At the peak of her career, actress Debbie Reynolds was America's sweetheart, the archetypal girl next door; best remembered for her work in Hollywood musicals, she appeared in the genre's defining moment, Singin' in the Rain, as well as many other notable successes. Born in El Paso, Texas, she entered the film industry by winning the Miss Burbank beauty contest in 1948, resulting in a contract with Warner Bros. She soon exited for the greener pastures of MGM, where 1950's Two Weeks with Love garnered Reynolds strong notices. Reynolds acquitted herself more than admirably in 1952's Singin' in the Rain, a film that remains one of the greatest Hollywood musicals ever produced. A series of less distinguished films followed, with the studio continuing to insert Reynolds into lackluster projects. Finally, in 1955 she appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in the hit The Tender Trap, and two years later starred in Tammy and the Bachelor, the first in a series of popular teen films. In 1959, Reynolds' marriage to Eddie Fisher ended in divorce when he left her for Elizabeth Taylor. The effect was an outpouring of public sympathy that only further increased her growing popularity, and it was rumored that by the early '60s she was earning millions per picture.
Though she earned an Academy Award nomination for 1964's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Reynolds' star began waning soon after. She essentially retired from movie-making, instead hitting the nightclub circuit and appearing on Broadway. By the 1980s, Reynolds had opened her own hotel and casino in Las Vegas, regularly performing live in the venue's nightclub. After tentative steps toward returning to Hollywood on a regular basis, she accepted the title role in the acclaimed 1996 comedy Mother, delivering what many critics declared the best performance of her career. The comedies Wedding Bell Blues and In and Out followed, and Reynolds remained active into the new millennium, appearing in her own West End show Debbie Reynolds: Alive and Fabulous in 2010 and in the HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra in 2013. She passed away on December 28, 2016, one day after the death of daughter Carrie Fisher, who had suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Debbie Reynolds was 84 years old.