Unsinkable: A Memoir by Debbie Reynolds



In the 1970’s I had heard about Debbie Reynolds passion for collecting Classic Hollywood costumes and props for historical preservation. I’ve patiently waited for someday to come along to be able to visit a museum to see it. Most of her collection is from the MGM Studio’s and 20th Century Fox. The book Unsinkable a Memoir by Debbie and Dorian Hannaway is definitely a fun but eye opening read. I especially enjoyed the colorful anecdotes about co-stars or stories of mishaps during the filming of each of the movies she has appeared in, including her latest film Behind the Candelabra.

My favorite ironic moment while reading the book is when Debbie spoke about filming; Singing in the Rain.  I read to this line: ‘Gene took me tightly in his arms…and shoved his tongue down my throat.’

Hah, would nineteen year old Debbie’s response to this invasion be as I imagined or would she do the unexpected? I turned the page.


My eyes shot to the top of the page I had just read, it was 209, I flipped the page, at the top of that page was the number 243, I burst out laughing. I had just read about the trials and tribulations of Debbie dealing with husband number three, the ‘who cares’ attitude of present day movers and shakers in Hollywood over her trying to preserve her movie Costume & Prop Collection intact. And now in her brand new memoir the printers had left out 32 pages at a crucial point in her book.

I laughed again, as I am sure Debbie would have. It was a burp, a glitch, a faux pas, an ‘if it wasn’t for bad luck, she wouldn’t have any luck at all’ moment.

Fortunately I was able to return the book to the local library which verified that the missing pages only involved the one copy that I had read. Their other copies were all intact. How ironic is that?

The title: Unsinkable describes Debbie Reynolds to a T. Her foresight at accumulating the costume memorabilia that she acquired for preservation sake sadly is now helping to keep her personally afloat.

The most disappointing story I read was about the movers and the shakers in Hollywood who had their own memorabilia collection, refusing help to Debbie with her Classic Hollywood Collection.

All I could think about was the scene in ‘Meet John Doe’ when DB Norton threatens to quash the John Doe movement. Like John Doe said:

‘Your types as old as history, if you can’t lay your dirty fingers on a decent idea and twist it and squeeze it and stuff it into your own pocket you slap it down. Like dogs if you can’t eat something you bury it.’

Thanks for the Memoir Debbie!

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