As star of more than thirty motion pictures, two Broadway shows, two series, as well as dozens of television appearances, here and abroad, in 1991 Debbie Reynolds celebrates her forty- third year in show business. Born Mary Frances Reynolds on April Fools Day in El Paso, Texas, she moved with her parents and brother to Burbank, California when she was eight years old. An enthusiastic and highly energetic child, she excelled in sports, particularly sandlot baseball, Girl Scouts, baton twirling and in music where her specialty was the French horn. Her early comedic talents first came to light when she auditioned for dramatic roles in school plays and found everyone laughing at her "serious" readings. Failing at that, she had to content herself with doing "everything from the wind machine to the thunder and lighting offstage," but she never made it to an onstage appearance.
At age sixteen she entered a local beauty contest sponsored by Lockheed Aircraft. Never considered one of the "beauties," she won on the strength of a lip-synching rendition of Betty Hutton singing "Im A Square Peg In A Social Circle". Two of the judges that night were talent scouts from Warner Brothers and MGM. On the flip of a coin, the Warner Brothers scout, Solly Baiano, got first dibs at a screen test for Mary Frances. The test led to a contract and the little girls name was changed to Debbie.
Debbie made her screen debut with June Haver and James Barton in "The Daughter of Rosie OGrady". Her first big break came in an MGM musical starring Fred Astaire and Red Skelton, "Three Little Words" in which she portrayed Helen Kane, the boop-boop-a-doop girl of the late 1930s. A subsequent performance in a Busby Berkley musical, "Two Weeks With Love" convinced the legendary LB Mayer to choose her for the leading female role in what became one of the greatest screen musicals of all time, "Singin In The Rain."
Over a ten year period, Debbie made more than twenty-five films, including "How The West Was Won," "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (for which she was nominated for an Oscar), "Susan Slept Here," "The Tender Trap," "Tammy And The Bachelor," "The Pleasure of his Company," "Mary Mary," "Divorce American Style" and "Goodbye Charlie."
Her recording of "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" (from "Two Weeks with Love") and "Tammy" both sold more than a million copies. In the mid-1960s Debbie put together her first nightclub act, which debuted, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. In the twenty-five years since, she has been a headliner on the casino circuit from Reno and Tahoe and Las Vegas to Atlantic City to the famed London Palladium, as well as in concert in every major American city, touring on the average of forty-two weeks a year.
In 1973, she took a break from her night club appearances to star in the Broadway revival of "Irene," breaking all previous box office records for a Broadway musical. After an enormously successful national tour of the show, Debbie returned to the musical stage with another hit revival, Irving Berlins "Anne Get Your Gun," directed by the late Gower Champion (who also directed "Irene"). In 1983, she returned to Broadway again to star in the hit musical, "Women of the Year." And in 1989, a national tour of the "Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Debbies off-screen; off-stage life has been as active and versatile. Mother of two children, actress/writer, Carrie Fisher and son Todd Fisher. In 1992, Carrie made her a grandmother, giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Billie Catherine.
She has been a life-long supporter and fund-raiser for the Girl Scouts, and founder-president of the Thalians, a charitable organization, which has raised millions for emotionally disturbed children.
Since the late 1960s she has also been actively involved in a project closest to her heart, the collection and preservation of memorabilia from Hollywoods first half-century of film making, gathering thousands of costumes, prop and mementos of Hollywoods studios and their greatest stars.
Her dream to one day establish a Hollywood Motion picture and Television Museum is finally coming true.
In the late 1970s, anticipating her eventual retirement from performing, Debbie established The Debbie Reynolds Professional Rehearsal Studios in North Hollywood, which has since become one professional training studios.
In 1987, Debbie published her widely-read memoir, "Debbie My Life."
She was recently seen in the smash hit "Mother."