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Mary Frances Reynolds

Also Known As: "Frannie", "Aba Dabba", "Debbie Fisher", "Karl"
Birthplace: El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States
Death: December 28, 2016 (84)
Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States (stroke, possibly induced by stress of daughter's death the previous day)
Place of Burial: 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, 90068, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Raymond Francis Reynolds and Maxine "Minnie" Reynolds
Ex-wife of Harry Karl; Eddie Fisher and Richard Ronald Hamlett
Mother of Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher
Sister of William Owen "Billy" Reynolds

Occupation: Actor, singer, dancer, author, businessperson
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was an American actor, singer, entertainer, businesswoman, film historian, humanitarian and a noted former collector of film memorabilia. Her breakout role was the portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. However, it was her first leading role in 1952 at age 19, as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain, that set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star. Other notable successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956 Golden Globe nomination), The Catered Affair (1956 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Winner), and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her rendering of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the music charts. In 1959, she released her first pop music album, entitled Debbie.

She starred in How the West Was Won (1963) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a biographical film about the famously boisterous Molly Brown. Her performance as Molly Brown earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other notable films include The Singing Nun (1966), Divorce American Style (1967), What's the Matter with Helen? (1971), Mother (1996 Golden Globe nomination), and In & Out (1997). Reynolds was also a noted cabaret performer. In 1979 she founded the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood, which still operates today.

In 1973 Reynolds starred in a Broadway revival of the musical Irene and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. In 1969 she starred in her own television show The Debbie Reynolds Show, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance in A Gift of Love (1999) and an Emmy Award for playing Grace's mother Bobbi on Will & Grace. At the turn of the millennium, Reynolds reached a new younger generation with her role as Aggie Cromwell in Disney's Halloweentown series. In 1988 she released her autobiography titled Debbie: My Life. In 2013, she released an updated version titled Unsinkable: A Memoir.

Reynolds was a noted businesswoman, having operated her own hotel in Las Vegas. She was also a collector of film memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1970 MGM auction. She was the former president of The Thalians, an organization dedicated to mental health causes. Reynolds continued to perform successfully on stage, television, and film into her eighties. In January 2015, Reynolds received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In August 2015, it was announced Reynolds would be the recipient of the 2016 Academy Awards Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In 2016, a documentary about her life was released titled Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

On December 28, 2016, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, Reynolds was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, in fair-to-serious condition after an unspecified medical emergency at her son's home. Later that afternoon, Reynolds died in the hospital.

Actress. Perky and multitalented, she experienced success on stage, in films and on television. She will perhaps be remembered for playing ‘Kathy Selden’ opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Born Mary Francis Reynolds, her father worked as a railroad carpenter for Southern Pacific, her mother washed laundry to provide additional income. She moved with her family to Southern California during her mid teens. After winning the ‘Miss Burbank’ beauty contest, she was spotted by Hollywood talent scouts. This led to her motion picture debut in the Warner Brothers film “June Bride” (1948) which was followed with the a string of musicals including “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (1950) and “Three Little Words” (1950). Further films include “The Affairs of Doby Gillis” (1953), “The Tender Trap” (1955, opposite Frank Sinatra), “Tammy and the Bachelor” (1957), “It Started with a Kiss” (1959) and “The Rat Race” (1960, opposite Tony Curtis). In 1955 (divorced in 1959), she married singer Eddie Fisher and their marriage produced their children, actress Carrie Fisher and TV director Todd Fisher. She received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title role in the film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964) and had additional memorable credits with “The Singing Nun” (1966), “Divorce, American Style” (1967) and “How Sweet It Is” (1968). Her own TV series “The Debbie Reynolds Show” ran for one season (1969 to 1970). In 1973, she made her Broadway debut in the production “Irene” for which she received a Tony Award nomination. The play was also of note for costarring her daughter Carrie. She will also be remembered for providing the voice of ‘Charlotte’ in the animated children’s film “Charlotte’s Web” (1973). During the course of her career, she earned five Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy Award nomination. In 1997 she received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and in 2016, she was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. After divorcing Eddie Fisher, she married two more time, however both marriages also ended in divorce. In 1985, she recorded two exercise videotapes and in 1988, she published her autobiography “Debbie: My Life”. Her relationship with her daughter Carrie Fisher was often stormy and was the basis for Fisher’s novel “Postcards from the Edge” (1987). A film adaptation of the same title for which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine was made in 1990. Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke she suffered one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

Bio by: C.S.


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Debbie Reynolds's Timeline

April 1, 1932
El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States

Mary Frances Reynolds Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932

Name Mary Frances Reynolds
Birth Date 1 Apr 1932
Gender Female
Birth Place El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
Father Raymond Francis Reynolds
Father Birth Place Texas
Mother Maxine Harmon
Mother Birth Place Okla
Mother Residence 3117 N. Piedras

October 21, 1956
Age 24
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
February 24, 1958
Age 25
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, United States