Debbie Reynolds’ most memorable silver screen roles

Debbie Reynolds, who has died aged 84, was considered by many to be Hollywood royalty.

She was a dynamic star, of at least triple-threat status (dancer, singer and actress), whose career spanned half a century.

Look back at some of her most memorable Golden age roles on the silver screen.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Undoubtedly her breakthrough performance, Reynolds played the feisty yet loveable Kathy Selden alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.

Selden, a chorus girl longing to make it as a “serious actress”, is hired to talk and sing for silent film star Don Lockwood’s (Kelly) leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen).

The plan however does not proceed smoothly due to Don and Kathy’s budding romance which drives Lina to jealous extremes.

Reynolds was only 19 years old when she was cast and was not a dancer, prompting Kelly to apparently insult her lack of experience.


The Good Morning routine, which took 15 hours to shoot, apparently left Reynolds’ feet bleeding.

Years later, Reynolds was quoted saying, “Singin’ in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life”.

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)

In a Cinderella story of sorts, Reynolds played the innocent and slightly backwards Tambrey “Tammy” Tyree who rescues handsome pilot Peter Brent (Leslie Nielsen).

After her grandfather is arrested, and she has no one else to stay with, she goes to live with Peter and they fall in love.

The film’s title song Tammy, sung by Reynolds and released after the movie came out, was an instant hit — more so than the movie which opened to lukewarm reviews.

Universal immediately pulled the movie for a few weeks while the song built momentum, and later re-released the film to great success.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)

Reynolds played Molly Brown, a socialite who survived the sinking of the Titanic and become a front-page heroine after she helped rescue fellow passengers.

Shirley MacLaine was the first choice to play the lead role but was forced to withdraw, opening up the part to Reynolds.

Renolds’ performance earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress — her only Oscars nomination.

However, in 2016 Reynolds received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy, for her dedication to preserving the achievements of films’ most talented crafts people.

The Catered Affair (1956)

Reynolds plays Jane Hurley, a recently engaged woman whose mother Agnes, played by Bette Davis, who despite her daughters wish for a intimate wedding, pushes for the elaborate wedding she never had.

Jane’s father Tom, a Bronx cabdriver, is forced to spend his savings set aside to buy his own cab and license, causing conflict within the family.

The Singing Nun (1966)

Reynolds starred in the semi-autobiographical film based on the life of Jeannine Decks, a Belgian Dominican sister and one-hit wonder, whose 1963 song Dominique beat the Beatles in the US charts.

During a posting at a convent in Brussels, Sister Ann (Reynolds) is allowed to pursue a music career.

Despite the success of her song Dominique, Sister Ann abandons her musical ambitions to work in an African village.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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