Actress and singer Debbie Reynolds was born on this day in 1932

Most of Debbie Reynolds roles contained musical performances

Actress and singer Debbie Reynolds was born on this day in 1932

Actress and singer Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932, in El Paso, Texas. Reynolds, who got her start in beauty pageants before being discovered by a Warner Bros. film scout, made her cinematic debut in a modest part in 1948’s “June Bride,” followed by a more noticeable role in the musical “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (1950). Signing with MGM later that year, she showcased her flair for impersonation in “Three Little Words,” in which she portrayed 1920s vocalist Helen Kane. Reynolds co-starred in the film with comedian Red Skelton and dance icon Fred Astaire, whom she would later call out as being supremely kind and helpful sharing his tips about dancing. Reynolds went on to establish a film career as one of the most popular actresses of her time. Known for an array of musicals in the 1950s, she made a star turn in “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), in which she offered a spirited performance opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. The following decade, Reynolds won the respect of her peers with her title role in the musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Reynolds was married three times. Her first marriage was to singer Eddie Fisher in 1955. They became the parents of Carrie (1956–2016) and Todd Fisher (1958). The couple divorced in 1959 when Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor shortly after the death of Taylor’s husband Mike Todd; Taylor and Reynolds were good friends at the time. The Eddie Fisher – Elizabeth Taylor affair was a great public scandal, which led to the cancellation of Eddie Fisher’s television show. Reynolds continued to act and sing for more than 40 more years via film, television and the stage. On December 28, 2016, Reynolds died at the age of 84, just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died.

By Ken Warren, 2018

Watch Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O’Connor sing “Good Morning” in “Singin’ in the Rain”

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