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Who was actress Debbie Reynolds?

Born Marie Frances Reynolds under the sign of Aries on the 1st of April 1932, in El Paso, Texas USA, of Scots-Irish and English descent, Debbie was a Caucasian actress, singer, film historian, businesswoman, humanitarian, and the mother of the world-famous actress Carrie Fisher. She is perhaps best known to the world for her significant presence on both the cinema and TV screens in various prestigious and well-performed roles, such as in “Singin’ in the Rain”, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “In & Out.” She had a number of other roles during her lengthy and often lucrative acting career from 1948 until 2015. Debbie passed away on the 28th of December 2016 aged 84, just a day after her daughter succumbed following a heart attack.

Early Life and Education

Debbie was raised in her birthplace by her father Raymond Francis ‘Ray’ Reynolds, a Southern Pacific Railroad carpenter, and her mother, Maxine ‘Minnie’ (nee Herman), who did laundry locally so that their family could survive poverty, living in a shack on Magnolia Street in El Paso. Debbie had a two-years-older brother named William. What helped Debbie’s family persist through this part of their lives was the fact that they were devout followers of the Nazarene church. In 1939, when Debbie was only seven years old, her family had saved enough to move to Burbank in California, where she attended Burbank High School, and in 1948 won the Miss Burbank beauty pageant. In spite of her popularity, it was revealed by her high school friend that she didn’t date too much in high school, stating: ‘They never found her attractive in school. She was cute, but sort of tomboyish, and as her family never had any money to speak of, she never dressed well or drove a car. I think during all the years in school, she was invited to only one dance.’ On this subject, Debbie herself stated: ‘When I started, I didn’t even know how to dress. I wore dungarees and a shirt. I had no money, no taste and no training.’

Her Beginning

Upon winning the said beauty pageant, Marie was instantly noticed and contacted by Warner Bros, and soon nicknamed ‘Debbie’ by Jack L. Warner himself. She was actually supposed to go to either MGM or Warner Bros, but the talent scouts that attended the contest agreed on a coin toss, and it ended in favor of Warner Bros. Thus, Debbie stayed there for two years, appearing in various musicals until the movie company stopped producing them.


Although she first hit the screen in 1948 in an uncredited role in “June Bride”, her official debut appearance was as Maureen O’Grady in “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady.” Her first vocal performance was the song “I Wanna Be Loved by You” in “Three Little Words” in 1950., after which she left Warner Bros and joined MGM, where she would obtain the most significant role of her life, as Kathy Selden in “Singin’ in the Rain” in 1952. Her fame then skyrocketed, and she overnight became a highly sought-after actress, resulting in one of the longest acting careers to date. Over the course of the next ten years, Debbie appeared in 21 films, oftentimes in a major role, then in eight more roles prior to 1970, including her very significant lead role performance in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Her TV series debut was in “Pat Paulsen’s Half a Comedy Hour”, after which through the early ‘70s she had her own series, entitled “The Debbie Reynolds Show.” She had an eight-year-long break in between 1973 and 1981, but then had over 20 more roles up to 2000, including featuring in “Will & Grace” from 1999 to 2006.

Career Post-2000

Although Debbie was 68 years old in 2000, she still then had more roles than many Hollywood actors. She started out with three in 2000, following by three more in 2001. Additionally, she was a voice actress in “Rugrats” from 2000 to 2002. In between 2003 to 2007, she voiced Nana Possible in “Kim Possible,” then to Mrs. Wilson in “Family Guy” in 2008, and to Granny Squirrel in “The Penguins of Madagascar”, while concurrently starring in a short movie entitled “In the Picture”. After that, she starred in “Behind the Candelabra” in 2013, and her final role was voicing in “The 7D” in 2015, at which point she was 83 years old. She was finally featured with her daughter in a documentary about her life in 2016.

Her Awards

With one of the most impressive acting careers recorded, Debbie Reynolds’ name is behind a total of 18 awards and 36 nominations. It’s important to note that she won all of her Walk of Fame, Screen Actors Guild, Savannah Film Festival, Satellite, Photoplay and Palm Springs International Film Festival awards, which is a total of seven. She was nominated for the Golden Globe award a total of five times, but never won one. That said, she won both of her American Comedy Awards, Costume Designers Guild Awards, Golden Apple Awards, Golden Boot Awards, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Lone Star Film & Television Awards and National Board of Review nominations. In 2016, she was rewarded with an Humanitarian Award by the Academy.

An Entrepreneur

Debbie opened her own dance studio in North Hollywood in 1979, and released her self-produced exercise video entitled “Do It Debbie’s Way!” in 1983. Additionally, she bought the Clarion Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1992, which she later renamed to “The Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel.” However, this turned out to be a poor investment, and the famous actress declared bankruptcy in 1997. She began responding to reader queries for “Globe” magazine, instead of Ivana Trump in 2010.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds on Thursday, November 24, 2011

Love Life

Debbie had three marriages, firstly to singer Eddie Fisher in 1955, which produced Debbie’s first and most famous child, Carrie Fisher in October 1956, and then son Todd Emmanuel Fisher in February 1958. She divorced Eddie in 1959 when she found out he had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor, a scandal at the time which lost Eddie his television show. In 1960, Debbie married millionaire businessman Harry Karl, but his bad habits such as heavy gambling and spending saw Debbie filing for divorce in 1973. In 1984 she married for the third time, to Richard Hamlett – a real-estate developer, but they divorced under unexplained circumstances in 1996, and she never married again.

Her Death

On the 23rd of December 2016, Carrie Fisher suffered a medical emergency on her flight to Los Angeles and was given instant medical attention, after which she was taken into intensive care. However, she didn’t manage to recover, and unfortunately passed away four days later at the age of 60. The next day, news of her death apparently caused Debbie to suffer a severe stroke, at which point she was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was pronounced dead in the afternoon on that same day at the age of 84, the cause of death being intracerebral hemorrhage with hypertension.

What is Debbie Reynolds’ Net Worth?

Have you ever wondered how rich Debbie Reynolds is, as of mid-2018? According to various authoritative sources, it has been estimated that the current total of Debbie’s accumulated wealth is over $85 million, largely aided by her near-uncountable successes in the entertainment industry, with the greatest contributions coming from her most prominent performances, such as the one in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Body Measurements

In the 1960s, Debbie Reynolds was considered one of the most attractive actresses alive. Back then, her vital statistics were 34-23-35, her height was 5ft 2ins (1.57m) and her weight was 112lbs (51kg). Additionally, her dress size was 4, her shoe size was 6 and her bra size was 32B, while her body shape was generally considered hourglass, and she had golden hair with bright green eyes.

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