Debbie Reynolds in a press photo
Born in Texas, her family moved to California in 1939, where Mary Frances Reynolds would win a local beauty contest. Movie studios MGM and Warner both fought over Miss Burbank 1948. They settled it with a coin toss; Jack L. Warner christened her "Debbie."
Debbie Reynolds sang like a songbird, had a cherubic face that could soften the meanest of audiences, and parked her red 1955 Ford Thunderbird at Bob's Big Boy Burbank.
Debbie wins Miss Burbank beauty pageant
Debbie starred with Fred Astaire in Three Little Words (1950). Then quickly hit the big time, dancing and Singin' in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly.
Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds
Frank Sinatra starred opposite her in the Tender Trap (1955). She played the gambler’s bride in one of MGM’s last “old-fashioned” epics, How the West Was Won (1962). Debbie earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) and a Golden Globe nomination for Mother (1996).
Frank Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds
Frank Sinatra warned Debbie about marrying “us singers,” but she married singer Eddie Fisher anyway, who left her to be with Elizabeth Taylor. It was a husband-stealing scandal that rocked the world in 1959. Her marriage to Fisher gave her two children. Her daughter, Carrie, who would hit it big as Princess Leia in Star Wars, and her son Todd, who told reporters after the tragic death of Carrie, that his mother said, "I want to be with Carrie." Debbie died a day later of a stroke.
The HBO documentary Bright Lights (2016) is a documentary about the relationship between Debbie and her daughter, Carrie.
Debbie Reynold's star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame is at 6654 Hollywood Blvd.
Debbie with her 1955 Thunderbird