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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Remembering Debbie Reynolds 1932 - 2016

I was lucky enough to see Debbie in person twice - the first time was her annual show at Drury Lane Oakbrook on Friday, August 1, 1997 (I still have the ticket stub and program), the second was an "Up Close with..." Conversation in the Arts interview presented by Columbia College Chicago on April 6, 2006 (I still have the program). She was, of course, a glorious hoot at both events.

Sadly, Debbie left this world on Wednesday at age 84, but I do find some comfort knowing that she and her daughter Carrie Fisher are together again.

Below you can enjoy my 82 Groovy Things about Debbie Reynolds on her birthday post from April 1, 2014, which I've updated with some additional videos.

Today I'm celebrating Debbie Reynolds' 82nd birthday by sharing a "few" groovy things about her life and career:

1. Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April 1, 1932, in El Paso, Texas. Her family moved to Burbank, California, in 1939.

2. The day after she won the Miss Burbank beauty contest in 1948 at age 16, she was offered a screen test by Warner Bros., who then put her under contract and gave her a new first name.

3. She made her film debut (in an uncredited role) in the 1948 comedy, June Bride, starring Bette Davis.

4. Her first speaking role was in the 1950 musical, The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady.

5. She appeared in the 1950 musical biography, Three Little Words, with Fred Astaire and Red Skelton.

6. She played Jane Powell's sister in the 1950 romantic musical, Two Weeks with Love, and her duet of "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Carleton Carpenter) was a hit in 1951.

7. She appeared in the 1951 musical drama, Mr. Imperium, starring Lana Turner.

8. She starred with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in the 1952 musical comedy, Singin' in the Rain.

9. She starred with Donald O'Connor in the 1953 musical comedy, I Love Melvin.

10. She starred in the 1953 musical comedy, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, with Bobby Van and Bob Fosse.

11. She starred in the 1953 musical comedy, Give a Girl a Break, with the dance team of Marge and Gower Champion.

12. She starred in the 1954 romantic comedy, Susan Slept Here, with Dick Powell.

13. She was the Mystery Guest on the TV game show, What's My Line?, on August 29, 1954 (at 13:57).

14. She starred in the 1955 musical, Hit the Deck, with Jane Powell and Ann Miller.

15. She starred in the 1955 comedy, The Tender Trap, with Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm.

16. She and her first husband, singer Eddie Fisher, were interviewed by Edward R. Murrow on Person to Person on February 10, 1956.

17. She played Bette Davis' daughter in the 1956 family drama, The Catered Affair.

18. She was pregnant with her daughter, Carrie Fisher, during the filming of the 1956 musical comedy, Bundle of Joy, which also starred Eddie Fisher. She also received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.

19. She starred in the 1957 romantic comedy, Tammy and the Bachelor, and her recording of the song "Tammy" earned her a gold record. It was also the best-selling single by a female vocalist in 1957.

20. She performed on American Bandstand on August 14, 1957, and December 11, 1957.

21. She performed "Tammy", which was nominated for Best Original Song, on the 30th Annual Academy Awards on March 26, 1958.

22. She starred in the 1958 Blake Edwards film, This Happy Feeling.

23. She recorded her first album, Debbie, in 1959.

24. She starred in the 1959 film, The Mating Game, with Tony Randall.

25. She starred in the 1959 film, Say One for Me, with Bing Crosby and Robert Wagner.

26. In 1959, she starred in two films with Glenn Ford - It Started with a Kiss and The Gazebo.

27. She was the Mystery Guest on the TV game show, What's My Line?, on May 24, 1959 (at 17:51).

28. She starred in the 1960 drama, The Rat Race, with Tony Curtis.

29. She starred in the 1961 comedy, The Pleasure of His Company, with Fred Astaire and Tab Hunter.

30. She starred in the 1961 Western comedy, The Second Time Around, with Steve Forrest, Andy Griffith, Juliet Prowse and Thelma Ritter.

31. She appeared in the 1962 epic-Western, How the West Was Won.

32. She sang "If I Had a Hammer" in a Scopitone film in 1962.

33. She played the title role in the 1963 romantic comedy, Mary, Mary.

34. She played a Broadway star in the 1963 comedy, My Six Loves.

35. She starred in the 1964 comedy, Goodbye Charlie, with Tony Curtis and Pat Boone.

36. She was the Mystery Guest on the TV game show, What's My Line?, on March 1, 1964 (at 16:44).

37. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the 1964 musical film, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

38. She starred as The Singing Nun in 1966.

39. She played Dick Van Dyke's wife in the 1967 comedy, Divorce American Style.

40. She starred in the TV special, ...And Debbie Makes Six, on March 7, 1968, with guests Bobby Darin, Frank Gorshin, Bob Hope, Jim Nabors and Donald O'Connor.

41. She played James Garner's wife in the 1968 comedy, How Sweet It Is!

42. She starred in her own NBC sitcom, The Debbie Reynolds Show, in 1969, but it was canceled after one season after she fought with the network over cigarette advertising on the series (she didn't want her wholesome image linked to a tobacco company). She did receive a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for her performance.

42b. She was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show on July 13, 1970.

43. She and John Davidson were guests on The Carol Burnett Show on November 30, 1970.

43b. She and Paul Lynde were guests on The Dean Martin Show on February 11, 1971.

44. She and Shelley Winters starred in the the 1971 thriller, What's the Matter with Helen?

45. She and Groucho Marx were guests on The Dick Cavett Show on December 16, 1971.

46. She performed the Best Original Song nominee, "The Age of Not Believing" from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, on the 44th Annual Academy Awards on April 10, 1972.

47. She provided the voice of Charlotte in the 1973 animated film, Charlotte's Web.

48. She made her Broadway debut in 1973 in a revival of the musical, Irene, and she received a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

49. She appeared on Broadway in her own one-woman show, Debbie!, in 1976.

50. She was a guest on The Sonny & Cher Show three times in 1976-77.

51. In 1977, she starred with Harve Presnell in Annie Get Your Gun in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

52. She performed the opening number, "Look How Far We've Come", on the 50th Annual Academy Awards on April 3, 1978.

53. She was a guest on the 1978 TV special, Leapin' Lizards, It's Liberace!

54. She was a guest on The Osmond Family Show on March 11, 1979.

54b. She was a guest on NBC's Tomorrow Coast to Coast with Tom Snyder on May 5, 1981.

55. She starred in the 1981 ABC series, Aloha Paradise, which was canceled after eight episodes.

56. She was the host of the 1982 Kennedy Center Tonight PBS special, Broadway Plays Washington!

57. She was a guest on a 1982 episode of the syndicated sitcom, Madame's Place.

58. She was a co-ringmaster on Circus of the Stars #7 on December 5, 1982.

59. She appeared on an episode of The Love Boat on January 8, 1983 (she also appeared on the show in 1980).

60. She starred in her own exercise video, Do It Debbie's Way, in 1983 with Teri Garr, Florence Henderson, Rose Marie, Dionne Warwick and Shelley Winters.

61. She played Ann Jillian's mother on a 1983 episode of the NBC sitcom, Jennifer Slept Here.

62. She replaced Raquel Welch in the Broadway musical, Woman of the Year, in 1983.

62b. She and Donald O'Connor were guests on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers on February 19, 1987.

63. She played a police officer in the 1987 TV movie, Sadie and Son.

63b. She was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman on November 11, 1987, and on Late Show with David Letterman on January 15, 1997.

64. In 1988, she starred in her second exercise video, Couples Do It Debbie's Way, with her third husband Richard Hamlett and friends Tom Bosley and Dick Van Patten and their wives.

65. In 1989, she reprised her role as Molly Brown in a tour of The Unsinkable Molly Brown opposite Harve Presnell.

66. She was a guest star on a 1991 episode of The Golden Girls.

67. She made a cameo appearance as herself in the 1992 film, The Bodyguard.

68. She starred in the 1992 TV movie, Battling for Baby, with Suzanne Pleshette and Courteney Cox.

69. In 1993, the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel & Casino opened in Las Vegas, featuring her movie memorabilia collection of more than 3,500 costumes, 20,000 photographs and thousands of movie posters, costume sketches and props. The casino closed in 1997, and she began auctioning off her collection in 2011.

70. She played Crystal Bernard's mother on a 1994 episode of the NBC sitcom, Wings.

70b. She was a guest on CNN's Larry King Live in 1996.

71. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the 1996 Albert Brooks film, Mother.

72. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 13, 1997.

73. She played John Goodman's mother in a 1997 episode of Roseanne.

74. She played Kevin Kline's mother in the 1997 romantic comedy, In & Out.

75. She played a witch, Aggie Cromwell, in the 1998 Disney Channel movie, Halloweentown, and three sequels.

76. She played Neil Patrick Harris' grandmother in the 1998 CBS movie, The Christmas Wish.

76b. She was a guest on the syndicated talk show, Donny & Marie, on December 16, 1999.

77. She played Grace's mother, Bobbi Adler, in 10 episodes of the NBC sitcom, Will & Grace, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2000.

78. She starred in the 2001 TV movie, These Old Broads, with Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor.

79. She appeared as herself in the 2004 comedy, Connie and Carla.

80. She was the voice of teacher Mrs. Wilson in a 2008 episode of Family Guy.

81. She and Cloris Leachman were guest judges on a 2010 episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.

81b. She and Carrie Fisher were interviewed together on The Oprah Winfrey Show on February 15, 2011.

82. She played Liberace's mother in the 2013 HBO film, Behind the Candelabra.

82b. She received a Life Achievement Award at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 25, 2015 (she also received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 7th Annual Governors Awards in November 2015).


dmappin said...

This year? Yeesh! I've loved Debbie ever since seeing her in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The Singing Nun! Loved her in Singing in the Rain and as Bobbi Adler on Will & Grace.

There's just not another Debbie Reynolds. If you believe in the afterlife, I guess you could take solace in the fact that she is with Carrie.

I read your note that you had seen her twice in person. Envy!

RiP, Debbie.

joel65913 said...

Lovely tribute to a wonderful performer and lady. There have been SO many losses this year in all areas of the entertainment world with many one of a kind artists leaving us but Debbie hit me the hardest. A little of it is the double whammy of her going the day after Carrie but knowing she was in frail health I had wondered how it was all affecting her as soon as I heard about Carrie's heart attack.

It was much more than that though. I grew up with Debbie, when I was a kid she was still a young woman not doing films regularly although I vaguely remember ads for What's the Matter Helen? but a big presence in the world. I was an avid watcher of all the different afternoon talk shows, Merv Griffin etc., which came on right after I got home from school and she worked that circuit frequently. Plus she did specials and her films showed all the time, she was such a strong personality and seemed like she'd go on forever dropping in the middle of a song. Probably what she wanted too. Then of course the strong bond she and Carrie shared enhanced her notoriety as hers did Carrie's.

I have a memory of her appearing on Dinah Shore's show, it must have been in '77, and Dinah asked how her daughter was doing and Debbie talking about how Carrie has this new movie coming out that weekend called Star Wars and it was marvelous and everyone should go see it! I'm sure I never would have thought of it again if the movie hadn't exploded but it seemed so great that she was so supportive right from the get-go.

She made many wonderful films obviously some better than others, my favorites: This Happy Feeling, Tammy and the Bachelor, How the West Was Won and Mary, Mary. She'll be greatly missed.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Doug and Joel, thank you for sharing your thoughts on Ms. Reynolds. Our world is definitely a sadder place without her.