As we slowly creep towards the New Year, yet another icon has been taken away. Less than twenty-four hours after the death of Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher, it was reported that her mother, actress and Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds, passed away at the age of 84. Some believe the singer and actress died of a broken heart.
Debbie Reynolds is perhaps best known for her starring role in the musical classics Singin' in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She succumbed to a stroke on Wednesday night. The actress and singer had been rushed to the hospital earlier in the day complaining of breathing problems. Son Todd Fisher told Variety that Debbie 'wanted to be with Carrie.' An exact cause of death was not announced at this time.
Debbie Reynolds became a major star of the silver screen in the 1950s and 1960s. She gained notoriety in the movie The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, which would later become a TV show. She also starred in How the West Was Won, The Singing Nun and Divorce American Style, and was on the cutting edge of Hollywood trends at the time. She would continue acting throughout the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the 1996 Albert Brooks classic Mother.
Later in life, Debbie Reynolds became known for her memorable guest roles on sitcoms like Roseanne, which her daughter Carrie Fisher actually wrote a script for, and Will and Grace, the latter of which garnered her an Emmy. She also appeared in the Disney Channel's Halloweentown TV show. Though, perhaps it will be Singin' in the Rain that stands as a true testament to her legacy as a performer, with the movie showing her at her best, doing it all, and endearing her to multiple generations of fans, some of which never even realized that she had any connection to Star Wars' Princess Leia.
On the personal side of things, Debbie Reynolds often found herself embroiled in tabloid scandals. The most shocking of which saw her husband and Carrie Fisher's father, singer Eddie Fisher, leave her for good friend Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds own love life was detailed in Carrie Fisher's autobiographical book Wishful Drinking. The pair had a somewhat contentious relationship in years past. That union was portrayed fictionally in the 1990 movie Postcards From the Edge, which Carrie Fisher adapted the screenplay from her own book.
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had made up over the years, and always remained extremely close. At the time of their deaths, the duo actually lived next door to each other. Their mother-daughter relationship is the subject of an HBO documentary called Bright Lights which premieres this March.
Away from acting, Debbie Reynolds was a noted collector of Hollywood memorabilia. She spent $180,000 buying items from MGM when they auctioned off contents from 7 sound stages in 1970. Included in the haul was the original pair of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Debbie Reynolds was also a noted humanitarian and founded the Thalians, an organization of entertainers raising awareness and providing support for mental health issues. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was bestowed upon Reynolds at the 2015 Academy Awards.
Debbie's son Todd has since explained that he and his mother were busy prepping Carrie Fisher's funeral on Wednesday morning when Reynolds began grieving heavily, and told her son, 'I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.' Todd Fisher says those were the last words his mother spoke, and that he believes 'she went to be with Carrie'.
After Carrie Fisher's death, Debbie Reynolds had thanked all of Carrie's fans on Facebook for their thoughts and prayers. Debbie was known for sharing vintage photos of her family and wasn't shy about letting people into their Hollywood lives. At the time of Debbie Reynolds death, a Lightsaber vigil was being planned for Carrie Fisher in Downtown Disney so fans could attend. No funeral arrangements have been announced for either mom or daughter, and it isn't known if they will both be remembered in a joint ceremony. It was also noted yesterday that Carrie Fisher's beloved dog Gary Fisher has found a new home with Carrie's daughter and Debbie's granddaughter Billie Lourd.