Thursday, December 29, 2016

Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016)

Just a day after her daughter, we bid adieu to the other half of one of Hollywood's great mother-daughter pairs.  Debbie Reynolds, star of the silver screen for over sixty years, passed away yesterday in one of those cruel cosmic twists where two of the great stars of their eras were wiped away in a year that has been particularly unkind to icons.

If Carrie was eternally going to be Princess Leia, for me and for countless film fans Debbie would always be Kathy Selden, the singing ingenue who jumped out of a cake in Singin' in the Rain, and landed a star both onscreen and off.  Singin' in the Rain has long been one of my favorite movies (I've seen it dozens of times), and Reynolds is the consummate center of the film.  Think of the comic skill she needs for that car ride with Gene Kelly or to jump furniture with Donald O'Connor.  I mean, "Good Morning" itself is one of the greatest scenes in film history, and certainly one of the most flawlessly choreographed.  She would make movies for decades afterward, proving Molly Brown unsinkable and prove quite the mother to Albert Brooks, and would even provide fodder for a truly great movie (written by Carrie) called Postcards from the Edge, but for me it's hard to move past Kathy Selden, it's such a perfect role in one of the truly perfect films.

That is, except the passing of Debbie Reynolds particularly makes me think of my mom, and not just because of her connotations with Carrie.  My mom loves Debbie Reynolds.  Seriously-she has always been one of her favorite actresses.  I remember in the era prior to Amazon and eBay and quite frankly Google we would check every week for Bundle of Joy to be on AMC so we could tape it and would always stop on a Debbie Reynolds movie whenever it was on, and like clockwork my mom always would say (and still does) "I just love Debbie Reynolds."  Movies have a way to bring people together, and forever I will always think of Debbie Reynolds not just as jumping out of that cake, but the smile she brings every time that my mom sees her while we're flipping the channel.

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