Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, the second child of Maxine N. (Harmon) and Raymond Francis Reynolds, a carpenter for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16 impersonating Betty Hutton. Reynolds wasnt a dancer until she was selected to be Gene Kellys partner in Singin in the Rain (1952). Not yet twenty, she was a quick study. Twelve years later, it seemed like she had been around forever. Most of her early film work was in MGM musicals, as perky, wholesome young women. She continued to use her dancing skills with stage work. She was 31 when she gave an Academy Award-nominated performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). She survived losing first husband Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor following the tragic death of Michael Todd. Her second husband, shoe magnate Harry Karl, gambled away his fortune as well as hers. With her children as well as Karls, she had to keep working and turned to the stage.