Actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, and businesswoman Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in 1932 to a working-class family in El Paso, Texas. Her family relocated to California in 1939, where she would later be discovered competing in a beauty contest at just sixteen years old. Debbie was offered a studio contract and went on to make history both on-screen and onstage, kick starting her lifelong film career in the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain.
In The Person, The Persona: Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas, we join Debbie in 1962, still caught in the media spotlight following her divorce from husband Eddie Fisher and his highly-publicized love affair with actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1959. Now, married again, and wishing to spend more time with her two children, Carrie and Todd Fisher, she moves to Las Vegas to begin her million-dollar residency at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. She looks to Las Vegas to provide stability in her life, both personally and professionally, as she establishes herself not only as one of Las Vegas’ most enduring personalities, but also as a multi-talented entertainer. This leads Hollywood to consider her for different roles, casting her as ‘Molly’ in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, based on a real-life tale of resilience that Debbie felt paralleled her own rags-to-riches life. Her performance in the film earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
This exhibition weaves together two stories: one of Debbie’s professional career, highlighting her performances, collaborations, and unique rapport with her audiences, and one of Debbie’s personal life, featuring the love she had for her family, her enduring friendships, and her “unsinkable” resilience, culminating in a legacy that is forever entwined in the history of Las Vegas.
SEPTEMBER 5 - OCTOBER 26
Free Exhibition - Grand Gallery at Las Vegas City Hall
Monday - Thursday | 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.