Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds died Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the age of 84 — just one day after the death of her 60-year-old daughter, the equally iconic Carrie Fisher. Reynolds reportedly suffered a stroke while making funeral arrangements for Fisher this afternoon.
But Reynolds wasn’t simply Fisher’s mother (or Scream Queens scene-stealer Billie Lourd’s grandmother) — ICYMI, here are just some of the things that made Reynolds nothing short of a legend:
1. She Was Nominated for a Golden Globe at Age 17
Just a teenager, Reynolds had a breakout performance in the supporting role of Helen Kane in the 1950 musical biography film Three Little Words, which starred Fred Astaire and Red Skelton. Though not one of the film’s leads, Reynolds was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her performance.
2. Achieved International Stardom at 19
Starring opposite Gene Kelly, Reynolds’ performance in the role of earnest chorus girl Kathy Selden in the movie musical classic Singin’ in the Rain (1952) made her a household name virtually overnight — and the film has endured, regularly earning a spot on critics’ lists of greatest movies of all time.
3. Her Marriage Ended After Only Four Years When Her Husband Left Her … for Elizabeth Taylor
Once close friends, Reynolds became estranged from Taylor after Reynolds’ husband Eddie Fisher (father to the couple’s children, Carrie and Todd) had an affair with Taylor following the death of Taylor’s husband Mike Todd. The Reynolds-Fisher-Taylor scandal rocked Hollywood in a way that the Kardashians could only dream of. Reynolds married and divorced two more times.
4. She Was Nominated for an Academy Award for Her Portrayal of a Titanic Survivor
In 1964, Reynolds’ portrayed the title role in the film adaptation of the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a biographical take on the life of a saloon singer turned unexpected millionairess who went on to be one of the most notable survivors of the Titanic. Reynolds received a nomination for best actress at the Golden Globes for her performance .
5. But Playing a Singing Nun in a Musical Was “the Stupidest Mistake” of Her Career
We’re sure that a movie musical based on the true story of a nun who became a chart-topping recording artist — 1966’s aptly titled The Singing Nun — sounded like a good idea at the time … but leave it to Reynolds to openly admit that she had been a part of a flop.
6. Her Relationship With Her Daughter Was Immortalized in Postcards From the Edge
Carrie Fisher’s 1987 novel about an actress trying to get over her drug addiction was adapted into a 1990 film of the same name, with the roles of Fisher’s stand-in, Suzanne Vale, and her competitive actress mother named Doris Mann, being dramatized in the screen version. Vale and Mann, and their dysfunctional, damaged, and damaging — albeit loving — mother-daughter relationship were portrayed by Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, respectively. Reynolds reportedly lobbied director Mike Nichols to play the part of Mann herself, but Nichols told her, “You’re not right for the part.”
7. She Nearly Cinched An Emmy For Her Role on Will & Grace
Reynolds’ brassy charm — and inimitable vocal chops — were introduced to a whole new generation of viewers when she took on the recurring guest role of Bobbi Adler, the one-time cabaret star mother of the show’s titular character Grace (played by Debra Messing). Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2000.
8. She Had a Thing for Playing Dramatic Moms
Reynolds solidified both her on- and off-screen persona by playing Liberace’s mother in the 2013 HBO original film Behind the Candelabra … because once you’ve been portrayed by Shirley MacLaine on screen, mothered Carrie Fisher in real life, and given Grace Adler a run for her money, you’re clearly destined to reach uber-stage mother status by lending your presence to the birth of the dazzling Liberace himself.