7 Things You Didn’t Know About Debbie Reynolds

Above: Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 - December 28, 2016) and her daughter, Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 - December 27, 2016)
Above: Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 - December 28, 2016) and her daughter, Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 - December 27, 2016)

Debbie Reynolds tragically died of a stroke on December 28, 2016, just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away. She was 84.

The iconic Hollywood actress was known for much so more than being the Star Wars actress’ mother. She was just 19 when she landed a leading role in the iconic film Singin’ in the Rain. It was that role that jump-started the ingénue’s career in Hollywood — a career lasting several decades.

Here are seven surprising facts you may not know about the one and only Debbie Reynolds:

Jack Warner changed her name
She was born Mary Frances Reynolds, but Jack Warner changed her name. “I didn’t want to be called Debbie, but that’s the name Jack Warner gave me,” she once said.

The Miss Burbank beauty pageant
Reynolds career kicked off back in 1948, when at 16 years old she won the Miss Burbank beauty pageant in California. She was spotted by Warner Bros. scouts and offered a $65-a-week contract. She later admitted she had only entered the competition because of the free scarf and blouse being offered to contestants.

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Above: Reynolds with Kelly in Singing In The Rain (1952)

Her breakout role was Singin’ in the Rain
Her breakout role was in the 1952 movie Singin’ in the Rain, but she once said of the part, which left her feet bleeding as she tried to keep up with her costar Gene Kelly, “Singin’ in the Rain and childbirth were the hardest things I ever had to do in my life.”

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Above: Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

The Elizabeth Taylor love triangle
Her first husband, Eddie Fisher — Carrie’s father — left her for actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1958. The press went wild and the outpouring of public sympathy increased Reynolds’ fame, due to Taylor’s femme-fatale reputation and Reynolds’ girl-next-door image. Reynolds eventually forgave Taylor and they rekindled their friendship and even costarred in the 2001 TV movie These Old Broads, written by Carrie Fisher.

She was married three times
Her husbands were actor Eddie Fisher, millionaire businessman Harry Karl and real estate developer Richard Hamlett.

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Above: Reynolds made it her mission to preserve the history of the Hollywood film industry

She helped preserve Hollywood’s iconic costumes
Reynolds was, in a way, Hollywood’s enthusiastic and self-appointed art historian and helped preserve hundreds of costumes from some of the most iconic films. She started buying up classic movie props and costumes in 1970 and created one of the greatest personal collections ever assembled, a combination of items she purchased and gifts from her famous friends. Some of her other big ticket items included a pair of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, one of Scarlett O’Hara’s dresses from Gone With The Wind, Audrey Hepburn’s dress from My Fair Lady, a bowler hat of Charlie Chaplin’s and Orson Welles’ fur coat from Citizen Kane. “My lifetime dream has been to assemble and preserve the history of the Hollywood film industry,” Reynolds told the Las Vegas Sun in 2011.

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Above: Granddaughter Billie Lourd accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for Reynolds who was unable to attend

She never won an Academy Award
Despite her lengthy career, Reynolds never actually won an Academy Award. She was nominated for Best Actress for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 1965, but lost to Mary Poppins‘ Julie Andrews. She was finally honoured with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in November 2015.


RELATED:
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Carrie Fisher

Christopher Turner

Christopher Turner

AmongMen’s Editor-in-Chief is a well-respected fashion and style writer whose works have appeared in Fashionism, Fashion Television, MSN, DesignLines, the Kaboose Network, the Disney Family Network and Sun Media. He also has a collection of designer kicks that would make Imelda Marcos blush and lives in Toronto’s trendy east end. Follow him at: @Turnstylin.

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