Debbie Reynolds as the title character in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, released in June, 1964.
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Debbie Reynolds
Forecourt Ceremony held on Thursday, January 14, 1965
Born: Mary Frances Reynolds, April 1, 1932, in El Paso, Texas
Age at the time of the ceremony: 32
Died: December 28, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, age 84
Debbie Reynolds was one of the last of the great stars produced by the studio system. From her early turn in Singin' in the Rain to her late career role as the mother of Grace on Will and Grace, Debbie Reynolds never failed to light up the screen.

Born in very humble circumstances in El Paso Texas, Reynolds and her older brother were raised in a religious home, with little Mary becoming a member of the Girl Scouts and the Order of Job's Daughters. With the family moving to Burbank, California in 1939, Mary, a bit of a tomboy, graduated from Burbank High School in 1948. After winning (by doing a spot-on impression of Betty Hutton) the Miss Burbank beauty contest, she got a contract at Warner Bros., where stduio head Jack L. Warner gave her the nickname "Debbie."

With the Warners' studio halting production of musicals, Reynolds moved over to M-G-M. She scored a major hit with the tonge-twisting song "Aba Dada Honeymoon" in the musical Two Weeks with Love (released in November, 1950). Impressed, M-G-M placed her opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in the evergreen classic, Singin' in the Rain (released in April, 1952). The demanding role of Kathy Sledon required she keep up with her two dancing master co-stars, with Kelly pulling her through — she made it, and it remains her signature film.

After this, Reynolds was kept very busy: In The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (released in August, 1953) with Bobby Van, Susan Slept Here (released in July, 1954) with Dick Powell, Hit the Deck (released in March, 1955) with Jane Powell, The Tender Trap (released in November, 1955) with Frank Sinatra, and The Catered Affair (released in June, 1956) with Bette Davis. Married to singer Eddie Fisher in September, 1955, they made a film together, Bundle of Joy (released in December, 1956). Thier daughter Carrie was born in October, 1956.

Reynolds enjoyed another chart-topper with the song "Tammy" from her film Tammy and the Bachelor (released in June, 1957. Son Todd Fisher was born in February, 1958. Reynolds would divorce Eddie Fisher over his very public affair with Elizabeth Taylor after the death of Taylor's husband Mike Todd in March of that year. Reynolds spent much of the early 1960s recording; all her albums were huge sellers. Beginning that year and continuing for three months a year for ten years, Reynolds headlined a show at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

Interspersed with her gig in Las Vegas, Reynolds continued to make films: The Pleasure of His Company (released in June, 1961) with Fred Astaire, the all-star epic, How the West Was Won (released in February, 1963) and Mary, Mary (released in October, 1963) with Barry Nelson.

Reynolds was cast in her next signature role — although her director, Charles Walters wanted Shirley MacLaine — in the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown (released in June, 1964); Walters came to consider that Reynolds picked up and walked off with the part.

Brown was followed by The Singing Nun (released in April, 1966) with Ricardo Montalban, and dierector Bud Yorkin's Divorce American Style (released in June, 1967) with Dick Van Dyke.

The fall of 1969 saw the debut of The Debbie Reynolds Show on NBC, but she tussled with the network over their violating her contract stipulating no ads for cigarettes during her airtime. She left the show after one season over this unpleasentness; ads for cigarettes were banned from television by Congress in 1971.

Reynolds did the voice for Charlotte in the animated Charlotte's Web (released in March, 1973), but spent almost the rest of the 1970s away from Hollywood. She made her Broadway debut in a revival of Irene from March, 1973, to September, 1974 — a good 594 performances. She also starred in a musical revue, Debbie, in 1976. In 1977, she appeared with Harve Presnell in Annie Get Your Gun in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and replaced Lauren Bacall on Broadway in the Kander and Ebb musical, Woman of the Year in 1983.

In 1992, Reynolds bought The Paddlewheel Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada, and opened it the following year as the Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Hotel. She would eventually house some of her considerable movie memorabillia collection there, as well as perform. But she struggled with financing the project and keeping her gambling license. The project went south in 1997.

In 1999, Reynolds was cast as Bobbie Adler, the mother of Grace, on the Will and Grace television show over NBC. She continued in the role until 2006. Meanwhile, daughter Carrie had written a script for her mom and Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor. These Old Broads aired over ABC in February, 2001. Reynolds had done guest appearances on many television shows, including Touched by an Angel, First Monday, Rugrats, Kim Possible, Family Guy, and The Penquins of Madagasgar.

Reynolds made her West End debut with the revue, Debbie Reynolds: Alive and Fabulous in 2010. She played opposite Michael Douglas as Liberace's mother in Behind the Candelabra, aired over HBO in June, 2013.

A stunning documentary about Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds aired over HBO in January, 2017, only two weeks after their deaths. Carrie Fisher died of cardiac arrest on December 27, 2016 at the age of 60, with Reynolds passing away the very next day, December 28, 2016 at the age of 84.
Caption TK
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Debbie Reynolds Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, January 14, 1965. Ms. Reynolds strikes a pose for the many photographers gathered to record the event.
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