Messing opened up about how the legendary actress — who died in Dec. 2016, one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher — became a “very, very really special person in my heart” during the show’s PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles on Saturday night, ahead of the revival’s tribute episode to their guest star.
“Debbie was really indescribable,” the 49-year-old actress, who plays Grace Adler, said. “She would come onstage and she was a broad in the greatest sense. She always was entertaining and singing and dancing and she was running off and doing a one woman show 300 days of the year. It was just crazy.”
When she wasn’t performing, Reynolds connected with Messing about parenthood.
“She and I would sit together and we would talk about being mothers because I was a new mother,” Messing explained. “She would talk about Carrie and we would talk about the challenges of being a working mom.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, this week’s episode of the sitcom reunites Grace’s onscreen family to celebrate their late mother’s birthday and give a nod Reynolds.
Messing said of her onscreen mother, “I really wanted us to honor her. I really think that the episode that they wrote honors her and that she’s with us.”
The cast and crew also shared their hilarious memories of Reynolds at Paleyfest, with Will & Grace creator and executive producer Max Mutchnick recalling that she would present herself as actor Burt Reynolds’ sister.
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Will & Grace star Sean Hayes added, “Every single show she would introduce herself to the audience and go, ‘I’m Princess Leia’s mother.'”
Mutchnick also remembered suggesting to Reynolds that she dyed her hair red to more closely resemble her onscreen daughter.
“She said — this is the first time I ever met her — and she said, ‘I have two hairs on my body. They’re grey and they’re on my pussy,’ ” Mutchnick shared.
Will & Grace previously paid tribute to Reynolds on their holiday episode, “A Gay Olde Christmas,” which saw the cast transported back in time with a portrait resembling the late actress watching over the group from its mount on the wall.
After Reynolds’ death, Messing mourned the loss of her TV mother, who guest starred in 12 episodes of the beloved show during its original run.
“Debbie went to be with Carrie. She always worried about her. Carrie left too soon and now they are together again. My heart is literally broken,” Messing shared in an Instagram post when Reynold’s passed away after suffering a stroke.
On Sunday, the panel members also confirmed that the reboot had been picked up for a third season.