Reynolds, Debbie 1932–

views updated May 14 2018

Reynolds, Debbie 1932–


Born Mary Frances Reynolds, April 1, 1932, in El Paso, TX; daughter of Raymond F. (a carpenter for Southern Pacific Railroad) and Maxene Reynolds; married Eddie Fisher (a singer and actor), September 26, 1955 (divorced, 1959); married Harry Karl (a shoe magnate and producer), November 25, 1960 (divorced, 1973); married Richard Hamlett, 1985 (divorced May, 1996); children: (first marriage) Carrie Frances (an actress and writer), Todd Emmanuel (a television director); (stepchildren from second marriage) Denise, Harrison, Tina Marie. Education: Attended John Burroughs High School, Burbank, CA.

Addresses: OfficeDebbie Reynolds Studios, Attn: Margie Duncan, 6514 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91606-2409. AgentWilliam Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actress and singer. Film career began after winning a beauty contest at age sixteen, impersonating Betty Hutton. Has made nightclub appearances since 1961. Head of Max Ray Productions in Los Angeles; principal investor, Debbie Reynolds's Hotel/Casino and Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, Las Vegas, NV, 1993–. Appeared with the Burbank Youth Symphony while attending high school.

Awards, Honors: Miss Burbank, 1948; Golden Globe Award nomination, most promising newcomer, 1951, for Three Little Words; Golden Apple Award, most cooperative actress, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1954; Woman of the Year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1955; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actress, 1957, for Bundle of Joy; NBR Award, best supporting actress, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, 1956, for The Catered Affair; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, Producers Guild of America, 1958, for Tammy and the Bachelor; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, 1959, for The Mating Game; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, 1960, for It Started with a Kiss; Golden Laurel Award, top female musical performance, 1960, for Say One for Me; Golden Laurel Award nomination, top female comedy performance, 1962, for The Second Time Around; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, 1963, for My Six Loves; Golden Laurel Award nominations, top female star, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968; Photoplay Award, most popular female star, Photoplay magazine, 1958, 1968; Academy Award nomination, best actress, Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, Golden Globe nomination, best motion picture actress—musical/comedy, all 1965, for The Unsinkable Molly Brown; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, 1966, for The Singing Nun; Golden Laurel Award, top female comedy performance, 1968, for Divorce American Style; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actress in musical or comedy television series, 1970, for The Debbie Reynolds Show; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best actress in a musical, 1973, for Irene; album singles "Tammy" and "Aba Daba Honeymoon" both awarded gold record status, Recording Industry of America; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picture—comedy/musical, Golden Satellite Award, best perfor-mance by an actress in a supporting role, International Press Academy, 1997, for Mother; Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, American Comedy Awards, 1997; Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1997; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite supporting actress—comedy, 1998, for In & Out; Special Award—Texas Legend, Lone Star Film and Television Awards, Dallas/Fort Worth Film Critics Association, 1998; Lifetime Achievement Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival, 1999; Daytime Emmy nomination, outstanding performer in a children's special, 2000, for A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story; Emmy nomination, outstanding guest actress in a comedy series, 2000, for Will & Grace; Video Premiere Award nomination, best supporting actress, DVD Exclusive Awards, 2001, for Zack and Reba; Lifetime Achievement Award, Savannah Film and Video Festival, 2002; Las Vegas Comedy Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002; President's Award, Costume Designer Guild Awards, 2005.


Stage Appearances:

Stars of Tomorrow, Bliss-Hayden Theatre, Los Angeles, 1952.

Title role, Irene, Majestic Theatre, New York City, 1973–74.

The Debbie Reynolds Show, London Palladium, London, 1975.

Annie Oakley, Annie Get Your Gun, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, 1977.

Tess Harding, Woman of the Year, Palace Theatre, New York City, 1984.

Major Tours:

Annie Oakley, Annie Get Your Gun, U.S. cities, 1977.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, U.S. cities, 1989.

Film Appearances:

Boo's Girlfriend, June Bride, Warner Bros., 1948.

Maureen O'Grady, The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, Warner Bros., 1950.

Helen Kane, Three Little Words, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1950.

Melba Robinson, Two Weeks with Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1950.

Gwen, Mr. Imperium (also known as You Belong to My Heart), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1951.

Kathy Selden, Singin' in the Rain, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1952.

Cameo, Skirts Ahoy!, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1952.

Judy LeRoy, I Love Melvin, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Pansy Hammer, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Suzie Doolittle, Give the Girl a Break, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1953.

Susan Landis, Susan Slept Here, RKO Radio Pictures, 1953.

Minerva Mulvain, Athena, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1954.

Carol Pace, Hit the Deck, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1955.

Julie Gillis, The Tender Trap, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1955.

Jane Hurley, The Catered Affair (also known as Wedding Breakfast), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1956.

Polly Parish, Bundle of Joy, RKO Radio Pictures, 1956.

Guest, Meet Me in Las Vegas (also known as Viva Las Vegas!), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1956.

Comedienne in movie, The Rack, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1956.

Tammy Tartleton, Tammy and the Bachelor (also known as Tammy), Universal, 1957.

Janet Blake, This Happy Feeling, Universal, 1958.

Mariette Larkin, The Mating Game, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959.

Holly LeMaise, Say One for Me, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1959.

Maggie Putnam, It Started with a Kiss, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959.

Nell Nash, The Gazebo, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959.

Peggy Brown, The Rat Race, Paramount, 1960.

Cameo, Pepe, Columbia, 1960.

Jessica Poole, The Pleasure of His Company, Paramount, 1961.

Lucretia Rogers, The Second Time Around, Paramount, 1963.

Lilith Prescott, How the West Was Won, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1963.

Janice Courtney, My Six Loves, Paramount, 1963.

Mary McKellaway, Mary, Mary, Warner Bros., 1963.

Hollywood Without Make-Up, Reel Media, 1963.

Herself, The Story of a Dress, 1964.

Title role, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1964.

Charlie Sorel, Goodbye, Charlie, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964.

Soeur Sourire, The Singing Nun, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1966.

Barbara Harmon, Divorce, American Style, Columbia, 1967.

Jenny Henderson, How Sweet It Is!, National General Pictures, 1968.

Adelle Bruckner, What's the Matter with Helen?, United Artists, 1971.

Voice of Charlotte, Charlotte's Web (animated; also known as E. B. White's Charlotte's Web), Paramount, 1973.

Narrator (with others), That's Entertainment!, United Artists, 1974.

That's Entertainment, Part II, United Artists, 1976.

(Archive footage) That's Dancing!, 1985.

Madame, Majo no takkyubin (also known as Kiki's Delivery Service), 1989.

Herself, The Bodyguard, Warner Bros., 1992.

Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul, 1993.

Eugenia, Heaven and Earth, Warner Bros., 1993.

Host, That's Entertainment! III, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1994.

Herself, Wedding Bell Blues, BMG Independents/Legacy Releasing, 1996.

Beatrice Henderson, Mother, Paramount, 1996.

Berniece Brackett, In and Out, Paramount, 1997.

Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's, Northern Arts, 1997.

B. Blanton, Zack and Reba, 1998.

Voice, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Universal, 1998.

Voice of Mrs. Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, Good Times Entertainment, 1998.

Herself, Keepers of the Frame, 1998.

Voice, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (animated), Paramount, 2000.

Cinerama Adventure, 2002.

Connie and Carla, 2004.

Shoshana Jacovski, Fingers Walking, Entera, 2005.

Television Appearances; Series:

The Eddie Fisher Show, NBC, 1957–59.

Debbie Thompson, The Debbie Reynolds Show (later called Debbie), NBC, 1969–70.

Sydney Chase, Aloha Paradise, ABC, 1981.

Katie Rogers, Brookside, 1987–89.

Host, Debbie Reynolds' Movie Memories, AMC, 1991.

The Real Las Vegas, 1996.

Voice of Lulu Pickles, Rugrats (animated), Nickelodeon, 2001–2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Sadie Rothman, Sadie and Son, CBS, 1987.

Amanda Cody, Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder, NBC, 1989.

Helen Jeffries, Battling for Baby, CBS, 1992.

Aggie Cromwell, Halloweentown, The Disney Channel, 1998.

Ruth "Gram" Martin, The Christmas Wish, ABC, 1998.

Shirlee Allison, A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story, Showtime, 1999.

Gwen, Virtual Mom, 2000.

Piper Grayson, These Old Broads, ABC, 2001.

Aggie Cromwell, Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (also known as Halloweentown II), The Disney Channel, 2001.

Aggie Cromwell, Halloweentown High, The Disney Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Toast of the Town, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1966.

What's My Line?, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1964.

"I Hear America Singing," Ford Star Jubilee, 1955.

"Johnny Grant," This Is Your Life, 1960.

"USO-Wherever They Go!," The DuPont Show of the Week, 1961.

The Andy Williams Show, 1962.

The Hollywood Palace, 1965, 1970.

The Joey Bishop Show, ABC, 1967.

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, 1969, 1970, 1972.

The Andy Williams Show, 1969.

"It's the Power Structure, Baby," Bracken's World, 1969.

Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour, ABC, 1970.

The Dick Cavett Show, 1970, 1976.

The Merv Griffin Show, 1970.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973.

This Is Tom Jones, 1970.

The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, 1971.

Herself, The ABC Comedy Hour, ABC, 1972.

The Mike Douglas Show, 1976.

Sheila Evans, "The Promoter/The Judges/The Family Plan/Forever Engaged: Parts 1 and 2," The Love Boat, 1980.

Felicia Blake, "Sorry, Wrong Lips!," Alice, 1982.

Alice Farrell, Jennifer Slept Here, 1983.

Doris, "First Impressions/Love Finds Florence Nightingale," The Love Boat, 1983.

Barbara Farrell, "Promises to Keep," Hotel, 1986.

Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1987.

Truby Steele, "There Goes the Bride" Part 2, The Golden Girls, 1991.

Deedee Chappel, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother," Wings, NBC, 1994.

Audrey Conner, Roseanne, ABC, 1996.

"Live and Love in La-la Land," Carrie on Hollywood, 1996.

"Chasing the Hollywood Dream," Carrie on Hollywood, 1996.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996, 1999, 2002.

Audrey Conner, "Arsenic and Old Mom," Roseanne, 1997.

Wheel of Fortune, 1998.

Hollywood Squares, 1998.

Bobbi Adler, "The Unsinkable Mommy Adler," Will & Grace, NBC, 1999.

Bobbi Adler, "Whose Mom Is It, Anyway?," Will & Grace, NBC, 1999.

Bobbi Adler, "Lows in the Mid-Eighties," Will & Grace, NBC, 2000.

Larry King Live, CNN, 2001, 2005.

Betty Poplovich, "Manhunt," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2001.

Bobbi Adler, "Moveable Feast," Will & Grace, NBC, 2001.

Katherine Seldes, "Secrets and Lies," First Monday, CBS, 2002.

"Debbie Reynolds," Private Screening, 2002.

Bobbi Adler, "Marry Me a Little, Marry Me a Little More," Will & Grace, NBC, 2002.

Conversations From the Edge with Carrie Fisher, Oxygen, 2003.

Voice of Nann Possible, "The Golden Years," Kim Possible (animated), The Disney Channel, 2003.

Voice of Nann Possible, "A Very Possible Christmas," Kim Possible (animated), The Disney Channel, 2003.

Bobbi Adler, "Fanilow," Will & Grace, NBC, 2003.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC, 2003.

Bobbie Adler, "It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World," Will & Grace, NBC, 2005.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS, 2005.

Bobbi Adler, "Swish Out of Water," Will & Grace, NBC, 2005.

Also appeared in The Carol Burnett Show.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Operation Entertainment, NBC, 1954.

A Star Is Born World Premiere, 1954.

Light's Diamond Jubilee, 1954.

Atlantic City Holiday, 1956.

Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, NBC, 1960.

What About Linda?, 1961.

The Bob Hope Show, NBC, 1971.

Opening Night: U.S.A., CBS, 1972.

The Perry Como Sunshine Show, CBS, 1974.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Bicentennial Star-Spangled Spectacular, NBC, 1976.

Bing!… A 50th Anniversary Gala, CBS, 1977.

Leapin' Lizards, It's Liberace, CBS, 1978.

The Bob Hope Special, NBC, 1979.

The All-Star Salute to Mother's Day, NBC, 1981.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Woman I Love—Beautiful but Funny, NBC, 1982.

Ringmaster, Circus of the Stars #7, CBS, 1982.

Broadway Plays Washington on Kennedy Center Tonight, 1982.

Bob Hope's Happy Birthday Homecoming, NBC, 1985.

The American Film Institute Salute to Gene Kelly, 1985.

Jack Paar Is Alive and Well!, NBC, 1987.

Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood!, ABC, 1987.

The Thalians, AMC, 1991.

Stars and Stripes: Hollywood and World War II, AMC, 1991.

Larry King TNT Extra, TNT, 1991.

Bob Hope and Friends: Making New Memories (also known as Bob Hope's First Time With …), NBC, 1991.

MGM: When the Lion Roars (also known as The MGM Story), TNT, 1992.

Legend to Legend Night, NBC, 1993.

"Betty Grable: Behind the Pin-Up," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

"Liberace: Mr. Showmanship," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

Carrie Fisher: The Hollywood Family, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

Interviewee, Debbie Reynolds (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

Las Vegas, Arts and Entertainment, 1996.

Host, All-Star Moms, CBS, 1997.

20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years, 1997.

Frank Sinatra: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.

Elizabeth Taylor: The E! True Hollywood Story, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Lifetime, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Eva Gabor, Lifetime, 1999.

Ann Miller: I'm Still Here, TCM, 2000.

The Trail of the Ruby Slippers: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

Elizabeth Taylor: England's Other Elizabeth, 2000.

(Uncredited) Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, 2001.

Pops Goes the Fourth! 2001, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer, 2002.

Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales, HBO, 2003.

Interviewee, Las Vegas Live! (documentary), Bravo, 2004.

Interviewee, Hollywood Home Movies, Arts and Entertainment, 2004.

Interviewee, AFI's 100 Years … 100 Songs: America's Greatest Music in the Movies, CBS, 2004.

Magic Moments: The Best of 50's Pop, 2004.

Also appeared in A Visit with Debbie Reynolds.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 30th Annual Academy Awards, 1958.

Presenter, The 36th Annual Academy Awards, 1964.

The 37th Annual Academy Awards, 1965.

Presenter, The 38th Annual Academy Awards, 1966.

The 44th Annual Academy Awards, 1972.

The 46th Annual Academy Awards, 1974.

The 50th Annual Academy Awards, 1978.

Host, The 37th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 1980.

Presenter, The 58th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1986.

Presenter, The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

Television Work; Movies:

Director, Letter to My Mother, 1998.

Television Work; Series:

Producer, Debbie Reynolds' Movie Memories, AMC, 1991.



Do It Debbie's Way (exercise video), 1984.

That's Entertainment! III Behind the Screen, 1994.

The Making of "Rugrats In Paris", 2000.

Host, What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of "Singin' in the Rain", 2002.

Madame, Behind the Microphone: Kiki's Delivery Service, 2003.


Singin' in the Rain, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1952.

Singing Nun, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1966.

And Then I Sing, 1971.

Two Weeks With Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1972.

Divorce American Style, United Artists, 1972.

Say One for Me, Columbia, 1972.

The Best of Debbie Reynolds (compilation), Curb, 1972.

Tammy and the Bachelor, Coral, 1972.

I Love Melvin, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1972.

Am I That Easy to Forget?, Dot, 1975.

Athena, Mercury, 1975.

Bundle of Joy, RCA Victor, 1975.

Charlotte's Web, Paramount, 1975.

Fine and Dandy, Dot, 1975.

From Debbie With Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1975.

Hit the Deck, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1975.

How the West Was Won, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1975.

Irene, Columbia, 1975.

Tammy, Dot, 1975.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1981.

Debbie, Dot, 1985.

Debbie/Am I That Easy to Forget?, Jasmine Records, 1996.

Cocktail Hour, Columbia River, 2001.


Recorded numerous singles, including "Tammy" and "Aba Daba Honeymoon."



If I Knew Then, 1963.

(With David Patrick Columbia) Debbie—My Life, Morrow (New York City), 1988.



New York Times, February 25, 1973.

Texas Monthly, May, 1997, pp. 208.

Reynolds, Debbie

views updated May 23 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, 1 April 1932. Education: Attended high school in Burbank, California. Family: Married 1) the singer Eddie Fisher, 1955 (divorced 1959), daughter: the actress Carrie Fisher, son: Todd Fisher; 2) Harry Karl, 1960 (divorced 1973); 3) Richard Hamlett, 1985. Career: 1948—film debut in June Bride; contract with Warner Brothers, 1948–50, and with MGM, 1950–59; nightclub work since 1961; 1969–70—actress in The Debbie Reynolds Show; 1973—star of Irene on Broadway; 1981—in TV series Aloha Paradise. Address: Raymax Productions, 6514 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91606, U.S.A.

Films as Actress:


June Bride (Windust) (as Boo's girl friend)


The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (Butler) (as Maureen O'Grady); Three Little Words (Thorpe) (as Helen Kane); Two Weeks with Love (Rowland) (as Melba Robinson)


Mr. Imperium (Hartman) (as Gwen)


Singin' in the Rain (Donen and Kelly) (as Kathy Selden); Skirts Ahoy! (Lanfield) (as herself)


I Love Melvin (Weis) (as Judy Leroy); The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (Weis) (as Pansy Hammer); Give a Girl a Break (Donen) (as Suzy Doolittle)


Susan Slept Here (Tashlin) (as Susan); Athena (Thorpe) (as Minerva Mulvain)


Hit the Deck (Rowland) (as Carol Pace); The Tender Trap (Walters) (as Julie Gillis)


The Catered Affair (Richard Brooks) (as Jane Hurley); Bundle of Joy (Taurog) (as Polly Parrish); Meet Me in Las Vegas (Viva Las Vegas) (Rowland)


Tammy and the Bachelor (Pevney) (as Tammy)


This Happy Feeling (Edwards) (as Janet Blake)


The Mating Game (George Marshall) (as Marietta Larkin); Say One for Me (Tashlin) (as Holly); It Started with a Kiss (George Marshall) (as Maggie); The Gazebo (George Marshall) (as Nell Nash)


The Rat Race (Mulligan) (as Peggy Brown); Pepe (Sidney) (as guest)


The Pleasure of His Company (Seaton) (as Jessica Poole); The Second Time Around (Sherman) (as Lucretia)


How the West Was Won (Hathaway, Ford, and Marshall) (as Lilith Prescott); My Six Loves (Champion) (as Janice Courtney); Mary, Mary (LeRoy) (title role)


The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Walters) (title role); Goodbye Charlie (Minnelli) (as George)


The Singing Nun (Koster) (as Sister Ann)


Divorce American Style (Yorkin) (as Barbara Harmon)


How Sweet It Is! (Paris) (as Jenny)


What's the Matter with Helen? (Harrington) (as Adelle Bruckner)


Charlotte's Web (Nichols and Takamoto) (as voice of Charlotte)


That's Entertainment! (Haley Jr.) (as narrator)


Sadie and Jon (Moxey—for TV)


Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (Nyby—for TV) (as Amanda Cody)


The Bodyguard (Jackson) (as herself); Battling for Baby (Art Wolff—for TV)


Heaven and Earth (Stone) (as Eugenia); Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul (Gregory Orr—doc)


That's Entertainment! III (Friedgen and Sheridan) (as host)


Mother (Albert Brooks)


Wedding Bell Blues (Lustig) (as herself); In & Out (Oz) (as Bernice Brackett)


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Gilliam) (as voice of herself); Zack and Reba (Bettauer) (as B. Blanton); Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (Kowalchuk) (as voice of Mrs. Santa Claus); Halloweentown (Dunham—for TV) (as Aggie Cromwell); The Christmas Wish (Barry—for TV) (as Ruth)


Keepers of the Frame (McLaughlin) (as herself); A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story (Korty) (as Shirlee Allison)


By REYNOLDS: books—

If I Knew Then, New York, 1963.

Debbie: My Life, with David Patrick Columbia, New York, 1988, 1989, 1991.

On REYNOLDS: books—

Rosen, Marjorie, Popcorn Venus, New York, 1973.

Farber, Stephen, and Marc Green, Hollywood Dynasties, New York, 1984.

On REYNOLDS: articles—

Current Biography 1964, New York, 1964.

Chambers, Andrea, "Debbie Reynolds, Hollywood's Perennial Girl-next-door, Looks Back on a Life of Broken Promises," in People Weekly, 24 October 1988.

Norman, Barry, "Films," in Radio Times (London), vol. 248, vol. 3499, 12 January 1991.

Stanley, J., "Dishing from Debbie," in Emmy (North Hollywood), vol. 13, no. 5, October 1991.

"The Reynolds Rap," in Film Threat (Beverly Hills), no. 8, February 1993.

Hample, Henry S., "Debbie Reynolds," in Premiere (New York), vol. 7, January 1994.

Schwager, J., "Still 'Singin',"' in Boxoffice (Chicago), vol. 130, May 1994.

Bennetts, L., "Debbie in the Desert," in Vanity Fair (New York), vol. 57, October 1994.

Corliss, Richard, "Debbie Does Vegas," in Time, 24 April 1995.

"Debbie Reynolds Chats with Daughter Carrie Fisher," in Good Housekeeping, February 1997.

Furnish, D., "The Texan Who Became Debbie Reynolds," in Interview, January 1997.

Wayne, G., "A New Debbie Dawning: Debbie Reynolds and Her Maternal Flame," in Vanity Fair (New York), February 1997.

Spada, James, "The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds," in McCall's, March 1997.

* * *

Debbie Reynolds may have been crowned Miss Burbank of 1948, but the qualities she brought to her movie debut that same year were more those of the cheerleader than the beauty queen. Her ebullient girlishness hit exactly the right note in the musicals and comedies which became her staple, and her popularity was so immediate that she was given starring roles while still a novice. Her early parts did not vary much, but her charm was so effortless that she could nudge a movie into the next higher notch of entertainment by the sheer force of enthusiasm. Her singing and dancing were no more than competent yet she was repeatedly cast in musicals, perhaps because her sprightly and buoyant character so readily lent itself to the musical's unreal milieu.

Her gifts as a mimic, mined more thoroughly in the nightclub acts of her later career, are already in evidence in the delightful I Love Melvin, as is her inherent sense of comedy timing. She shows precocious skills as a farceur in such films as The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and Susan Slept Here, when the script requires only that she be adorable.

Her zeal began to seem a bit forced in The Tender Trap, The Catered Affair, and A Bundle of Joy. A slurpy sentimentality crept into her vehicles, beginning with Tammy and the Bachelor. She could be theatrical and obvious in The Gazebo, How the West Was Won, and Mary, Mary. Still, her talents remain formidable. Witness her popular star turn as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a role she played on screen and stage. And when she allows herself an offbeat role, as in the witty What's the Matter with Helen?, the results can be agreeably loopy.

Reynolds's career of late has not focused on feature filmmaking. Since the 1970s, she has led a crusade to restore and preserve the objects and real estate of Hollywood history, including buildings, costumes, posters, and props. She also has assembled an impressive collection of vintage movie memorabilia. These activities have made her one of the most respected citizens of Hollywood. Professionally, her career has been relegated almost exclusively to the stage and club dates, and to her appearances in two aerobic exercise videotapes. She also wrote an autobiography, Debbie: My Life.

Still, her beauty and exuberance merely await the right screen role. Having acquitted herself so admirably with Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain when she was no more than 19, what might she be capable of now?

—Frank Thompson, updated by Audrey E. Kupferberg