Remembering Debbie Reynolds

People magazine's Jess Cagle discusses Reynolds' legacy in Hollywood, and ABC News' chief women's health correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, discusses Reynolds' death just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.
4:57 | 12/29/16

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Transcript for Remembering Debbie Reynolds
Debbie Reynolds lived in the spotlight for more than six decades. What a complex life it was. By turns dazzling and frankly disastrous. This morning we look back. ??? Good morning, good morning ??? ??? we've talked the whole night through ??? ??? good morning good morning to you ??? Reporter: Debbie Reynolds danced her way into the popular consciousness at the age of just 19 starring with Gene Kelly in one of Hollywood's most beloved musicals "Singin' in the rain." ??? I'm singing ??? Reporter: Her fame cemented in 1964 with her role as boisterous heroine -- That ship may be down but not me. I'm unsinkable. Reporter: "The unsinkable Molly brown" for which she scored an Oscar nomination. And throughout her life and her career, Debbie Reynolds proved over and over that she was, in fact, unsinkable. ??? Wish I knew if he knew ??? Reporter: Dazzling with her many talents. I'm an actress. Reporter: And that infectious smile all while navigating a tumultuous personal life. Her first husband Eddie fisher left her for her then best friend, the bombshell beauty Elizabeth Taylor in what was the most talked about Hollywood scandal of the day. Reynolds discussed it here on "Gma" in 2013. That was an incident that happens in your life that is unhappy time and you grow up a lot. But it's just something that you have to live through. Reporter: Her relationship with her daughter Carrie fisher who died on Tuesday one of her most defining and perhaps most complicated. I wanted to do what my mother did. I wanted to be like my mother. I worshipped my mother. Reporter: It was a roller coaster. Carrie fisher documented the highs and lows in her book and movie "Postcards from the edge." Am I too late for the family? Reporter: For years they were estranged as fisher struggled with substance abuse and mental illness. She didn't talk to me for probably ten years so that was a very -- that was the most difficult time of all. Very painful. Very heartbreaking. Reporter: But time helped heal the wounds. I would say that Carrie and I have finally found happiness. Reporter: Mother and daughter closer than ever in their final years even living next door to one another. Mommy, mommy, I'm home. Reporter: As seen in the upcoming HBO documentary "Bright lights." Both of those bright lights now dimmed. ??? Good morning ??? Reporter: Although on screen both will shine on for years. For more on this let's bring in Jess Cagle from "People" magazine and senior medical contributor Dr. Jen Ashton. Dr. Ashton, let me start with you. There's talk of broken heart syndrome this morning with mom's death coming so soon after her daughter's. Is that a valid medical phenomenon. It is a real medical condition. I think it is possible figuratively and literally to die of a broken heart. Doesn't seem to be the case for Debbie Reynolds but there's reports of spouses dying hours or days amart from each other. The loss of a child is known to be one of life's greatest stressors, whether that child is 6 or 60. So when you're talking about an elderly person with known pre-existing medical conditions certainly the loss of a child can be a massive emotional and physical event. Let's bring you in, Jess. Mother and daughter, they were estranged for about a decade but had so many personal tragedies between the two of them. Do you think that gave them an unbreakable bond and ultimately brought them back together. Ultimately it did. I think that Carrie fisher went through, you know, as she spoke about so publicly a lot of addiction issues and so I think probably through a lot of therapy she learned to be grateful for this woman who had shaped her life and made this life possible for her and given her this extraordinary life and she learned to let go of the resentments because, you know, Debbie Reynolds was -- she was great on stage and she was great on screen. At home things were much more difficult for her. Life was hard sometimes. Yeah, life was certainly hard but had that breakout role at 19 in "Singin' in the rain" next to Gene Kelly but her career spanned over 60 years. Why do you think she had such longevity? She was incredibly talented and well liked and great comic actress. Underrated. One of the best so while one generation knows her from "Singin' in the rain," another knows her from "Will & grace" as grace's mom and she was fantastic. If you've ever seen "Mother" with Albert brooks she should are won an Oscar for that film. She was always great. And, frankly, she loved to work and had to work. Jess Cagle, Dr. Ashton, thank you both.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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