The very first time I watched Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown I fell in love with her work as an actress in musical movies. I’ve watched a lot of her movies made in the fifties and sixties, thanks to Turner Classic Movies. The Unsinkable Molly Brown remains my favorite, with Bundle of Joy right behind it. My kids loved her in Singing in the Rain.
Because I have enjoyed her work so much, it was a no brainer to scoop up her memoir Unsinkable when I saw it at the library. I have not ever known anything about her other than the fact that she made some great movies. Having read the book, can I just say Wow!
I think perhaps my favorite part of this book was her story of being discovered. She entered the Miss Burbank beauty contest because all contestants received a free blouse and she just wanted the blouse. When her parents found out she had taken the blouse without any intention of actually competing they threw a fit. Apparently they thought she should actually do what she said she would do. (Novel idea, right!?!) So off she went to compete. She lip synched for her talent, relying on years of experience performing with her girl scout troop. She actually won and caught the eye of some studio executives in the process who offered her a contract. Not bad for signing up to get a free blouse.
A lot of the book details her efforts to start of Hollywood museum to house all the props and costumes she had purchased over the years. She had an amazing collection at one point, including Marilyn Monroe’s famous subway grate dress. I think it is a real shame that she was never able to get her museum off the ground.
She also talks quite candidly about her awful third marriage that just about wrecked her life. Apparently she had a hard time picking out good men to marry. The end of that marriage sounds like a very terrifying experience.
I love how she took the role of Molly Brown to heart in her own life and kept coming back. She talks about this in her book, and that is why she titled the book Unsinkable.
There are some uncomfortable moments in this book as Miss Reynold talks quite candidly about some of the hard things in her life. She also uses profanity here and there throughout the book. I could have done without the profanity. Other than that it was a pretty interesting book. I enjoyed it very much. I love how she talks about each movie and her experiences making it.