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Actress Debbie Reynolds dies of a stroke, a day after daughter Carrie Fisher

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” Debbie Reynolds’ son Todd Fisher was quoted as telling industry weekly Variety, hours after the 84-year-old collapsed at his Beverly Hills home and was rushed to hospital.

hollywood Updated: Dec 29, 2016 07:55 IST
Debbie Reynolds,Carrie Fisher,Debbie Reynolds dead
This Oct. 14, 2011 file photo shows actress Debbie Reynolds posing for a portrait in New York. (AP)

Film legend Debbie Reynolds died Thursday morning after she was rushed to hospital late Wednesday. The 84-year-old actor was rushed to the hospital after suffering a possible stroke, a day after the death of her movie star daughter Carrie Fisher. Debbie’s son Todd confirmed the news of her death.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” her son Todd Fisher was quoted as telling industry weekly Variety, hours after the 84-year-old collapsed at his Beverly Hills home and was rushed to hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department told AFP paramedics responded to a request for medical aid at the Beverly Hills home of Todd Fisher, Reynolds’s son, just after 1:00 pm (2100 GMT).

Celebrity news portal TMZ said Reynolds suffered a “possible stroke,” adding that she had been distraught since 60-year-old Fisher’s death following a heart attack.

Fisher, who catapulted to worldwide stardom as rebel warrior Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, was pronounced dead in Los Angeles on Tuesday, four days after collapsing on a transatlantic flight.

In this Sept. 10, 2011, file photo, Debbie Reynolds, left, and Carrie Fisher arrive at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. ( AP )

TMZ, citing unnamed family sources, said Reynolds had been at her son’s house to discuss funeral arrangements when she became ill.

“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” she posted on Facebook following her daughter’s death Tuesday. “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop.”

Fans of both Reynolds and Fisher rushed to Twitter to voice their shock and dismay, with many pointing out the particular cruelty of the double blow to the family over the holiday season.

Reynolds, who received the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award last year, first captivated audiences in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain.

She was later nominated for an Oscar and helped found a group that works to combat mental health issues.

Her 2013 autobiography “Unsinkable: A Memoir” detailed the highs and lows of her rocky personal life and a screen career forged in the glamour of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” which was still going well into the 1990s.

Known at one time as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, Reynolds married singer Eddie Fisher in 1955 and had two children, Carrie and Todd. The couple divorced in 1959 after he fell for Elizabeth Taylor.

Born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas, the second child of railroad carpenter Raymond Francis Reynolds and his wife Maxine, she came to the notice of Hollywood studio MGM after winning a California beauty contest at age 16.

Wholesome heroine

In this Feb. 15, 1984, file photo, actress Debbie Reynolds appears at Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies in Los Angeles. ( AP )

She had never danced professionally, according to the Internet Movie Database, when picked to star opposite Gene Kelly in classic musical Singin’ in the Rain.

Several more MGM musicals followed, with Reynolds typically cast as a wholesome young heroine, before her Oscar-nominated turn in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964).

Married three times, Reynolds once said she had more luck selecting restaurants than men.

In this March 8, 1983, file photo, actress Debbie Reynolds returns for a curtain call after a performance of "Woman of the Year" at New York's palace theatre. ( AP )

First, she had to overcome the humiliation of losing Fisher to her best friend and fellow screen icon, although the pair remained close until Taylor’s death in 2011.

In another turn of misfortune, Reynolds’s second husband, shoe magnate Harry Karl, gambled away most of her savings.

Her third marriage to real estate developer Richard Hamlett in 1985 wasn’t much more successful, ending in divorce in 1996.

To support the family, Reynolds took jobs on the stage in Las Vegas, where she had her own casino that housed her extensive collection of memorabilia until it shut in 1997.

In this April 19, 1955, file photo, singer Eddie Fisher and his fiancee, actress Debbie Reynolds, look at each other at Idlewild Airport in New York. ( AP )

The haul is said to have included more than 3,000 costumes and 46,000 square feet (4,275 square meters) worth of props and equipment. Reynolds, admired for her versatility, starred in her own sitcom, “The Debbie Reynolds Show,” in 1969-1970, but it lasted just one season.

Her career in cinema was largely over by the 1970s, though she continued to star in TV movies and series. She also made regular personal appearances, acting on stage and portraying Liberace’s mother Frances opposite Michael Douglas in 2013’s Behind the Candelabra.

“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a documentary about her relationship with her daughter, premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is due to air on HBO in March.

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First Published: Dec 29, 2016 07:36 IST