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Debbie Reynolds was an actress from the 1940s to the 2010s. She was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas in 1932. Her family moved to Burbank, California when she was 7. When she was 16 and still in high school, she won the Miss Burbank Beauty Contest, as well as a contract with Warner Brothers, and they gave her a new first name. It wasn't until she was 18 that she got her first real role, and just two years later she was selected to play the lead in Singin' in the Rain! She later said "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life"! She starred in both musicals and non-musicals in the 1950s and 1960s and had a giant hit song with "Tammy" (from the movie Tammy and the Bachelor in 1957). She really stood out in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film) and How the West Was Won in 1968. She had a tumultuous private life! She had two children with first husband Eddie Fisher before he dumped her for recently widowed Liz Taylor, and second husband Harry Karl gambled away his fortune (and hers) and left her broke. Her daughter was Carrie Fisher, of Star Wars fame. When MGM insanely decided to auction off all its old props and costumes in 1970, Debbie saw this as a great opportunity, and she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the auction, including buying a pair of Ruby Red slippers for $15,000. She has had two different museums of her collection over the years. In 1991, she was trying to get her museum going, and she invited me to her house to talk about it. We sat in her little living room, her in her housecoat and scarf over her hair, and it was like just "one friend talking to another". Later, she invited my wife and I to dinner at a ritzy restaurant, and she showed up looking every bit the great Hollywood star she was. She went to the maitre d' and asked for a table, even though she had not made a reservation. He said, "I'm sorry, but we have no tables" and she said, "You know who I am, and I think you can find us a table", and he did! Reynolds passed away a day after daughter Carrie Fisher in 2016, at the age of 84. She was a very fine lady who was supremely talented, and my heart goes out to her family.
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