Remembering Debbie Reynolds
Local Recalls Unique Friendship With Late Star
Carmel Valley resident Louis McKay is spending time these days remembering the special relationship he had with the late Debbie Reynolds. Louis has been singing, dancing, and acting since he was six years old, and at age 20, he relocated to Los Angeles from San Diego to pursue a career in show business. He decided to audition for The Debbie Reynolds Show on a whim and was hired as a back-up dancer and singer. Over the following eight years, Louis and Debbie developed a deep friendship. Louis became Debbie’s lead choreographer for her traveling shows as well as her Las Vegas lounge act. They traveled throughout the United States and Europe together, and even to the Broadway stage with Annie Get Your Gun. Debbie called Louis her “second son” and he considered her a “second mother.” Even after Louis retired and moved back to San Diego to open his first dance studio, Debbie would occasionally ask him to travel to Las Vegas to choreograph some pieces for her, and she would come to San Diego to visit Louis and his family.
Now 62 years old, Louis continues to choreograph and teach at his dance studio, North County DanceArts, Inc. in Carmel Valley, never forgetting the impact Debbie had on the early years of his life. “I would not be the choreographer, the instructor, or the person I am today without her influence on my life,” he said. Louis last spoke to Debbie on Thanksgiving last year, planning a big family dinner for late January. Of course, no one could predict that their dinner would never happen; Debbie passed away on December 28, 2016. “She should be remembered for her elegance under all circumstances, good and bad,” Louis related. “She embodied a great work ethic, loved her family, friends, co-workers, and fans. She was a multi-talented lady – she was funny, she could sing, she could dance, she was an amazing actress.”