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Debbie Reynolds Dies at 84

The Passing of the Famed Actress and Singer is Just One Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher's Death

Just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds has passed away due to complications from a stroke. Debbie was rushed to a hospital shortly after 1 p.m. today when someone at the Beverly Hills home of her son, Todd, called 911 to report a possible stroke. Debbie and Todd were said to be making funeral plans for Carrie, who died Tuesday of cardiac arrest.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,”
said her son Todd Fisher.

Born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932 in El Paso Texas, Reynolds signed a contract with Warner Bros. after winning the Miss Burbank beauty contest while in high school and acquired Debbie as her new first name. Her first movie role of note was in 1950 in “Three Little Words,” for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Reynolds also regularly appeared in movie musicals during the 1950s, most notably “Singin’ in the Rain” in 1952, and had several hit records during the period. Her song “Aba Daba Honeymoon” (featured in the 1950 film “Two Weeks with Love”) was a top-three hit in 1951. In “Bundle of Joy” in 1956, she appeared with her then-husband, Eddie Fisher.

Reynolds’ other notable movie successes include “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis” (1953), “Susan Slept Here” (1954), “The Catered Affair (1956, which resulted in the 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.”

Reynolds also starred in “How the West Was Won” (1963), and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964), which earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She also headlined “The Singing Nun” (1966), “Divorce American Style” (1967), “What’s the Matter with Helen?” (1971), “Mother” (1996 Golden Globe nomination), and “In & Out” (1997).

On Broadway, Reynolds starred in a revival of the musical “Irene” and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. On television she headlined “The Debbie Reynolds Show” from 1969 to 1970, 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 guest-starring as Grace’s (Debra Messing) mother on sitcom “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 also did voice work for many animated film and TV works, starting with the title character in 1973’s “Charlotte’s Web.” and providing voices for the English version of anime “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie,” “Rugrats in Paris” and “Light of Olympia.”

In 2016, a documentary about her life was released titled “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.”

Reynolds is survived by her son Todd, a TV commercial director from her marriage to Eddie Fisher; and granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd.

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Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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