On December 28, 2016, the world bade farewell to the legendary Debbie Reynolds, a Hollywood icon, philanthropist, and loving mother. She passed away just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who is celebrated around the world for her legendary role as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars.
An American actress, singer, dancer and comedienne, the multi-talented Ms. Reynolds won the heart of audiences with her vivacious spirit during Hollywood’s golden age of musicals, becoming America’s sweetheart, and one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s principal stars of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Among some of her notable films, Ms. Reynolds starred in Singin’ in the Rain, which is still deemed as one of the greatest movies of all time, as well as in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which earned her an Academy Award nomination. She also won multiple accolades for her singing, earning several top-25 spots, including “Tammy,” which was the best-selling single by a female vocalist in 1957. Her talents extended to the stage, with her role in the Broadway show Irene, earning her a Tony Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. Throughout her celebrated career, Ms. Reynolds appeared in more than 80 films and television roles, becoming an Academy Award, Emmy Award, Tony Award, and Golden Globe Award nominee, as well as earning her two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from the American Comedy Awards.
In addition to her work as an entertainer, Debbie Reynolds was a humanitarian. She was a founding member and past president of The Thalians, an organization devoted to mental health care. Having played an important role in the group for over 60 years, Ms. Reynolds helped raise millions towards the cause. In 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ms. Reynolds with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in recognition of her tireless endeavors. In 1998, she joined hands with The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, which organized the benefit concert “One World… of Peace through Music” with contributions donated to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The concert was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, where Ms. Reynolds charmed the audience with her wit and vibrancy as mistress of ceremony, including guest of honor Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Ms. Reynolds also graced the stage and television as special guest speaker at the 2009 Supreme Master Television’s 3rd Anniversary Concert “Rejoicing in Our Green Planet and Peaceful Life.” Speaking of Supreme Master Ching Hai, Debbie Reynolds said, “She is a very peaceful person. She is a loving person. She wants the world to come together, as we all do. She wants to see that we can save our world by love and inspiration through music and art, instead of war and disagreement. So her dreams are all of our dreams.”
Debbie Reynolds dedicated her life to this dream, bringing more sparkle and compassion to the world through art and entertainment. At 84 years young, the spirited Ms. Reynolds was still performing earlier in the year prior to her passing. Today, Debbie Reynolds’ commitment to perfecting her art, her bountiful talents and her effervescent spirit continue to live on in her son, Todd Fisher, her granddaughter, Billie Lourd, and through her timeless work that brings light and life to audiences around the world.
Our heartfelt condolences to the loving family and friends of Ms. Debbie Reynolds. May her soul rest eternally joyful in Divine Light.
Photo Credit: Debbie Reynolds in 2009 at Supreme Master Television’s 3rd Anniversary Celebration: “Rejoicing in Our Green Planet and Peaceful Life.”