Apr 1, 2007

The Birthday Girl

Joyeux Anniversaire, Debbie Reynolds! The divine Miss D turns 75 today. Here she celebrating in style, left, and in a still from one of my fave movies, The Mating Game, snuggling some sort of ewok-like dog, below.

Fast facts on Debbie:

- She was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, April 1, 1932.

- As the best pitcher on her neighborhood's sandlot baseball team, she intended to pursue a degree in education and work as a gym teacher.

- At 16, Debbie entered the Miss Burbank Contest near her California home - her family had relocated when she was just eight years old - simply to get the free silk scarf and blouse and the complimentary lunch offered with entrance. To her and everyone else's suprise, she took home the crown.

- It was talent executive William Orr who changed her moniker from Frannie to Debbie, coining it after the daughter of friends; studio head Jack Warner also challenged her to change her last name to Morgan, which Debbie steadfastly refused to do.

- Did only two films under her Warner Bros. contract between 1948 and 1950; MGM snatched her up and plopped her into 1950's Two Weeks With Love with Jane Powell and Ricardo Montalban. Still planning to go to college, Debbie thought of her movie career as a great means of income for her tuition expenses - until she made six films in three years at MGM, including 1952's blockbuster Singin' in the Rain.

- Sometimes sent as many as 300 letters per week to soldiers serving in war-torn Korea and other southeast countries she had visited during her USO tours in the early '50's.

- Seriously dated actor Robert Wagner, two years her senior, in the early 1950's before meeting future husband Eddie Fisher. In her book, Debbie: My Life, Reynolds expresses regret that her relationship with Wagner did not culminate in marriage.

- Survived three marriages, one to somewhat-celeb Eddie Fisher, with whom she had children Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher.

- Is an avid collector of film memorabilia, including costumes and posters, often asking celebrity friends and colleagues to autograph. A museum showcasing her collection is rumored to open in late 2006/07.

- Still tours the country as a singer and stage performer, most frequently appearing in the California/Nevada area.

- Debbie Reynolds is awesome.

"Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life." - DR

NOTE: This post was renewed from last year's birthday tribute to Debbie - it's been a hectic week, and I haven't had the time to create a new post that will do this great lady justice! In the twelve months since I've posted this, though, I've had the pleasure of meeting Debbie in person and attending two of her shows, so I hope to incorporate all of that awesomeness into an upcoming belated birthday tribute - stay tuned!

Labels: ,