Debbie Reynolds Tried To Convince Billie Lourd Not To Act by Sharing a ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Horror Story
Acting runs in the family for Billie Lourd. Her mother, the late Carrie Fisher, was the daughter of Debbie Reynolds. Together, they made a trio of Hollywood stars whose careers span from the Golden Age to present day. But the famous women of Lourd’s family didn’t want her to act.
In fact, Reynolds wanted Lourd to avoid the industry so badly, she sat her down and got out her diaries from Singin’ in the Rain and shared a horror story from one morning on set.
Debbie Reynolds wanted Billie Lourd to be known as her granddaughter, not Carrie Fisher’s daughter
Reynolds and Fisher were two of the funniest women in Hollywood. Fisher wrote quippy memoirs and screenplays (some based on her own life) and spent a lot of time roasting George Lucas in interviews. And Reynolds, well, let’s just say it’s easy to see who Fisher takes after when watching Reynolds’ interviews.
In an interview with Seth Meyers before Reynolds and Fisher’s deaths, Lourd talked about what it was like when she told her famous family she wanted to get into show business. And Reynolds made it clear that if Lourd was going to start acting, she wanted one thing to be made plain.
“First of all, she gets really upset when I get called ‘Carrie Fisher’s daughter.’ She wants people to call me ‘Debbie Reynolds’ granddaughter.’ It’s very offensive to her,” the American Horror Story star joked. “She does not like to be cut out—not at all. She started it. It’s her fault.”
Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher didn’t want Billie Lourd to be an actor
Reynolds “started it” by winning a beauty contest when she was 16 years old. A contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer followed suit. But Reynolds never dreamt of becoming a movie star, let alone for generations of her family to follow in those footsteps. She wanted to be a P.E. teacher, but fate stepped in and landed her—a non-dancer—on the set of Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly as her co-star.
For part, Fisher never encouraged her daughter to join the family business. But she realized her daughter had some real acting chops when they worked together on The Force Awakens.
Debbie Reynolds tried to scare Billie Lourd out of acting
Fisher and Reynolds really did try to keep Lourd away from the spotlight. To do that, Reynolds once got out her Singin’ in the Rain diaries. As Lourd described to Meyers:
“She called me down to her house and had this binder of these diaries that she had written when she first started doing Singin’ in the Rain. She sat me down on her couch and said, ‘OK, I need you to read these, dear’—in her ’50s actress voice. I started reading them to myself, and she said, ‘No, dear. Please read them out loud.’ I started reading them and they’re all in second person.”
Lourd continued to share her grandma’s hilarious tale of losing all of her eyebrows because of the Singin’ in the Rain makeup team. She said:
“They are somewhere along the lines of, ‘You’re sitting in the makeup chair. It’s 5 in the morning. They’ve pulled out all your eyebrows and you have no eyelashes left. Your hair is a shell of itself, and all you wanted to be is a gym teacher.’ So, I read this out loud and kind of looked at her like, ‘OK…?’ And she looked at me so earnestly, with her hands crossed in her lap, and was like, ‘Are you sure you still want to be an actress, dear?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I think it’s different now. I think I’m going to be able to keep my eyebrows. I don’t think they’re going to put a wig on me; I’ve got long hair. It’s fine. I’m going to go for it.'”
And go for it, she did! The actor is now one of the recurring stars of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story franchise and continued to appear in Star Wars films after her mother’s death. Suffice it to say the (acting) force is with her.