Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Debbie Reynolds!

I gave it all that I had, and it's gratifying that others seem to be receiving it so well.
Debbie Reynolds
Happy Beginning of April!

I wish you all a month of happiness and successes. 
Today, I'm celebrating one of my favorite entertainers and people, 
Debbie Reynolds! 
I'm actually in a movie with Debbie! Dori Berenstein's Carol Channing: Larger Than Life! See this film! You will see how big Debbie's heart truly is! Debbie also worked tirelessly for years along with Ruta Lee for The Thalians.
Today is Debbie's birthday.
Debbie (nee Mary Frances) Reynolds was born in 1932, grew up poor in Texas and California, was crowned "Miss Burbank" at age 16.
 In her memoir, written with freelancer Columbia, the performer strongly resembles "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," one of her notable film roles.She has Scotch-Irish and English ancestry.

Reynolds was a Girl Scout and a troop leader (a scholarship in her name is offered to high-school age Girl Scouts). Her family moved to Burbank, California, in 1939, and she was raised in a strict Nazarene faith.

At age 16, while a student at Burbank's John Burroughs High School, Reynolds won the Miss Burbank Beauty Contest, a contract with Warner Bros., and acquired a new first name.
  I have been a fan from as long as I've known who she is. Singin In The Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown are two of the most iconic films to come out of the golden age of Hollywood. 

They also happen to be two of my favorite films. I watch them every time they are shown on Turner Classic Movies. If Debbie had done nothing else in her career but those two films, she still would have won our hearts as one of the great actresses.

 She can act (comedy AND drama), sing, and dance! She has led an exemplary career and life with class and dignity...even when the rest of the world was falling down around her. She has won the title, Unsinkable, which happens to also be the title of  her upcoming memoir.

It has been 24 years since Debbie Reynolds: My Life came out! Where has the time gone?
Debbie has continued to perform in cabaret, concert halls, television, and an occasional film. 

I posted on Facebook and Twitter today that I was doing this tribute. Here are a few of the comments I received: 
If you had the inclination to pass it on - It would be great if Debbie knew how much Millie (Mrs. George) Schaefer and I truly enjoyed seeing her wonderful show here in Beverly Hills at "Roxbury Park" ... Lee Schiller
 Sheri Lynn Fishbach wrote, "a whole lotta wonderful in a small package! many happy returns beautiful lady..."

LeAnne deHope:  
"Wishing Debbie a very Happy Birthday!! Debbie, you have brought us so much happiness and joy. Thank you and God bless!!!"

Initially signed at age sixteen by Warner Bros., Reynolds' career got off to a slow start. When her contract was not renewed, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) gave her a small but significant part in the film Three Little Words (1950), then signed her to a seven-year contract. In her next film, Two Weeks with Love (1950), she had a hit with the song "Aba Daba Honeymoon". However, it was her first leading role, in Singin' in the Rain (1952), that set her on the path to fame. By the mid 1950s, she was a major star.
 Other notable successes include Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her rendition of the song "Tammy" reached number one on the music charts; and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
 Reynolds' first marriage, to popular singer Eddie Fisher, produced a son and a daughter, actress/author Carrie Fisher, but ended in divorce in 1959 when Fisher and her former (and later) friend Elizabeth Taylor fell in love. Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time ruining her financially.
 She is a noted collector of film memorabilia, beginning with the landmark 1972 MGM auction. In June 2011, unable to find a suitable home for her large collection, she began auctioning it off.
 Reynolds regularly appeared in movie musicals during the 1950s and had several hit records during the period. Her song "Aba Daba Honeymoon" (featured in the film Two Weeks with Love (1950) as a duet with Carleton Carpenter was a top-three hit in 1951. Her most high-profile film role was in Singin' in the Rain (1952) as Kathy Selden. In Bundle of Joy (1956) she appeared with her then-husband, Eddie Fisher.

In this April, 5,1965 file photo actress Debbie Reynolds poses with Academy awards winners for best music Richard M. Sherman, right and Robert Sherman

 Her recording of the song "Tammy" (from her film Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)) earned her a gold record, and was the best-selling single by a female vocalist in 1957. It was number one for five weeks on the Billboard pop charts. In the movie (the first of the Tammy film series), she co-starred with Leslie Nielsen.

In 1959, Reynolds recorded her first album for Dot Records, simply called Debbie, which included her own selection of twelve standards including "S’posin'", "Moonglow," "Mean To Me" and "Time After Time." Bing Crosby paid tribute to Reynolds in the sleeve notes accompanying the album thus:
Someone recently said, and with reasonable accuracy I would think, that good singers make good actors. Evidence in support of this belief is available in the recent performances of Sinatra and Martin, for instance, but I would like to put forth also the proposition that the reverse is quite true: good actors make good singers. Assuming they can carry a tune. We all know that Debbie is better than a good actress — she’s VERY good, and we all know she can sing with a lilt and a listenable quality that’s genuinely pleasant and agreeable. Witness “Tammy”. It was small surprise to me then that when I listened to this beautiful album she has etched for Dot, I found myself captivated and enchanted. Quite obviously Debbie had spent a great deal of time selecting the songs to be included, because she’s made them her own, and invested them with a sincerity that’s inescapable — of contrasting moods to be sure, but the moods are there, and to me, mighty effective. And that, mes amis, is artistry.

Reynolds also scored two other top-25 Billboard hits with "A Very Special Love" (1958) and "Am I That Easy to Forget" (1960) — a pop-music version of a country-music hit made famous by both songwriters Carl Belew (in 1959), Skeeter Davis (in 1960), and several years later by singer Engelbert Humperdinck. She has released several albums of both her vintage performances and her later recordings.
Marquee listing Reynolds's world premiere at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, December 1962
During these years, she also headlined in major Las Vegas showrooms.
Her starring role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) led to a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

 She then portrayed Jeanine Deckers in The Singing Nun (1966).
In what Reynolds has called the "stupidest mistake of my entire career", she made headlines in 1970 after instigating a fight with the NBC television network over cigarette advertising on her eponymous television series; NBC cancelled the show.

"Dreams I never dreamed were laid at my feet. A life in the Movies."
....Debbie Reynolds

She played Helen Chappel Hackett's mother, Deedee Chappel, on an episode of "Wings" entitled, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother," which originally aired on November 22, 1994. From 1999 to its 2006 series finale, she played Grace Adler's ditzy mother, Bobbi Adler, on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace (1998–2006), which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2000. She also plays a recurring role in the Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown film series as Aggie Cromwell. Reynolds made a guest appearance as a presenter at the 69th Academy Awards in 1997. Reynolds appeared in her West End show Debbie Reynolds: Alive and Fabulous. In June 2010, her publicist Edward Lozzi secured her a role as a regular columnist for the weekly paper Globe, replacing Ivana Trump in answering reader queries.

Reynolds won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Catered Affair (1956).
She has received various nominations for awards including: an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for The Debbie Reynolds Show (1970), a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Mother (1996) and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her role of Bobbi Adler in the sitcom Will and Grace (2000).
 I stopped making movies because I don't like taking my clothes off. Maybe it's realism, but in my opinion, it's utter filth.
Debbie Reynolds

 In 1996 and 1997, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, in the American Comedy Awards.
Her foot and hand prints are preserved at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6654 Hollywood Boulevard.
Debbie and my friend David Edwards, opening night of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel in Florida
In November 2006, Reynolds received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Chapman University (Orange, California).


  video platform
  video management
  video solutions
  video player
On May 17, 2007, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Nevada, Reno, (Reno, Nevada) where she had contributed for many years to the film-studies program. Reynolds last Cd was a Christmas Record with the late Donald O'Connor entitled "Chrissy the Christmas Mouse". It received rave reviews and was arranged by Angelo DiPippo and produced by Dr. Fillardi.
There is no way that I can cover this amazing career in my blog. Once again, this is a celebration.

This is from my friend Paul Brogan:
Sydney Guilaroff adored working with her and talked about her in the nicest way. His next to last job as a hairstylist was as a favor to Debbie.  She was doing a Perry Mason television movie in 1989 and asked Sydney to do her hair. Although he was technically "retired" he agreed to do it as a favor for her. In addition. one of the few times he appeared in a film was in Debbie's "Goodbye Charlie" (The other times were "Sweet Bird of Youth" and "New York, New York").

I saw Debbie in the late 80's when she did "Molly Brown" in Long Beach with Harve Presnell and you would have sworn it was 1964.....she carried it off brilliantly. In addition, on Broadway in 1983 in "Woman of the Year", she held her own with Marilyn Cooper in "The Grass is Always Greener"...not something easy to do as Marilyn generally made you forget the Tess she was performing the number with. Debbie let Marilyn dominate the scene but Debbie did not allow herself to become a supporting player and I say that in the nicest way.

The last time I saw Debbie was at Jim Bailey's performance at the Wilshire Ebell in October, 2004. She looked wonderful and was every inch the star and there was a wave of euphoria over the audience as she made her way down the aisle before they burst into applause for her.

 Debbie is appearing on April 22 at Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, CA.

Wikipedia is my main source for information today. 

Debbie, thank you so much for the gifts you have given and continue to give to the world.
Your devoted fan,

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Tomorrow's blog will be..Peggy Herman!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Richard Skipper,
This Blog is dedicated to ALL ARTISTS: Past, present and future and the gifts they give to the world! I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Richard--well done! I love Debbie Reynolds in Singing In The Rain!