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Outpouring of Condolences and Tributes Continue For Debbie Reynolds

An outpouring of condolences and tributes continued Thursday for actress/dancer/singer Debbie Reynolds, who died Wednesday at age 84 just one day after the death of her beloved daughter, “Star Wars” actress and author Carrie Fisher.

Late Thursday morning, flowers were placed by the Hollywood Historic Trust on one of Reynolds’ two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has stars for her work in movies and on stage.

Fans, however, began leaving flowers and other mementos on her stars almost immediately after Reynolds died late Wednesday afternoon. One fan left an umbrella — in recognition of Reynolds’ signature role as aspiring Hollywood starlet Kathy Selden in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Funeral services were still pending for Reynolds and Fisher, who died Tuesday at age 60, four days after suffering cardiac arrest while on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Fisher was best known for her role as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” films, and in the more recent re-boot, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Reynolds was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by ambulance from the Hollywood Hills home of her son, film producer Todd Fisher, around midday Wednesday. After his mother died, Todd Fisher told reporters that Reynolds “wanted to be with Carrie.” He said Reynolds was always caring for her beloved daughter, and with Reynolds’ recent history of health problems, Carrie Fisher’s death was apparently just too much for the loving mother to handle.

“This is a beautiful love story to witness in my 58 years,” Todd Fisher wrote on his Twitter page Thursday morning. “I love them both so much. Love is everlasting.”

The post was accompanied by a drawing showing Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Debbie Reynolds wearing a raincoat, boots and an umbrella. The two are pictured from behind, with arms around each other and light shining down on them from above, with the caption, “What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again” — lyrics from “Singin’ in the Rain.”

A Texas native, Reynolds grabbed the attention of talent scouts when she entered a Miss Burbank contest at age 16.

She earned her first screen credit in “Three Little Words,” starring Fred Astaire and Red Skelton. She followed that performance with “Two Weeks with Love,” featuring the hit song “Aba Daba Honeymoon.” That led to her casting as Kathy Selden, a young dancer looking to make it big in Hollywood, opposite Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain.” The role made her a star.

She went on to perform in dozens more films, including “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” which earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. She also appeared in “How the West Was Won,” “The Pleasure of His Company,” “Divorce American Style” and “The Catered Affair.”

She also received Golden Globe nominations for “Three Little Words,” “Bundle of Joy” and “Mother.” She was nominated for her TV work on “The Debbie Reynolds Show.”

Reynolds most recently appeared in the award-winning HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra,” portraying Liberace’s mother.

Reynolds married singer Eddie Fisher in 1955, but they divorced in 1959 after Fisher’s much-publicized affair with Elizabeth Taylor — one of Reynolds’ best friends. She married two more times, but both ended in divorce.

Reynolds received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in January 2015. The honor was presented to her by Carrie Fisher.

“My favorite movie was Singin’ in the Rain,’ and I had a good time making that picture, wearing myself out,” Reynolds said at the ceremony.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said she “was deeply saddened to learn of Debbie Reynolds’ passing.”

“We have lost a unique talent and a national treasure,” Carteris said. “Coming so close to the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, this is truly a double tragedy. Their imprint on our culture is profound and they both will live on.”

Reynolds received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in November 2015, honoring not only her film achievements, but her community service work. She was honored most notably as a co-founder of the Thalians, a charitable organization aimed at promoting awareness and treatment of mental health issues. The group has contributed millions of dollars to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and to UCLA’s Operation Mend, which assists veterans trying to recover from physical and psychological wounds of combat.

Reaction to Reynolds’ death quickly poured in from the Hollywood community. Albert Brooks, who shared the screen with Reynolds in the 1996 comedy “Mother,” wrote on Twitter: “Debbie Reynolds, a legend and my movie mom. I can’t believe this happened one day after Carrie. My heart goes out to Billie,” referring to Reynolds’ grand-daughter Billie Lourd.

Actress Marlee Matlin called Reynolds a “brilliant singer, dancer, actress. It’s SO sad. RIP.”

“I can’t imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ family are going through this week,” actress/talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres wrote. “I send all of my love.”

Actress Debra Messing, with whom Reynolds appeared in the TV comedy “Will & Grace,” wrote, “So heartsick. Debbie went to be with Carrie. It’s such a devastating 1,2 punch. She was my `mom’ for years & I loved her dearly. A legend.”

Fellow “Will & Grace” actor Sean Hayes added, “It is beyond astonishing that both (Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) have left this earth. I overwhelmingly adored & admired them both.”

William Shatner called Reynolds “one of the last of Hollywood Royalty. It breaks my heart that she is gone. I’d hoped that my grieving was done for 2016.” Actress Anna Kendrick referred to her simply as an “American treasure.”

Talk show host Larry King added, “Debbie Reynolds was pure class. She was loving, talented, beautiful, unsinkable. I feel sorry for anyone who never got a chance to meet her.”

Another Hollywood legend, Carl Reiner, wrote that he was “shocked” at the deaths of Fisher and Reynolds.

“I loved & worked (with) both of these icons,” he said.

 

Courtesy of CNN
Courtesy of CNN
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