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From Singin' in the Rain to Molly Brown: The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds' Most Iconic Roles

Updated

Everett

Debbie Reynolds died at the age of 84 on Wednesday, just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

The legendary singer and actress was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday after suffering a possible stroke.

One of the most iconic stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Reynolds starred in a number of memorable roles, including that of Kathy Selden in the beloved 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain, and that of Molly Brown in 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which earned her an Oscar nomination.

Kathy Selden – Singin’ in the Rain

Reynolds nabbed her first leading role at age 19, playing Kathy Selden, an aspiring actress and ghost singer to the stars who captures the heart of Gene Kelly’s movie star, Don Lockwood. Reynolds’ starring turn in the film propelled her to fame in the mid 1950s and endured as her best-known role.

Reynolds reflected on the role a few years ago in an interview with the American Film Institute, saying, “The character was a lot like me, Debbie, at the time.” Noting that she was then just beginning her acting career and had never danced professionally, she added, “I was just lucky that they put me in that part that suited me … If the part is you and you’re not afraid — and I wasn’t afraid … I felt it was me and I really just marched straight ahead and I wasn’t frightened of the huge task.”

Molly Brown – The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Reynolds donned her dancing shoes once again for the 1964 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, in which she played the titular role of Margaret Brown, who survived the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance but lost to Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins.

Jeanine Deckers – The Singing Nun

The 1966 semi-biographical film featured Reynolds as Jeanine Deckers, a real-life nun who recorded the chart-topping hit song “Dominique.” Reynolds herself achieved an entry on the Billboard 200 albums chart for The Singing Nun, according to Billboard.

Tammy – Tammy and the Bachelor 

In the 1957 comedy Tammy and the Bachelor, Reynolds starred as Tammy, a sweet country teen in search of romance. The film gave Reynolds another hit song, “Tammy.” Her highest-charting song, “Tammy” ruled the Top 100 chart for five weeks, Billboard reports.

Beatrice Henderson – Mother

Reynolds continued acting into her later years, with a turn as Liberace’s mother in the 2013 film Behind the Candelabra. But it was her performance as Albert Brooks’ overbearing mom in the 1996 comedy Mother that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress.