She was born in El Paso, Texas and her father was a ditch digger while her mother did peoples' laundry. She said she grew up dirt poor but her dad always made sure there was food on the table even if he had to go out and shoot a jackrabbit. This is a quote from her that I love: "One of the advantages of having been poor is that you learn to appreciate good fortune and the value of a dollar, and poverty holds no fear for you because you know you've gone through it and you can do it again. We were always a happy family and a religious one. And I'm trying to inculcate in my children the same sense of values, the same tone that my mother gave to me." She also said that she only went to one dance when she was in high school because she wasn't all that cute, was tomboyish, and didn't have nice clothes to wear. If those fellow classmates only knew.
As everyone knows, there was a huge scandal when her husband (Eddie Fisher), cheated on her with Elizabeth Taylor. She and Elizabeth had been friends before this happened. The press did their best to try and get Debbie down in the gutter regarding the matter but as usual, she was too classy. In a lot of ways, her character reminds me of Dolly Parton's.
But what a lot of people don't know is around 15 years after the scandal, Debbie and Elizabeth happened to be on the same cruise ship together and Debbie sent a nice note to Elizabeth's room to which she responded back and the two decided to have dinner together that evening. They became friends again.
Before putting together an entertainment show in Vegas, Reynolds was in 86 different movies and television shows. Her classic movies include: Singin in the Rain, The Rat Race, How the West Was Won, The Unskinkable Molly Brown, The Singing Nun, etc. Debbie also had a passion for documentaries which she produced nine during her lifetime.
She didn't realize she could dance until she took the role in Singin in the Rain and she said her feet would bleed because of all the practicing she was doing. There were many things she learned about herself over the years and once again like Dolly Parton, could do just about anything (i.e. act, dance, direct, produce, sing, write, run a business, etc.).
The bottom line is we lost another good one; someone that through humility always remained very close to her fans. By the way, I'll never forget the time that she played Grace's mom on the comedy "Will and Grace" and she walked into the room singing: "Good morning, good morning..." Classic.