Thursday, December 29, 2016


Debbie Reynolds, the 84-year-old mother of the recently deceased Carrie Fisher, suffered a major stroke and has also passed away. Reynolds was reportedly "devastated" by the loss of her daughter, and when I first learned of her stroke late yesterday, I thought to myself that she, too, would not be long for this world. 2016 has been particularly busy when it comes to the grim harvest of celebrities.

That said, I must confess that, even though Reynolds has been described as "Hollywood royalty," her acting and singing career had little to no impact on my life. People cite Reynolds's work in classics like "Singin' in the Rain," but for me, such movies are but distant echoes of a long-bygone era. I'll give Reynolds this, though: she looked a very lively and healthy 84, so her stroke and subsequent passing are both, even now, a huge surprise to me.

There are, however, those who won't be surprised, and who will say (as I already see some headlines saying) that Reynolds wanted to "be with Carrie." This sentiment, while possibly well-intended, strikes me as tasteless, given that Reynolds had another child: Todd Fisher, Carrie's brother, who is still alive and kicking. It seems gauche to suggest that Reynolds would abandon her son to "be with" her daughter in the afterlife.*

A quick review of Wikipedia trivia reveals that, along with her better-known accomplishments on screen, Reynolds was also a staunch mental-health crusader, and she managed her own hotel in Las Vegas. She was also a stage performer.

RIP, Debbie Reynolds.

*The latest from Wikipedia: "Reynolds is survived by her son Todd Fisher and her granddaughter Billie Lourd. Her son said that his mother's stress from the death of her daughter was partly responsible for her stroke. 'Reynolds told him she missed her daughter and wanted to be with her,' according to news reports." Perhaps not so gauche after all if Reynolds had indeed said this.


SJHoneywell said...

For what it's worth, Singin' in the Rain is a worthy revisit on your part. It's genuinely the best American musical ever produced, and with the quality of American musicals in that era, that's pretty much saying it's the best musical ever produced. And this from someone who puts "musical" as his least-favorite genre.

A friend recently observed how interesting it is that Sean Bean appears to have survived the year...

TheBigHenry said...

I remember when Debbie, the nice, Christian, America’s Sweetheart, married Eddie, the nice Jewish boy, America's singer. People said they were the cutest couple ever. They probably were.

Then along came Liz Taylor ...

Kevin Kim said...


Duly noted.


Ha! That Liz, she ruins everything, doesn't she.

TheBigHenry said...

Not anymore. But she was a maneater.

John from Daejeon said...

"Reynolds has been described as "Hollywood royalty," it was actually Carrie who was both Hollywood and Star Wars royalty. Hollywood due to her parentage. Star Wars...well, it's STAR WARS.

SJH has obviously never seen "Beauty and the Beast." I once thought as he does, but then I saw "Beauty and the Beast," not only on the big screen, but also on Broadway where it was even better. I just hope the live-action version isn't a letdown. I also own the Broadway recording. I can't say the same about "Singin' in the Rain."

Kevin Kim said...


Your mission in 2017 is to avoid making comments like this—

"Reynolds has been described as "Hollywood royalty," it was actually Carrie who was both Hollywood and Star Wars royalty.

—as if I needed correcting. I don't. Debbie Reynolds is widely described as "royalty" by many in the business. That's just an objective fact. Whether she deserves that description is, I suppose, a matter of opinion, but I for one respect her accomplishments, even if I consider them part of the distant past.

Also, please avoid comments like this:

SJH has obviously never seen "Beauty and the Beast." I once thought as he does...

—i.e., comments that denigrate other commenters while waving about supposedly superior knowledge.

Stay away from the superior tone implied in both remarks above, and I'll let more of your comments through. I want my commenters communicating civilly, not stepping on each other's heads. If, however, I see more comments written in this vein, you won't have to wonder why they're not appearing on my blog.

Happy New Year.

John from Daejeon said...

I'm sorry about the upitiness of my posting. I had just seen the latest Star Wars film after being forewarned by my Browncoat friends about the heavy borrowning (even an actor) right out of Joss Whedon's "Serenity."

I apologize to both you and SJH, I'll try not to post while out of sorts in the future.

p.s. I left a posting on your "Star Wars"entry in good humor. I was just wondering if you caught all the similarities as well and if Joss Whedon has any grounds for royalties.

Kevin Kim said...

All is forgiven, John. I know you're a decent fellow.

SJHoneywell said...

For what it's worth, I didn't take John's comment as offensive but a difference of opinion.

I have seen Beauty and the Beast. I liked it, although I'm not over the moon about it, particularly because I think the Jean Cocteau version from the '40s is a better version of the story. Yes, the songs are good, with several being among Disney's best ever. Singin' in the Rain isn't perfect, either, but in my opinion there is nothing to compare with the actual dancing of Kelly, Reynolds, and O'Connor or with Jean Hagen's perfect ditz. For me, there isn't a movie musical moment I like more than Donald O'Connor running up walls and doing back flips. "Good Morning, Good Morning" is a piece of gold.

By the way, The Guardian picked Cabaret as the greatest musical ever made, and while I liked Cabaret, perhaps disagreeing with them is where we'll find common ground.

Kevin Kim said...

Well, John, there you have it: SJH has spoken, and "the Emperor is more forgiving than I am."