The last time Debbie Reynolds and I talked, she told me about the time she got Cary Grant to ask her daughter, Carrie Fisher, to stop dropping acid.
I got her on the phone again the other day, because Debbie performs Friday through Sunday at the South Point, and because I love Debbie with all my heart.
This time, she has a new memoir, called “Unsinkable,” so she’s telling everyone about the time Shelley Winters went to a Malibu party in a big skirt and, in the middle of the room, had “two young boys” under it “making her happy.”
The book is selling well.
“People seem to be enjoying it,” Debbie said.
I fell in love with Debbie when I first saw her onstage in the 1990s, singing, pulling her dress up to flash the front row, and cracking funny, dirty jokes about Liz Taylor’s chair.
What does Debbie have planned for the South Point this weekend?
“Well, I’m going to be alive,” said Debbie, 81. “I plan on walking and singing and having a live Debbie be there.”
I told her Planet Hollywood could have given her a contract instead of Britney Spears.
“I wouldn’t want to sign a contract for a year,” she said. “I really love to perform. But it’s better at my age to enjoy some of my life.”
Debbie, who has lived in Las Vegas for 60 years, off and on, is staying at the Vegas home of her son, Todd Fisher, and his wife, Catherine Hickland, for a few weeks.
“Todd married well,” Debbie said. “He’s lucky, and she’s lucky. You don’t always have that opportunity. You could wind up like me and marry badly every time.”
“Marriage can work out,” I said.
“Haha. My recommendation would be to skip it,” she said. “Obviously, I would like it to be a good thing. But if it isn’t, just go on your merry way and have a good time, and enjoy what’s left.”
“Bette Davis said marriage can work if you have separate bedrooms,” I said.
“Bette said, ‘Separate bathrooms,’ ” Debbie said. “Separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Just be together on weekends or whatever. Or put ’em in the pool house.”
Debbie still gets around town.
“I want to see Elton John,” she said. “I really miss Liberace. I miss everybody. I miss Jack Benny. I miss all funny people. It’s sad. If you’ve seen the best of them all, you do have lonely memories of the greatest.
“But I have all happy memories of fun, and the days when you could get on the plane without being shot at. Liberace and I, we used to travel together, and we would walk right up the ramp with a bottle of champagne, having a wonderful time. Things are different now.”
Wait, Debbie, one last question:
“Why in the hell hasn’t the Academy Awards given you an honorary Oscar?”
“No, there never will be that,” Debbie said. “Everything in life is timing.
“That doesn’t matter to me. I’m not in the business to receive awards. I get my reward from having an audience there, and that care enough to come out of their house and leave TV for a minute and come and share a moment.
“I have enough plaques and awards, honestly. I’m in the business strictly because I love it. It’s fun. It’s really wonderful onstage.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.