"Do it Debbie's Way" is the name of Debbie Reynolds' latest exercise video. It is also her approach to life.
With a new autobiography out, a best-selling exercise video and a new musical show, Ms. Reynolds still is doing what she does best - entertaining."I'm my own boss. And I'll be out there entertaining as long as people want me," Ms. Reynolds said from Lake Tahoe, Nev., where she was performing in "Debbie Reynolds in An Evening of Music & Comedy," a road show touring 19 cities with her co-star, actor Harve Presnell.
Ms. Reynolds, who began her career as a studio contract player for MGM, has come a long way since she danced her way into the hearts of movie-goers in the musical hit, "Singin' in the Rain."
Although she has had a successful stage, screen and television career and a happy marriage to builder Richard Hamlett, in her recent autobiography, "Debbie: My Life," she describes her life as wrought with marital and financial struggle.
"I wanted to do the book before someone else wrote one about me," she said.
In her book, Ms. Reynolds, 56, recalls her journey from a high school beauty queen to an unsinkable survivor.
"Some people find it painful to recall bad experiences, but I didn't," she said. "I think the hardest part was trying to remember everything."
Some parts were easy to remember, like the excruciating regimen that turned her into a dancer for "Singin' in the Rain," her marriage to singer Eddie Fisher and his affair with Elizabeth Taylor, and her shocking discovery that second husband Harry Karl had gambled away much of the nearly $10 million she had made, leaving her with $300,000 in government bonds.
"Whoa, did I feel naive," she said. "I'm definitely more aware of the business in show business" now.
In 1983, Ms. Reynolds returned to Broadway to replace Raquel Welch in "Woman of the Year" and afterward found work on the Las Vegas nightclub circuit.
Because of her ex-husband's Ms. deceit, Ms. Reynolds said, she returned to work out of necessity. Now she works because she wants to.
"I've watched Hollywood go through so many changes," she said. "First there was the star system, then the studio moguls were dethroned, eased out by the business. Then television came in and did away with `B' movies . . ."
"Now there is no longer an industry per se. It's independent producers leasing studios to do their films. Hollywood, as we know it, is gone."
The death of Tinsel Town as she knew it best has led to her involvement in the preservation of memorabilia from Hollywood's early years. Her goal is to found a motion picture and television museum dedicated to the collection of costumes, props and other artifacts from the industry's first half-century.