According to TMZ, Reynolds and her son Todd Fisher were planning funeral arrangements for Carrie when she suffered a stroke. She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she later died.
“She’s with Carrie,” Todd Fisher said in a statement.
A day before her death, Reynolds expressed her gratitude on Facebook for the love shown in the wake of Carrie’s passing.
Celebrities Remember Debbie Reynolds
Less than 24 hours later, celebrities young and old took to social media to remember the life and career of the Hollywood starlet who sung and danced her way into the hearts of movie fans around the world.
“Debbie Reynolds was one of the last of Hollywood Royalty. It breaks my heart that she is gone. I’d hoped that my grieving was done for 2016,” tweeted William Shatner.
Actress and singer Anna Kendrick called Reynolds an “American treasure,” while Ellen DeGeneres and Christina Applegate sent their love to Reynolds’ family.
I can’t imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ family are going through this week. I send all of my love.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 29, 2016
I can’t take this. To the whole family. I am so gutted. I am so sorry.
— christina applegate (@1capplegate) December 29, 2016
Actress and friend of Reynolds, Carol Channing, released a statement, which read in part:
“She was beautiful and generous. It seems like only yesterday she was having lunch here at the house and we were discussing the possibility of working together in a new show.”
Actress Sarah Paulson perhaps best captured the mood of the moment, sharing a poignant picture of a young Carrie watching her mother perform on stage.
This. Just this devastatingly moving photograph. Just this. pic.twitter.com/PKTT7gPbBI
— Sarah Paulson (@MsSarahPaulson) December 29, 2016
Debbie Reynolds: True Hollywood Icon
Reynolds’ career began in 1950 appearing in three films, one of which (Three Little Word) earned her a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 1952 she starred in the film that would define her career, Singin’ in the Rain.
Much like Carrie did with Star Wars, Reynolds scored a role in the classic musical when she was only 19 years of age.
Despite having no prior dance experience, co-star Gene Kelly felt Reynolds had the chops to take on the female lead of Kathy Selden. Kelly was correct, and he, Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor created one of the most memorable song and dance numbers in movie history.
“The two hardest things I ever did in my life are childbirth and Singin’ in the Rain,” Reynolds famously said years after the film’s release.
Reynolds wasn’t a flash in the pan, her career would include four more Golden Globe nominations, a Best Actress Academy Award nomination in 1965 for The Unsinkable Molly Brown and an Emmy nod in 2000 for guest starring on Will & Grace.
In that role, Reynolds played the mother to Debra Messing’s character, Grace. In the wake of her passing, Messing shared a picture of her and Reynolds from the set of the NBC comedy.
Throughout her career, she scored a number one hit (“Tammy” from the movie, Tammy and the Bachelor) and starred opposite such leading men as Frank Sinatra (The Tender Trap), Fred Astaire (The Pleasure of his Company) and Eddie Fisher (Bundle of Joy).
Debbie Reynolds’ Personal Life
It was the latter of those co-stars that changed her life as she and Fisher wed in 1955 and bore two children (Carrie in 1956 and Todd in 1958).
The couple would divorce in 1959 after Fisher left her for actress Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds would marry twice more in her lifetime.
Reynolds and her daughter had an occasionally tumultuous relationship, which was loosely depicted in Carrie’s semi-autobiographical book, Postcards from the Edge, which she later adapted into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Ironically, Reynolds would star alongside both MacLaine and Taylor in a 2001 TV movie, These Old Broads, which was written by Carrie.
At the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2015, Carrie presented her mother with the organization’s Life Achievement Award and the two memorably shared the stage together.
Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds And Carrie Fisher, an HBO documentary about their mother and daughter bond is set to premiere in 2017.
Debbie Reynolds’ Charity Work
Outside of the entertainment industry, Reynolds was a dedicated philanthropist and humanitarian.
In 1955 she was among the actors who co-founded The Thalians, a charitable organization dedicated to promoting awareness for mental health issues. Decades later, her daughter would champion similar issues.
Reynolds served as the organization’s president for much of the time between 1957-2011 and helped raise millions of dollars, which has gone toward the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Operation Mend, which benefits military veterans and their families.
In her 2013 autobiography, Unsinkable: A Memoir, Reynolds expressed her love for Carrie, whose battles with bipolar disorder only strengthened her advocacy for mental health.
“Carrie is my child, and I love her with every ounce of strength I possess. If love alone could cure our children, they would always be well. Since I can’t, I will do whatever I can to make her life less difficult,” she wrote.
In 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Reynolds with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
“I’m thrilled beyond words, shocked, and you couldn’t be more amazed that a little girl from Burbank even came near this sort of accolade,” Reynolds said in an audio acceptance for the award during the Governor’s Awards.
Carrie also provided a video message saying in part, “I have no idea how she did all the things she did.”
“It honestly feels super-weird to be up here without her. I’ve never seen her miss a show in her life,” said Reynolds granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd who accepted the award on her behalf.
A triple-threat screen legend from Hollywood’s golden age, Debbie Reynolds is survived by her son Todd and granddaughter Billie.