Tales of how hard Gene Kelly was on 19 year old Debbie Reynolds during the filming of “Singin’ in the Rain” are legend. He was a tough task master who gave this young, non-dancer no sympathy. Did he look at her and see a youngster who had not proven herself? Just another ingénue imposed upon him by the studio? He worked her hard and offered little encouragement to her while her feet bled and her heart sank.
|Debbie and her task master|
|Debbie at her spunkiest (and loveliest) in "The Mating Game"|
|Debbie and Molly Brown - both unsinkable|
Thanks for your insights and this wonderful article. Gene Kelly was a true Virgo in his obsessive perfectionism, but Debbie Reynolds was a great trouper to meet the challenge!
Debbie went into every area of entertainment - music, drama, impersonations, comedy, film, stage, recordings - she was a true entertainer and an inspiration.
Your tribute to Debbie and her place in history and our hearts is beautiful.
Sometimes we need a little time to grief, and then we can put our words together and make some extraordinary tributes. Yours certainly was EXTRAORDINARY!
I suspect you're right – we may not really be aware of how much we'll miss her.
Beautiful tribute. :)
Great article, Marsha! I'm sure Gene Kelly must have been proud to see what a big star she became in the 1950s and 1960s. Debbie was able to transition to drama easily too, which was sometime Gene always struggled with. Yes, he probably *envied* her a bit as well. He could have been a little lighter on her.... after all Judy Garland didn't ride him when he needed his first break in Hollywood.
Terrific and informative post about one of the real 'troupers'. Debbie personified the "Unsinkable" moniker. Her work preserving costume put her in another league altogether. She really COULD do it all.
Sarah - Gene was indeed a perfectionist. Good thing!
CW - many thanks. She sure was a trouper. One of the last, I suspect.
Le - you are so right. It took a little time for me to put my feelings into words about Debbie's place among the stars.
Thank you, Ruth. I always sort of took here being here for granted. She had such a youthful persona, it seemed as though she didn't age.
Connie - yes, Gene sure was hard on her, but it must have been difficult for him to work with such a novice after spending the day with Donald O'Connor and Cyd Charisse. I'm glad Debbie never gave up. And yes - Judy sure didn't get after him for not having a voice like Sinatra.
Inge - her efforts to try to preserve those costumes and artifacts were tremendous. How sad that she could not realize her dream.
I loved Debbie so much as Tammy when I was a kid. My girls grew to love her as the grandma in the Halloweentown movies. She had fans of every age, and I agree, I suspect that she wll never now how missed she will be.
And Debbie could be tough too - she had to be to survive that long in Hollywood and in show business. And let's remember Fred Astaire for the encouragement he was giving her on the sidelines during Singing in the Rain. Her work in saving Hollywood memorabilia is unparalleled
and was for a very long time unrewarded. There were times when she was taken advantage of.
She deserves every bit of recognition that posterity can give her.
Beautifully put, Marsha.
Rest in Peace, Debbie. I for one am so sick of hearing about how mean Gene Kelly was to poor little Debbie. So mean, he made her a star and she did credit him for teaching her so well (dancing and discipline) that she enjoyed a decades long career based on-let's face- it more charm than blazing talent.
Here's a newsflash: all dancers feet bleed.
How I wish I had met a Gene Kelly (although, there was only one) who would bully me into stardom at nineteen.
Post a Comment