Culture

The 8 Most Memorable Debbie Reynolds Movies

Beloved actress Debbie Reynolds passed away on Wednesday, a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died. Reynolds died of a stroke in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 84.

“She’s with Carrie,” Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, told The Hollywood Reporter. He told the Associated Press that the stress of his sister’s death was “too much” for his mother.

Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in “Star Wars,” died four days after suffering a cardiac event on a flight from London to L.A. Fisher was 60. In addition to “Star Wars,” Fisher appeared in numerous films and television shows over her 41-year career in Hollywood.

Reynolds was an even bigger star — and a longer sensation. Her 67-year career launched a mere three years after World War II ended, and continued up to last year.

Here are 8 highlights from that impressive run.

1. Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

Reynolds is perhaps most loved because of her stellar singing, dancing, and acting in the 1952 classic featuring Gene Kelly and the birth of talking movies. She played young Kathy Selden, a fantastic singer who lends her voice to Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen), an insufferable narcissistic diva with an awful voice. Amid fantastic dancing and singing, it becomes clear that Selden is the real star of the show, and the audience falls in love. Even today, this 1952 classic is a film staple, and Debbie Reynolds is a major reason.

2. The Tender Trap (1955).

Debbie Reynolds teamed up with Frank Sinatra for this classic about a theater agent (and playboy) learning to settle down.

3. The Mating Game (1959).

This charming romance features Reynolds romancing a tax collector who comes to her father’s farm! Who ever thought the tax man would be the target of a romance?

4. The Rat Race (1960).

This romance flick between an aspiring musician and a taxi dancer paired Debbie Reynolds with Tony Curtis — the guy who starred with Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot (1959).

5. How the West Was Won (1962).

A Western with Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, James (Jimmy) Stewart and John Wayne, How the West Was Won was hailed as a new height of cinema, with an all-star cast including Debbie Reynolds, and a mix of history, politics, and action. Its heartfelt tales of patriotism seem to come from a simpler (and more wholesome) time.

6. The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964).

Besides Singin’ in the Rain, Reynolds is best known for her role as the “unsinkable” Molly Brown. This story of a poor, uneducated mountain girl whose boundless optimism drives her to success inspired moviegoers, leaving a lasting impression on American cinema. The historical Molly Brown was also “unsinkable,” as one of the most famous survivors from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

7. Divorce American Style (1967).

Yes, this is a romantic comedy about divorce. Debbie Reynolds teamed up with Dick Van Dyke to play a couple who choose to separate after 17 years of marriage — only to discover that they were perfect for each other! Marriage is better than divorce, or so this wholesome romance concluded.

8. Charlotte’s Web (1973).

In this heartwarming classic children’s tale, based on the book by E.B. White, Debbie Reynolds voices the heroine spider Charlotte who saves Wilbur the pig from being slaughtered. Reynolds’ singing helped make the film the classic it is today.

Reynolds continued singing and acting until 2015, with her own television show from 1969 to 1970. She played Mrs. Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998), and had a role in the Rugrats movies and television series. Toward the end of her career, she appeared in short cameo roles, but he also played a sizable part in Behind the Candelabra (2013), an HBO made-for-tv movie about the famous pianist Liberace (she played his mother).

While her career was longer and more impressive than that of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, it is likely Princess Leia will be more missed, at least by this late generation. Nevertheless, it is tragic to see these talented starlets leave this world together.

May the Force be with them both, and may Debbie Reynolds voice and character bless many generations to come.