While many mourned the death of Carrie Fisher, I was curious about her mother’s reaction, the unthinkable sadness of losing a child, at any age.

We didn’t have to wait long to find out.1964-the-unsinkable-molly-brown-debbie-reynolds-01

Debbie Reynolds died a day after her daughter. They say she suffered a stroke, and a broken heart.

In her only Oscar nominated performance, Debbie Reynolds brought to the screen the fictionalized story of Titanic survivor, Margaret Brown.

The 1964 film, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” was a favorite for me, for so many reasons.

The real Molly Brown was an American socialite, philanthropist, actress who was born a poor Irish immigrant.


Margaret Brown 1867-1932

She met and married J.J. Brown, a Colorado miner who came into a gold fortune that propelled them into Denver society.

She studied language and culture and found herself among European royalty when she boarded the Titanic in 1912 for its infamous first voyage.

It was said that she did insist that the lifeboat captain turn around to rescue others from the ocean,ย  and though the story could not be verified, she became a legend on her return to Denver.

Reynolds captured the indomitable nature for which Molly Brown was known, in her spirited and memorable performance.

Much has been written about the fame, fortune and tragedy that manifested in this family that was considered Hollywood royalty. But when all was said and done, they were family.

Debbie Reynolds, at age 84, seemed to be unsinkable.

Tragically, she was not.

Rest in peace, daughter and mother.


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76 Responses to Sinkable

  1. It must have been horrendous for her. May they both rest in peace x

  2. Carrie and Debbie were exceptional flowers in a vast garden,
    now more memorable than ever.
    Kind words are appreciated

  3. Bless you for this tribute to Mother and Daughter, Van. I’m covered in goosebumps. โค

  4. Ruchira says:

    This was so thoughtful of you to write this post. Let their souls rest in unison. And you keep up the good work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sawsan says:

    My chest hurts thinking about this iceberg that hit her heart, the loss of her daughter.
    They are together now.

  6. May the force be with them.

  7. Yet another Classic Star from my growing up days has been lost. Long may she shine with the others lost in 2016, and be at peace with her daughter.

  8. I loved Carrie for her humor and spirit. And Debbie was the consummate Hollywood actress, charming and energetic. Great tribute to them both.

  9. Lady G says:

    Honestly, I’m kinda glad that Debbie never had to experience the burial of her dear daughter.
    I’m not happy; just relieved for her.

  10. C.E.Robinson says:

    How very sad, Van! Very nice thoughts. Thank you! I’d say, mother died in part from a broken heart. ๐Ÿ’› Christine

  11. What a lovely tribute, Van. My heart aches for the family who are having to deal with losing two loved ones in two days. They must be reeling. Sadly my parents, siblings and I have had to deal with the premature deaths (at 21 and 41) of my two oldest brothers which I think is why this particular pair of celebrity deaths has caught my emotions more than some others this year.

  12. Unthinkable sadness. Well described Van…

  13. writerinsoul says:

    Well and gently delivered. I think our hearts ache because in an instant we understand precisely how much Debbie Reynolds was hurt by her daughter’s death. And by god, it’s that bond between women…

    Another recommendation: The film “Mother” which Debbie Reynolds did with Albert Brooks. Not as well known as maybe it should be.

    • I know that film, C. Many thought it Oscar-worthy. And I did happen to view “Wishful Drinking”… I forgot to mention that yesterday. It was typically well written and delivered. Thanks. ๐Ÿ’˜ She was a talent, in a different way than her mother.

  14. Van, simply all I can say, is this is beautiful.

  15. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    So shocking.

  16. Seems like the misery that has become the year 2016 will never end. Thank you Van for a little reflection of the beauty and strength that was Debbie Reynolds, and a glimpse of a mother and daughter relationship that, though, not always perfect, was still rooted in great love.

  17. J.D. Riso says:

    Lovely tribute, Van. Lots of heartbreak this past year.

  18. Beautifully expressed, Van. I didn’t know about Molly Brown

    • They cast Kathy Bates in the role in Titanic..a bit of brilliance. There was a strong resemblance. But Debbie Reynolds sang, danced and fought her way through Unsinkable…based on a stage play. Thanks, Derrick.

  19. How true is that!! ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข

    Love your blog, happy to have found you!

    Much love.

    Your new reader,

  20. amommasview says:

    Interesting that you bring it up as I was thinking of her too… Some said that they had a bad relationship and you know what, it might have been the case. But a mother is a mother and seeing your child die before you pass away will hurt every parent. Sad…
    Happy New Year, Van and lots of love from my side of the planet xoxo

  21. Moving, V. I’m right with you. At weddings, I always sneak peeks at the parents of the bride. Not that white people don’t have poignant inner lives – but there is something about the immigrant journey. Well, way back in high school, I observed the (immigrant Korean) father of the bride. Just before releasing her to the groom, he heaved a series of loaded sighs. I replayed them to my mother later and … she started crying. LOL. She totally got how he must’ve felt.

  22. Steph McCoy says:

    Every parents worst nightmare is losing their children. Lovely tribute.

  23. George says:

    I pray they are both now resting in peace.

  24. Bernadette says:

    There is nothing more devestating than losing a child

  25. So pleased that they reconciled and spent the last ten years so much closer.. It must have been a dreadful shock.. great post Van..xx

  26. This is a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing some of the real history along with this recent tragedy.

  27. dgkaye says:

    A most beautiful tribute to an icon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. coastalmom says:

    I thought of writing something about this as well. You covered it perfectly!

  29. Yes I too was so saddened to hear the news of both of their passings.. May they both rest in peace.. x

  30. joey says:

    It’s just so sad. Had to be a broken heart. They’ll never convince me otherwise. I love your parallel between Debbie Reynolds and Molly Brown.

  31. Lisa A. says:

    So sad:( Debbie Reynolds was from El Paso. I got to see her speak at a film festival here a few years back. RIP.

  32. It didn’t surprise me that Debbie died the day after her daughter. I think we can and do occasionally die of broken hearts. A sad post with some cherished memories, Van.

  33. It didn’t come as a surprise to me that she just died of a broken heart. I think it’s just so sad, wrong and heartwrenching for a parent to bury their child, especially not in their old age.

  34. vinnieh says:

    I still can’t believe her and Carrie are gone.

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