WATCH: Debbie Reynolds' Legendary Singin' in the Rain Moments
Reynolds, who was among the top actors of her generation, left an enduring mark on cinema, beginning with her breakthrough role as Kathy Selden in the classic 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain, starring opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.
At age 19, Reynolds stole the show playing a chorus girl with a voice of gold, who dubs over the voice of actress Jean Hagen’s character, Lina, while stealing the heart of Kelly’s Don Lockwood. It was the role of a lifetime, propelling her to fame in the mid-1950s.
One of the biggest numbers in the movie, “Good Morning” showed off Reynolds triple-threat talent. Remarkably, she had no dance experience at the time — and was given just three months to learn what costars Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor had perfected over years in their careers. She did more than just catch up to her costars. Moving effortlessly between ballet, tap, and even hula, Reynolds surpassed them.
“All I Do Is Dream of You”
Was there any doubt that Reynolds was going to jump out of that oversized cake? Seems like the only one surprised was Kelly! “All I Do Is Dream of You” surrounds Reynolds with a sea full of lookalike ladies. It’s a charming and quick number — one of Singin’ in the Rain‘s most colorful options.
“You Were Meant For Me”
Now this is movie magic. Kelly’s character kicks off this sweet duet by setting the stage for romance… literally! With a painted backdrop, he romances Reynolds’ character before the two engaged in a romantic dance. How could anyone resist that?
In “Would You,” Reynolds character is dubbing the voice of Jean Hagen’s character — whose voice is screechy and shrill. The irony? That wasn’t Reynolds singing. It’s Betty Noyes — who also dubbed Reynolds in “You Are My Lucky Star.” If her voice sounds familiar, it could be because she sang the Oscar-nominated tune “Baby Mine” from 1941’s Dumbo.
“You Are My Lucky Star”
It was the song that brought Reynolds’ character to tears. But watching her get her happy ending in the conclusion to Singin’ in the Rain will bring tears to your eyes. A perfect conclusion to one of Hollywood’s best movie musicals.
Reynolds, who starred in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954) and Bundle of Joy (1956) after her success in Singin’ in the Rain, reflected on the role a few years ago in an interview with the American Film Institute.
“The character was a lot like me, Debbie, at the time,” she said.
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.”