Debbie Reynolds still goin’ strong 

click to enlarge Rags to riches: Debbie Reynolds tells stories of her life onstage. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Rags to riches: Debbie Reynolds tells stories of her life onstage.

There’s an admirable core of pragmatism to Debbie Reynolds. The Hollywood star turned 80 on April 1, but she’s nobody’s fool. “I earned all my years,” she says, “and I have a lot I can say to you.”

She’s going to do just that Sunday afternoon at the Marin Center, sharing stories, singing a few songs and dipping into her renowned set of celebrity impressions.

“I don’t really care about birthdays,” Reynolds says. “I care about whether you are having a good time and doing something with your life. I’ve really had quite an exciting time of it, from rags to riches.”

Oscar-nominated for playing a Titanic survivor in the 1964 musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” other career highlights include “Charlotte’s Web” on screen, “Will & Grace” on television, “Tammy” on the Billboard charts, and “Irene” and “Woman of the Year” on Broadway.

The El Paso, Texas native from a conservative family was not destined to become a movie star. “I was just a girl who entered a beauty contest,” she says of the events that led to her career-launching role in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen and current Bay Area resident Rita Moreno.

Life in Texas certainly didn’t prepare her to become one point of the triangle — with Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher — that was the scandal of the 20th century. “It’s such a small part of my life now,” she says of being the group’s surviving member. “It was a huge part of my life while it was going on and very painful.”

Years later, Reynolds and Taylor made peace. “She was such an extraordinary woman, one of the great beauties of our time. Eddie went on to have a very poor, sad ending. He did not really accomplish a great deal in his life and I don’t envy anything about it. Of course, I’m grateful that I have my children, whom I love and adore.”

Unlike Taylor — who would wed another four times and was rumored to be preparing to marry husband No. 9 before she died — Reynolds, the mother of Todd Fisher and actress and author Carrie Fisher, has set thoughts of marriage aside: “I had a happy first love and early marriage and then it ended, so you move along. I had two other marriages that failed, so I’m not very good at marriage or choosing mates. So I’m not choosing to mate again. I have my work, and what else could you want but to be able to go right to the finale, right to the curtain call, so to speak, doing what you love?

Debbie Reynolds

Where: Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael

When: 3 p.m. Sunday   

Tickets: $20 to $60

Contact: (415) 473-6800,

About The Author

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol is the editor at BAYSTAGES, the creative director at VIA MEDIA, and a lifelong arts supporter. Diva wrangler, cinefiler, and occasional saloon singer, he has been touching showbiz all his life. (So far no restraining orders have been issued!)... more
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