Debbie Reynolds Shares a Hair-Raising Hollywood Anecdote

Although it has long been known that Gene Kelly and other Golden Age leading men wore hairpieces on screen, it’s debatable whether this should be a topic of Q&A conversation before the Hollywood world premiere of a 60th anniversary restored edition of Singin’ in the Rain. Especially when the actor’s widow is sitting in the audience, as was the case Saturday night at Grauman’s Chinese for this Turner Classic Movies Film Festival marquee event:

Co-star Reynolds told a similar story to Lumenick, a film critic for the New York Post, prior to the festival. We’re not sure whether Patricia Kelly – who spoke to the audience after the same screening – had a right to be offended (if that was indeed the case). But for collectors of strange Hollywood lore, here are the details:

A ladder is a prominent prop in the “You Were Meant For Me” number and Reynolds said that during rehearsals, she sat on the ladder chewing gum (“I hadn’t discovered wine yet,” she cracked to a huge laugh).

She said that when time came to shoot the number, she took the gum out of her mouth and affixed it to the ladder. But when Kelly’s head brushed next to the ladder while he was dancing, the gum “stuck to his [toupee] and took it off. He was mad at me for a year after that.”