A few days ago, our redoubtable friend Duane Swacker wondered why we take the time to mourn over movie stars and other celebrities when so many thousands and millions of deaths go unremarked.

 

Here is why: I remember Debbie Reynolds because she brought me great joy. Singin’ in the Rain is my favorite movie. It is innocent and fun and happy and escapist. Other people watch science fiction for escapism. I love the old MGM musicals. I love Eleanor Parker; I love Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald; I love Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. I spent New Year’s Eve with friends watching “That’s Entertainment,” parts 1 and 2. I love the songs of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I know most of them by heart.

 

My friend Marc Epstein, who knows that I share his love for this era of entertainment, shared this wonderful column about Debbie Reynolds. I don’t care who she was in “real life.” She will always be that ingenue of 19 for me. Hard to imagine that she never danced until that movie. Gene Kelly taught her to dance until her feet were bleeding, according to lore. Now, that’s grit!

 

PS: I don’t know what her test scores were. I know that her daughter Carrie Fisher never finished high school. According to what I read, she dropped out of high school to join the chorus line in one of her mother’s shows. Yes, she was a fabulous story teller and writer. I don’t thin she had any test scores. I will always be grateful for the way she reconfigured what it meant to be a princess: not a helpless teen in pink waiting to be saved by Prince Charming, but a strong and resolute woman able to pick up a space weapon and blast away.

 

That’s entertainment.