Dancer, Debbie Reynolds’ Stand-In Was 92

Margie Duncan, a dancer and actress who stood in for her pricey buddy Debbie Reynolds in movies together with The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Second Time Round and The Singing Nun, has died. She was 92.

Duncan died Jan. 3 after a short sickness at her Porter Ranch house in Los Angeles, her household introduced.

Duncan labored with choreographers within the motion pictures to study Reynolds’ routines, “dancing in” throughout blocking and rehearsals till the numbers have been set. She would then train the routines to her buddy.

Within the musical comedy The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), for which Reynolds acquired her lone Oscar nomination, Duncan rehearsed the quantity “Ain’t Down But,” which came about within the barnyard of Molly’s (Reynolds) nation house, with choreographer Peter Gennaro.

Duncan jumped on the highest of a shed to sing the final verse whereas strolling backward down its thatched roof after which again up, ending on the entrance of the roof. On the final strive, one of many straw shingles got here free, inflicting Duncan to fall off the shed. She wasn’t damage, however the shingles have been nailed down by the point Reynolds arrived.

Within the late Seventies, when Reynolds needed to create a spot for skilled dancers and others to rehearse, she known as on Duncan to remodel a constructing on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood right into a studio whereas the actress was on the street.

Duncan employed Hollywood set designer Jerry Wunderlich, an Oscar nominee for The Exorcist and The Final Tycoon, and he lined the concrete flooring with rubber padding over which wooden floors have been put in. That created a “floating flooring” on which dancers wouldn’t maintain accidents.

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Duncan would run DR Studios, the place Michael Jackson rehearsed “Thriller” and Madonna, Ann-Margret, Bette Midler and others labored out routines, for greater than three a long time.

The older of two daughters, Duncan was born in Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 1930. An achieved faucet dancer, she carried out in her hometown in Catholic faculties and on the prestigious Academy of Music.

One among her contemporaries was singer Eddie Fisher, who launched her to certainly one of his finest buddies in highschool, Bernie Wealthy.

After graduating from Callihan’s Catholic College, Duncan moved to New York to work as knowledgeable dancer. When she was singing and dancing in a musical revue on the Versailles nightclub, Wealthy introduced Fisher and his fiancé, Reynolds, to see her present.

Afterward, all of them went for a late supper, the place Duncan met Reynolds for the primary time. She recalled that they regarded like sisters and have been sporting the identical outfit.

Each {couples} married inside months of one another in 1955. Duncan and Wealthy’s first little one, Michael, was born in 1956, in the future earlier than Reynolds and Fisher had their first little one, Carrie. The ladies have been pregnant on the identical time once more in 1958 and had their second youngsters inside a three-week span.

Reynolds typically took Duncan and her three youngsters on location.

Duncan additionally hung out as an assistant to costume designers Bob Mackie and Ret Turner and co-produced most of the exhibits for the Reynolds-led Thalians charity that benefited psychological well being.

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Duncan and Wealthy divorced in 1968. She then had a short second marriage to Sheldon Kaufman.

Duncan retired from DR Studios after Reynolds’ dying in December 2016 however stayed lively by taking train courses and going ballroom dancing each week.

Survivors embrace her youngsters, Michael, Mark and Elisa; daughter-in-law Rachel; son-in-law John; grandchildren Evelyn, Tony and Gina; and sister Joan.



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