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Ryan Gosling gives Debbie Reynolds the thank-you he never got to give in person.

"We watched 'Singin' in the Rain' every day for inspiration, and she was a truly unparalleled talent."

Ryan Gosling gives Debbie Reynolds the thank-you he never got to give in person.

"La La Land," starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is one of the year's most buzzed-about films.

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

The film has all the flair and star power of a 21st-century Golden Globes favorite. A love story between an aspiring actor (Stone) and jazz pianist (Gosling) living in Los Angeles, "La La Land" puts a modern twist on the classic musical dramedies that defined past generations.


Though the late Debbie Reynolds wasn't involved with the film directly, it was her work more than 50 years ago that helped bring the magic of "La La Land" to life.

Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images.

While accepting the Vanguard Award on behalf of the film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 2, 2017, Gosling credited Reynolds' "truly unparalleled talent" for inspiring the cast.

"I wish I could’ve said this [to her] in person, but I’d like to thank Debbie Reynolds for her wonderful career of work," Gosling said during his speech. "She was an inspiration to [the cast of 'La La Land'] every day. We watched 'Singin' in the Rain' every day for inspiration, and she was a truly unparalleled talent. So I thank her for all of that."

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival.

"Singin' in the Rain," which was released in 1952, has similarities to "La La Land."

The film, which starred Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O'Connor, followed performers living in 1920s Hollywood as the silent film industry transitioned to sound. Critics consider the film among the greatest musicals of all time.

Reynolds and Kelly in a promotional photo for "Singin' in the Rain." Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Gosling's tribute to Reynolds was met with boisterous applause. Reynolds died on Dec. 28, 2016, at age 84.

Her death came just one day after her daughter, "Star Wars" legend Carrie Fisher, died after suffering a heart attack.

Reynolds (left) and Fisher. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Gosling's speech touched on the timeless beauty of Reynolds' work and serves as a great lesson about the unsung power of inspiring others.

It's easy to feel like your work — or your love, or your generosity — goes unnoticed. Sometimes it's difficult to see how reaching a career milestone or doing a small favor for a friend makes an impact. But it does.

Not everyone gets honored in a speech about their work as a Hollywood legend or will have their Hollywood Walk of Fame star showered in flowers after their death. But each and every one of us makes choices that will stick with those around us in ways we'll never know.

Who will you inspire today?

Watch Gosling's acceptance speech below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less