The beloved Hollywood star and New York Times bestselling author of Unsinkable continues her intimate chat with fans in this entertaining collection of anecdotes, stories, jokes, and random musings from a woman who has seen it all—and done most of it.
From her acclaimed performances to her headline-making divorce from Eddie Fisher, raising a famous daughter to hitting the road with a successful one-woman show, Debbie Reynolds was in the spotlight for decades. Over her more than six-decade-long career she met presidents, performed for the Queen of England, and partied with kings.
In this fabulous personal tour, she recalls wonderful moments with the greats of the entertainment world—Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Phyllis Diller, and many, many more—sharing stories that shed new light on her life and career and the glittering world of Hollywood then and now. Debbie has plenty to tell—and in Make ’Em Laugh, she dishes it in the warm, down-to-earth voice her fans adore.
Debbie shares memories of late night pals and some of the greatest comedians of all time, stories from the big screen and small, and tales of marriage, motherhood, and children. Combining her wicked sense of humor and appealing charm, she reveals the personal side of show business and fame in funny, poignant, and delightful reminiscences. Nothing is off limits: Debbie talks about her sex life, her family drama—and even shares a few secret recipes.
A true Hollywood icon, beloved by millions of fans around the world, Debbie Reynolds died on December 28, 2016, at the age of 84, just one day after the death of her daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher.
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About the Author
Debbie Reynolds was an actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, and author best known for her leading roles in Singin' in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and on TV as Bobbi Adler in Will & Grace. After more than sixty years in the entertainment industry, she was a true Hollywood icon, beloved by millions of fans of all ages around the world. Debbie Reynolds died on December 28, 2016, at the age of 84, just one day after the death of her daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher.
Dorian Hannaway was the director of late-night programming at CBS-TV for more than fifteen years, supervising the production of The Late Show with David Letterman; The Kids in the Hall; and The Late, Late Show. She has known Debbie for more than thirty years, and has written and produced many projects with her.
Table of Contents
Foreward Carrie Fisher xi
1 A Great Honor 1
2 The Cinderella Story of the Texas Tomboy 15
3 Early Days 21
4 It's the pictures That Got Smaller 61
5 A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Woids 83
6 The Royal Treatment 109
7 Friends Without Benefits 125
8 You Got to Have Friends 135
9 Family Matters 221
10 Happy Mother's Day 2015 245
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a huge fan of Debbie Reynolds and have seen almost all of her movies.
Wow! What can I say....I loved this book by Debbie Reynolds. It was full of laughs, friendships, family and all the interesting people she's known through her years in show business.
The subtitle of Debbie Reynolds' book Make 'Em Laugh is Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends and it aptly describes this book; it's filled with short anecdotes about Reynolds and the people she met in her long and storied career. While reading it, I felt like I was sitting next to her on her couch in her beautiful home while she flipped through a scrapbook, sharing memories of the many famous people she has met and known. Reynolds is hilarious, as anyone who has seen her on a talk show or award show knows. She has a sharp, quick wit that is well on display here. She also has some funny stories to share about her family, including daughter Carrie Fisher who inherited her mom's sense of humor. Carrie opens the book recounting the evening that her brother Todd accidentally shot himself in the thigh with a blank from a gun. Debbie called a cab to take him to the hospital because "ambulances can be so loud", and when Debbie was brought to the police station to be fingerprinted, Debbie gave them one finger to be printed. And we're off. Reynolds shares that she likes to do talk shows, The View and The Talk being two of her favorites. She really loved being on Craig Ferguson's show, saying that no matter what she said, he was right there with her. She was one of Joey Bishop's first guests on his talk show in the 1960's and recalls demonstrating on Regis Philbin (Joey's sidekick) the proper method taught to Girl Scouts to put out a fire. She jumped on him and he came out of it bruised and scraped, while she split her dress. She was a hit, making the front page cover of New York Sunday News. Reynolds talks about her visits to the White House, sitting next to Prince at the Oscars, who was wearing a purple lace shawl over his head, dancing the night away with Belgium's bachelor King Baudouin and having her rear end pinched by both Prince Philip (Queen Elizabeth's husband) and Robert Kennedy. Jonathan Winters and Jimmy Stewart were favorite dinner party seat mates, Milton Berle, whom Reynolds called "obnoxious", was not. Neither was Shelley Winters, "a pain in the ass." She shares a tale of dumping a bucket of ice and water over a drunken Elaine Stritch's head when Stritch was talking through an entire cabaret performance of a friend of Reynolds. One anecdote she shares is one I was there for. She recounts attending the first preview for Bette Midler's Broadway show about agent Sue Mengers. She was seated near Liza Minelli, and I was sitting across the aisle from them and was so excited to see both of these superstars. If you are a fan of Debbie Reynolds, Make 'Em Laugh is a book you'll enjoy. It would make a lovely gift for the Turner Classic Movie aficionado in your life.