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Debbie Reynolds is still America's Sweetheart

June 20, 2001

Joyce Rudolph

GLENDALE -- In a variety show that spanned hilarious celebrity

impressions to dynamic vocal selections, Debbie Reynolds proved she's

still America's Sweetheart.

Reynolds appeared at a benefit performance for VNACare/Hospice in the

Home Saturday night at The Alex Theatre in Glendale. More than 1,000

people attended, raising funds for the nonprofit organization that

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specializes in home health care for the terminally ill, regardless of

their ability to pay.

Opening the show with "I Feel a Song Coming On," the songstress moved

deftly from show tunes to country music and on to a Judy Garland medley.

In between, she joked about her ex-husbands and showed film clips from

her movies.

The laughs escalated when Reynolds did impressions of Barbra Streisand

-- complete with a prosthetic nose and page-boy wig -- and Zsa Zsa Gabor,

with the comedian slipping into a pink boa-feathered robe.

"I've been married nine times. Now I'm going to lease," she quipped,

replicating Zsa Zsa's accent.

Reynolds even amused her Burbank classmates in the audience with a

couple of twirls of her old baton.

Burbank resident Shirley Nelson attended with her husband, Karl, and a

group of Burbank High alumni. Shirley knew Reynolds at Burbank High

before Reynolds transferred to the new high school, John Burroughs.

Reynolds was in Burroughs' first graduating class.

"She has always done imitations, but I thought Barbra Streisand was a

kick," Nelson said. "Barbra has distinctive things she does with her

voice, and Debbie just picks up on that stuff."

Louise Peebles of Glendale was impressed with Reynolds' vitality.

"The show had great variety and she still has such great strength in

her voice," Peebles said. "She was America's Sweetheart, and is still

very, very talented."

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