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Pompton Lakes Remembers When Debbie Reynolds Came To Town

Actress Debbie Reynolds entertained extras in the Pompton Lakes High School auditorium during the filming of the movie "In & Out." Photo Credit: contributed
Pompton Lakes resident Zofia Fisher has a photo with Debbie Reynolds from the filming of the movie "In & Out." Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson
Pompton Lakes residents are pictured with actress Debbie Reynolds and actor Wilford Brimley who starred in the movie "In & Out," filmed at Pompton Lakes High School. Photo Credit: contributed
Actor Tom Selleck is pictured at Pompton Lakes High School during the filming of "In & Out." Photo Credit: contributed
Kevin Kline is pictured at Pompton Lakes High School during the filming of "In & Out." Photo Credit: contributed

POMPTON LAKES, N.J. – Debbie Reynolds was famous for her leading roles in 1950’s hits like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Three Little Words," but some Pompton Lakes residents remember her  best for the time she spent with them in 1997.

The late actress — who died Dec. 28, just a day after her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher — visited Pompton Lakes High School when it was transformed into the fictional Greenleaf High School for the filming of the movie, “In & Out.”

“She was extremely gracious,” longtime Pompton Lakes resident Zofia Fisher said of the actress.

Fisher said she asked to take a photo with Reynolds at the high school, and she kindly obliged.

“I’m so proud of this picture,” Fisher said, showing it to Daily Voice. “She was one of my favorite movie stars, and that’s why it was so special.”

In “In & Out,” Reynolds played Berniece Brackett, the mother of well-liked English teacher Howard Brackett. In the romantic comedy, Howard’s former student wins an Oscar and outs his mentor as being gay when he publicly thanks him in front of millions.

The film’s creators were looking for a small-town high school to film scenes, and Pompton Lakes was the right fit. 

“It has a beautiful auditorium, a great gymnasium, and a wonderful English classroom with a small proscenium stage,” Joe Iberti, the location manager for the production, told The Record at the time.

Reynolds and her co-stars Kevin Kline, Tom Selleck, Joan Cusack, Wilford Brimley, Bob Newhart and Matt Dillon were regulars at Pompton Lakes High School during the filming.

Zofia Fisher’s daughter, Aimee Fisher, then a high school junior, got to meet Reynolds and the rest of the cast.

Aimee Fisher worked alongside many other Pompton Lakes residents as an extra in the movie. There was a lot of downtime as the crew filmed scenes, and Reynolds would sing and entertain the extras, Fisher said.

“She was a very, very sweet person,” Fisher recalled.

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