Reynolds played Bobbi Adler, the mother of Messing's character, Grace. She passed away in December of 2016, and an upcoming episode of the sitcom revival will pay homage to the acting icon. According to a report by Entertainment Weekly, Messing spoke about the tribute on stage on Saturday.
“Working with Debbie was really incredible. She would come on stage and she was a broad in the greatest sense. She always was entertaining and singing and dancing, and then she was running off and doing a one-woman show, you know, 300 days of the year. It was just crazy,” Messing reportedly said.
“She and I would sit together and we would talk about being mothers — because I was a new mother — and she would talk about [her daughter] Carrie [Fisher], and we would talk about the challenges of being a working mom. It... she really... she really became someone very, very, very special in my heart, and I really wanted us to honor her. She meant so much to the show, and I really think that the episode that they wrote honors her — it’s funny and it’s moving,” Messing added.
The episode revolves around Grace's family and their varying reactions to the passing of Reynolds' character. Grace and her father don't want to part with Adler's home, while her sisters try to convince their father to move out of the family home.
Messing also revealed her top pick for another guest-star on the sitcom.
“I want Barbra Streisand to come and play Grace’s aunt. I like the idea of her being Debbie Reynolds’ sister,” she told the audience.
Sean Hayes, who plays Jack on the show, also fondly recalled Reynolds' time on Will & Grace. He told the audience he'll always remember her introducing herself to the live studio audiences as “Princess Leia’s mother.”
Max Mutchnick, the series' creator and executive producer, recalled the first time Reynolds appeared as Bobbi, back in February of 1999.0comments
“She came and she sat down with us, and there’s Debbie Reynolds sitting in our office, and I respectfully said to her, ‘You’re going to be playing Debra’s mother, and you’re this fantastic blonde, but would you mind for our show dying your hair red so you could look a little bit more like Debra?'” Mutchnick told the audience. “And she — this is the first time I’ve ever met her — and she said, ‘I have two hairs on my body, they’re gray, and they’re on my p—.'”
At the same panel, Mutchnick announced that the next season of Will & Grace — either 2 or 10, depending on how you count — has been raised from 13 episodes to 18. Eric McCormack also announced that the series had been picked up for yet another season ahead of time.