- At 16, won the Miss Burbank beauty contest, which resulted in a contract with Warner Bros.
- Allowed studio head Jack Warner to change her name from Mary Frances to Debbie, but refused to change her last name to Morgan.
- Transferred to MGM and eventually landed a star-making role in the classic movie musical Singin' in the Rain (1952).
- Co-founded the Thalians Mental Health Center for children with mental health issues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1955.
- Scored a radio hit with the song "Tammy," which was featured in her 1957 comedy Tammy and the Bachelor.
- Broadway debut as the lead in a 1973 revival of the 1919 musical Irene won her rave reviews and an Outer Critics Circle award.
- Released an autobiography, Debbie: My Life, in 1988.
- Notable TV work included a recurring role as Grace's mother, Bobbi Adler, on Will & Grace and voicing Lulu Pickles on the Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats.
- 2015, Oscar — Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Winner
- 1964, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Life Achievement Award: Winner
- 1997, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 1957, Golden Globe — Actress in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 1973, Tony — Actress (Musical): Nominee
- 1957, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 1970, Golden Globe — Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 1965, Golden Globe — Actress in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 1951, Golden Globe — New Star of the Year: Nominee
- Carrie Fisher — Daughter
- Todd Fisher — Son
- Bill Reynolds — Brother
- Raymond Francis Reynolds — Father
- Maxene Harman Reynolds — Mother
- Harry Karl — Ex-husband
- Eddie Fisher — Ex-husband
- Richard Hamlett — Ex-husband