for the greener pastures of MGM, where she first appeared in Three Little Words. A more significant turn in 1950's Two Weeks With Love garnered Reynolds strong notices, and soon she was touted as the new Judy Garland, with a role in 1951's Mr. Imperium also on the horizon.

Though star Gene Kelly initially opposed her casting in his 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain, Reynolds acquitted herself more than admirably alongside the likes of Donald O'Connor and Jean Hagen, and the film remains one of the greatest Hollywood musicals ever produced. A series of less distinguished musicals followed, among them 1953's I Love Melvin, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, and Give a Girl a Break. On loan to RKO, she scored a major success in 1954's Susan Slept Here, and upon returning to MGM she was awarded with a new and improved seven-year contract. However, the studio continued to insert Reynolds into lackluster projects like the health-fad satire Athena and the musical Hit the Deck. Finally, in 1955, she appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in the hit The Tender Trap, followed by a well-regarded turn as a blushing bride in The Catered Affair a year later.

Additionally, Reynolds teamed with real-life husband Eddie Fisher in the musical Bundle of Joy. The couple's children also went on to showbiz success: Daughter Carrie Fisher became a popular actress, novelist, and screenwriter, while son Todd became a director. In 1957, Reynolds starred in Tammy and the Bachelor, the first in a series of popular teen films which also included 1961's Tammy Tell Me True, 1963's Tammy and the Doctor, and 1967's Tammy and the Millionaire. Her other well-received films of the period included 1959's It Started With a Kiss, 1961's The Pleasure of His Company, and 1964's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. In 1959, Reynolds' marriage to Fisher ended in divorce when he left her for Elizabeth Taylor. The effect was an outpouring of public sympathy which only further increased her growing popularity, and it was rumored that by the early '60s, she was earning millions per picture.

By the middle of the decade, however, Reynolds' star was waning. While described by the actress herself as her favorite film, 1966's The Singing Nun was not the hit MGM anticipated. Its failure finally convinced the studio to offer her roles closer to her own age, but neither 1967's Divorce American Style nor the next year's How Sweet It Is performed well, and Reynolds disappeared from the screen to mount her own television series, the short-lived Debbie Reynolds Show. In 1971, she appeared against type in the campy horror picture What's the Matter with Helen?, but when it too failed, she essentially retired from movie making, accepting voice-over work as the title character in the animated children's film Charlotte's Web but otherwise remaining away from Hollywood for over a decade.

Reynolds then hit the nightclub circuit, additionally appearing on Broadway in 1974's Irene. In 1977, she also starred in Annie Get Your Gun. By the 1980s, Reynolds had become a fixture in Las Vegas, where she ultimately opened her own hotel and casino, regularly performing live in the venue's nightclub and even opening her own museum of Hollywood memorabilia. In 1987, she reappeared in front of the camera for the first time in years in the TV movie Sadie and Son, followed in 1989 by Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder. In 1992, Reynolds appeared briefly as herself in the hit film The Bodyguard, and a small role in Oliver Stone's 1993 Vietnam tale Heaven and Earth marked her second tentative step toward returning to Hollywood on a regular basis. Finally, in 1996 she accepted the title role in the acclaimed Albert Brooks comedy Mother, delivering what many critics declared the best performance of her career. The comedies Wedding Bell Blues and In and Out followed in 1996 and 1997. Reynolds subsequently continued to pop up in a variety of projects, ranging from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (to which she lent her voice) to children's animated films and documentaries.
~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide


Filmography

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Fingers Walking (2005) (pre-production) .... Shoshana Jacovski
Halloweentown III: Halloweentown High (2004) (TV) .... Aggie Cromwell
Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001) (TV) .... Aggie Cromwell
These Old Broads (2001) (TV) .... Piper Grayson
"Rugrats" (1991) TV Series (voice) .... Lulu Pickles (2000-2004)
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie - Rugrats II (2000) (voice) .... Lulu Pickles
Virtual Mom (2000) (TV) .... Gwen
A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story (1999) (TV) .... Shirlee Allison
The Christmas Wish (1998) (TV) .... Ruth
Halloweentown (1998) (TV) .... Aggie Cromwell
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998) (V) (voice) .... Mrs. Claus
Zack and Reba (1998) .... Beulah Blanton
In & Out (1997) .... Berniece Brackett
Mother (1996/II) .... Beatrice Henderson
Heaven & Earth (1993) .... Eugenia
Battling for Baby (1992) (TV) .... Helen
Majo no takkyûbin (1989) (voice: English version) .... Miss Dora (aka Kiki's Delivery) Service (USA)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (1989) (TV) .... Amanda Cody
Sadie and Son (1987) (TV) .... Sadie
"Aloha Paradise" (1981) TV Series .... Sydney Chase
Charlotte's Web (1973) (voice) .... Charlotte A. Cavatica
What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) .... Adelle Bruckner (Stuart)
"The Debbie Reynolds Show" (1969) TV Series .... Debbie Thompson
How Sweet It Is! (1968) .... Jenny Henderson
Divorce American Style (1967) .... Barbara Harmon
The Singing Nun (1966) .... Sister Ann
Goodbye Charlie (1964) .... The Reincarnated Charlie Sorel/Virginia Mason
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) .... Molly Brown
My Six Loves (1963) .... Janice Courtney
Mary, Mary (1963) .... Mary McKellaway
How the West Was Won (1962) .... Lilith 'Lily' Prescott
The Second Time Around (1961) .... Lucretia Rogers
The Pleasure of His Company (1961) .... Jessica Anne Poole
Pepe (1960) .... Cameo appearance
The Rat Race (1960) .... Peggy Brown
The Gazebo (1959) .... Nell Nash
It Started with a Kiss (1959) .... Maggie Putnam
Say One for Me (1959) .... Holly LeMaise
The Mating Game (1959) .... Mariette Larkin
This Happy Feeling (1958) .... Janet Blake
Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) .... Tambey 'Tammy' Tyree
Bundle of Joy (1956) .... Polly Parish
The Catered Affair (1956) .... Jane Hurley
Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) (uncredited) .... Cameo appearance
The Tender Trap (1955) .... Julie Gillis
Hit the Deck (1955) .... Carol Pace
Athena (1954) .... Minerva Mulvain
Susan Slept Here (1954) .... Susan Landis
Give a Girl a Break (1953) .... Suzie Doolittle
The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953) .... Pansy Hammer
I Love Melvin (1953) .... Judy LeRoy
Singin' in the Rain (1952) .... Kathy Selden
Mr. Imperium (1951) .... Gwen
Two Weeks with Love (1950) .... Melba Robinson
Three Little Words (1950) .... Helen Kane
The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (1950) .... Maureen O'Grady
June Bride (1948) (uncredited) .... Boo's Girlfiend at Wedding


Trivia

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-Married to Richard Hamlett (1985 - 1994) (divorced)

-Married to Harry Karl (November 1960 - 1973) (divorced)

-Marreid to Eddie Fisher (18 September 1955 - May 1959) (divorced) 2 children

-Filed for 'Chapter 11' Bankruptcy protection. [July 1997]

-Mother of actress Carrie Fisher.

-Mother of Todd Fisher.

-Won the 1948 Miss Burbank contest and was offered a screen test by Warner Brothers the day after her win. She initially entered the contest because everyone who entered received a silk scarf, blouse and free lunch.

-Considers herself a "movie-oholic" and has an extensive collection of memorabilia, with over 4,000 costumes from the silent screen period to the 1970s. She has been known to gather posters from her collection of 3,000 and drive to homes of actor pals for autographs. In the 1990s she turned her collection into a Las Vegas movie museum, but had to shut it down in 1997 because of financial problems. Recently she has looked into the possibility of opening up a hall of fame museum in Hollywood near Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

-At one particularly low point in her career, she confessed to literally living in her car--a Cadillac.

-Had planned to go into the education field (teaching physical education) before she won the Miss Burbank contest.

-In 1969, she followed Doris Day and others of her contemporaries in launching a TV sitcom bearing her name. When the debut episode included an ad for cigarettes, a direct violation of one of her contractual stipulations, she made such a fuss about it that NBC ended up cancelling the series.

-Made her Broadway debut in 1973 in the revival of "Irene." Although the reviews for the show itself were mixed, her's were all raves, and she wound up with a 1973 Tony Award nomination for Best Actress (Musical). The production ultimately ran some 20 months. Her only other Broadway appearences to date came when she succeeded Lauren Bacall in "Woman of the Year" in 1983.

-Is portrayed by Judith Jones in Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995) (TV)

-(February 2001) Reconciled with old enemy, 'Elizabeth Taylor' , to work on TV movie "These Old Broads" (1993) (written by Debbie's daughter, Carrie Fisher) with Liz, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins. Debbie and Elizabeth were friends until the late 50's when Debbie's then-husband, Eddie Fisher, began having an affair with Liz and then married her.