Debra Messing, Harvey Fierstein, others remember Debbie Reynolds

John Russell

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It’s been a rough week—hell, it’s been a rough year—for entertainment royalty. Just one day after the death of her daughter, actress and writer Carrie Fisher, Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds passed away at the age of 84.

Over the past 24 hours, the celebrity tributes and tweets have been steadily pouring out, with everyone from Bette Midler and Sean Hayes to Miley Cyrus and Sarah Paulson expressing their shock at the double loss and sending their condolences.

“This is beyond heartbreaking. Debbie was an idol,” Cher tweeted. “I have seen Singing in The Rain a million times. Loved all her films…Words are inadequate.”

William Shatner also expressed his heartbreak at the loss of “the last of Hollywood Royalty” in a tweet yesterday, summing up how most of us probably feel about this punishing year: “I’d hoped that my grieving was done for 2016.”

Reynolds was a recurring guest star on Will & Grace, playing Grace Adler’s mother in the 1990. Debra Messing posted a particularly moving tribute to the late actress via Instagram:

“Debbie went to be with Carrie. She always worried about her. Carrie left too soon and now they are together again. My heart is literally broken. For 8 years she was my mom. She was pure energy & light when she came on stage. She was loving, and bawdy, and playful- a consummate pro- old school and yet had the work ethic and investment in her craft of a new fiery up and comer. She was always running off to Vegas or somewhere else “on the road” to be a hoofer, to sing and dance and make people laugh. She performed 340 days out of the year. An inspiration on every level. A Legend of course, the epitome of clean cut American optimism, dancing with Gene Kelly as an equal, a warrior woman who never stopped working. A devoted mother and grandmother, and aunt and great aunt, and friend. I lost my mom a few years ago. She loved that Debbie was my TV mom. I hope they find each other and hug and kiss and my mom says, “I got you, Debbie. Carrie’s waiting for you.” RIP Bobbie Adler.”

Meanwhile, the editors at Vulture reposted Harvey Fierstein’s anecdote about hanging out in the Theater District with Reynolds after hours during the Broadway run of Torch Song Trilogy:

“One night, we were out, Debbie Reynolds had replaced Lauren Bacall in Woman of the Year, so she was performing and we went out after the show. I think Lee Roy Reams was there, sort of egging her on — not that you had to push Debbie very hard to get her to perform. But somebody was egging her on. And she got up on the piano, and began doing Dietrich. She does all these amazing imitations. And she was singing and carrying on, and we were there until at least 4:30 in the morning.

I took a cab home to Brooklyn. I went to bed. I woke up in the morning, and I was lying in the bed and turned the TV on, and there was this announcement on the television that Debbie Reynolds had been taken to the hospital. That they feared she’d had a heart attack. And she would not be performing that day, that she would not be doing the matinee of Woman of the Year, because she had been taken to the hospital. And so I jumped up, and I looked through my phone book, and found Carrie Fisher’s phone number. I called her immediately. I said, “Don’t worry, Mom’s fine, it’s just a hangover!” Because we’d been drinking four hours before that! I called Carrie so she wouldn’t worry. But we had a lot of fun.”

Feel free to share your own tales of getting saucy with Debbie and Carrie—while watching their iconic performances or in real life—in the comments.

h/t: Variety

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