Culture News

Debbie Reynolds Dies at 84

Actress and singer Debbie Reynolds died on Wednesday, December 28, after reportedly suffering a stroke. She was 84.

Reynolds' death follows that of her daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher, who died on December 27, following a heart attack at age 60.

Reynolds' career as a performer spanned decades. She came up through MGM's studio system as a bubbly ingénue and rose to fame singing and dancing alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in 1964's The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Reynolds married and had two children, Carrie and Todd, with performer Eddie Fisher. Her persona as America's Sweetheart crystallized when Reynolds and Fisher divorced because of his affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds married twice more — to Harry Karl and then Richard Hamlett — and each marriage ended in divorce.

Her career continued on stage and on screen, where she amassed 82 acting credits. Reynolds starred in her own Golden Globe-nominated TV show, founded a dance studio, owned a hotel and casino, was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Will & Grace, and appeared in the millennial favorite Disney Channel movie series, Halloweentown.

Reynolds was also a noted movie memorabilia collector, stage performer, and humanitarian. In 2015, she won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars. And in 2014, Reynolds won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Though Fisher based her semi-autobiographical book, Postcards from the Edge, on her sometimes strained relationship with her mother, as well as her struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder, she and Reynolds were close.

The pair shared a Beverly Hills, California, compound and were the subject of a documentary that premièred at Cannes earlier this year. Titled Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, it's set to air on HBO sometime in 2017, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Both Reynolds and Fisher are survived by Todd. "She's with Carrie," he told TMZ.
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski