Billie's bond with Debbie was apparent when she appeared on NBC's Late Night Dec. 12 to promote her hit Fox series. During the interview, Seth Meyers mentioned her famous lineage.
"First of all, she gets really upset when I get called 'Carrie Fisher's daughter.' She wants people to call me 'Debbie Reynolds' granddaughter.' It's very offensive to her," Billie joked of her beloved grandmother. "She does not like to be cut out—not at all. She started it. It's her fault."
Billie, the daughter of power agent Bryan Lourd, said her grandmother was apprehensive about her chosen career path. "When I first started acting, everyone in my family did not want me to act," said the star, who made her film debut as Lieutenant Connix (opposite Carrie as General Leia Organa) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "It was like, 'I am really rebelling by doing this.'"
Debbie had good reason to worry, of course. "She called me down to her house and had this binder of these diaries that she had written when she first started doing Singin' in the Rain. She sat me down on her couch and said, 'OK, I need you to read these, dear'—in her '50s actress voice," Billie said, imitating her grandmother. "I started reading them to myself, and she said, 'No, dear. Please read them out loud.' I started reading them and they're all in second person."
"They are somewhere along the lines of, 'You're sitting in the makeup chair. It's 5 in the morning. They've pulled out all your eyebrows and you have no eyelashes left. Your hair is a shell of itself, and all you wanted to be is a gym teacher.' So, I read this out loud and kind of looked at her like, 'OK…?' And she looked at me so earnestly, with her hands crossed in her lap, and was like, 'Are you sure you still want to be an actress, dear?'" Billie told the late-night host. "I was like, 'Yeah, I think it's different now. I think I'm going to be able to keep my eyebrows. I don't think they're going to put a wig on me; I've got long hair. It's fine. I'm going to go for it.'"
After impressing Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, Billie was cast to play Chanel #3 in Fox's Scream Queens. Proud as ever, Debbie tuned in to the campy series every week. "She is a huge fan. She's a fan of anything that involves a lot of fur," the actress laughed. "She misses that in film and TV, so the fact that we're all clad in fur earmuffs and fur jackets, it's her dream show."
Billie's comments echoed ones she made in a prior People interview. "She loves it so much. She loves the costumes," the actress said. "[She is] obsessed with fur and ear muffs and all of that."
Reflecting on her grandmother's legacy, Billie told the magazine, "She's had such an incredible career and she's done so many shows that people don't even know about. She performs in Reno; she performs all over the country. It's an incredible thing for people to see what a full star she is. She really does it all." Moreover, she said, Debbie was "an incredible grandmother."