Debbie Reynolds

Just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds succumbed as well. It sounds like the official cause of death will read stroke, but the truth is likely closer to a broken heart.

I knew Debbie Reynolds before I knew her daughter. Fisher gained stardom in a galaxy far, 002-singin-in-the-rain-theredlistfar away from the household I grew up in, but my love for Singin In The Rain is nearly timeless. She was just 19 when she saw the soaring success of that movie, but she followed it up with many other notable roles, including in movies such as Bundle of Joy, The Catered Affair, How The West Was Won, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Mother, and In & Out. She was also on Broadway, in cabaret, and reached a whole new generation through her work on television (Will & Grace, Halloweentown).

Debbie and Carrie infamously had a rocky relationship, some of which was portrayed in Carrie Fisher’s book\script Postcards From The Edge. Needing to find her own identity, Fisher sought distance from her famous mother’s shadow and the two were estranged for a decade, while Fisher dealt with addictions and mental illness.

The pair have since reconciled, and were never more closely bonded than they were before their deaths. During a sitdown with Oprah a few years ago, Reynolds said: “I would say that Carrie and I have finally found happiness. I admire her strength and survival. I admire that she is alive, that she has chosen to make it. It would have been easy to give up and give in and to keep doing drugs. I always feel, as a mother does, that I protect her. I want happiness for my daughter — I want Carrie to be happy.”

Carrie responded: “What I say about being happy is that I am ‘also happy.’ I’m happy among other things. Happy is one of the many feelings or experiences that I will have throughout a day. I think happy has been sort of made into this Hallmark card of a word, and I don’t know what that means. So I will just say that I enjoy my life, I make choices, I do what I want to do. I am a strong person, I’m not afraid of almost anything, and that’s a lot because of your example.”

We weren’t ready to lose either one of them, but wherever they are, at least they’re together.

Debbie And Carrie

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Opening of "Irene" - March 13, 1973

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21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Press Room

 

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25 thoughts on “Debbie Reynolds

  1. Christopher

    I’ve loved “Singin’ In The Rain” for most of my life–and “Star Wars” too–but I never really thought about the connection between Reynolds and Fisher until I read this great tribute.
    Thank you.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I know. It’s hard to keep that straight in your head, that 2 legends can be from the same family.

      I remember at my Oscar party a couple of years ago, the Oscars were paying tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz, and some of my guests wondered why the camera kept panning to Liza Minnelli. She’s the daughter of Judy Garland of course, but it seems hard to remember that at times.

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  2. Widdershins

    I see the two of them meeting up in the Summerlands … they hug and Carrie says, “Ma, you couldn’t wait until AFTER my funeral?” 😀
    To which Debbie says, “Strangled by your bra? Really, Honey?” 😀

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  3. Birgit

    This is a touching tribute to very supremely talented women and I think they were proud of each other in the last few years. I just feel horribly for their family left behind.

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  4. Liz A.

    There were some pretty great responses on Twitter. I think my favorite had to do with Postcards from the Edge and being upstaged in death. I guess 2016 wanted to get one last shot in before it goes.

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  5. Caz

    What a fantastic tribute to such a horrendous situation, I really do believe as well that she died of a broken heart not being able to deal with the stress of Carrie dying.

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  6. reocochran

    It was unmistakable when I woke up and heard Debbie had died, it was like Johnny and June Carter Cash, didn’t they die within months of each other?
    Awful to think or say out loud, but if one of my grown children or grandchildren died before I did, I would be very heartbroken. I know if we were in a wrestling match with the devil, I would make a bargain to save any or all of them over my life!

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