Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas in 1932, and was a Girl Scout and troop leader whilst she was growing up (there is now a 'Debbie Reynolds' scholarship offered to Girl Scouts).
Moving to Burbank, California, Reynolds won a Miss Burbank Beauty Contest at the age of 16 and quickly picked up a contract with Warner Brothers, performing her first movie role in June Bride (1948).
A top name in movie musicals during the 1950s, her most famous role was that of Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain. She wasn't a dancer until she had to perform opposite Gene Kelly in the film and later commented that,
"Singin' in the Rain (1952) and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life."
Reynolds is one of a handful of actresses who danced with both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire (The Pleasure of His Company, 1961). Her daughter is Carrie 'Princess Leia' Fisher.
Later in her career she received an Oscar nomination for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), and an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy Award nomination for playing Grace's mother in Will & Grace. She has received several other awards.
|The Ruby Slippers in action!|
Reynolds also had several hit records related to the movies: Her song Aba Daba Honeymoon (featured in the 1950 film Two Weeks with Love) was a top-three hit in 1951. A Very Special Love and Am I That Easy to Forget also earned her top-25 Billboard hits.
Reynolds is still working in the movies and currently taking part in One for the Money. However, that is by no means the limit of her relationship with the silver screen. A self-described 'movie-oholic', Reynolds has assembled an extraordinary collection of memorabilia.
That collection comprises 3,000 posters and 4,000 costumes from the silent screen period to the 1970s. There are also 46,000 square-feet worth of props and equipment.
Several pieces from the collection would be the centrepiece for almost any other: Carmen Miranda's turbans, a pair of Judy Garland's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939), a number of John Wayne's guns, the fur coat worn by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane and even Marilyn Monroe's windswept dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955).
|Marilyn wearing that dress in the Seven Year Itch|
Reynolds's intention was to have Hollywood museum to showcase the collection, but the project appears to have fallen through, and there is even a possibility that the collection will be sold at auction. A date of June 2011 has been pencilled in for the auction at Christie's, according to Reynolds's son Todd.
It will be a shame if the collection has to be broken up. But collectors around the world will be ecstatic if they are given the chance to get their hands on some of the items - some of the most iconic pieces of memorabilia that have ever been shown on screen.
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