Debbie Reynolds has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of SAG’s most prestigious award, the Life Achievement Award. The honor is bestowed on the basis of the awardee’s career within the industry and their conduct outside of it, i.e., their humanitarian efforts.
Reynolds has starred in over 50 movies, including classics like Singin’ in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She appeared on Broadway twice and made her mark on the small screen with The Debbie Reynolds Show and other series, including Will & Grace (where she appeared in a recurring role as Grace’s mother) and, more recently, HBO’s Behind the Candelabra.
She has been nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Golden Globe.
On the humanitarian front, Reynolds co-founded a charity to combat stigma surrounding mental illness and opened the Debbie Reynolds Studio in Hollywood, which offers a space for dancers to practice and attend classes. The studio remains open and active today. Artists who have used its facilities include Lucille Ball, Madonna, and Michael Jackson.
Reynolds has also been a lifelong advocate and fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, and has participated in efforts to collect and preserve Hollywood memorabilia.
Ken Howard, President of SAG-AFTRA, remarks: “[Debbie Reynolds] is a tremendously talented performer with a diverse body of screen and stage work, live performances and several hit records. Her generous spirit and unforgettable performances have entertained audiences across the globe, moving us all from laughter to tears and back again.”
Congratulations to Debbie Reynolds on this well deserved recognition. Since 2000, 7 of the 15 recipients of the Life Achievement Award have been women: Ruby Dee (2000), Shirley Temple (2005), Julie Andrews (2006), Betty White (2009), Mary Tyler Moore (2011), Rita Moreno (2013), and finally, Debbie Reynolds (2014).