Debbie Reynolds Dead at 84: A Life Well Lived

A young Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds an Oscar nominated star of the ’50’s and 60’s has died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack aged 60. Todd Fisher informed the press after Ms. Reynolds was admitted to hospital earlier on Wednesday, 28 December with breathing problems.

Reynolds, who started off her career as a major film star by impersonating  Betty Hutton, became America’s sweetheart after playing roles like Tammy, in Tammy and the Bachelor (which spawned a million selling single for Debbie Reynolds; “Tammy’s in Love”).

It was after appearing in the  1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor film Singin’ in the Rain that Reynolds’ career really took off. She went on to make a number of hit films, including  The Unsinkable Molly Brown  before she turned to television.

Ms. Reynolds did not completely leave the cinema however. She voiced the spider in Charlotte’s Web in 1973. She worked steadily in television and did more voice-over work including the popular animated kid’s show, The Rugrats. (She voiced Lulu Pickles.)

Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April Fools Day in El Paso Texas in 1932. Throughout her long life and career, she married three times, one husband; her third,  squandered her money away and left her $3 million in debt. A massive amount that she paid off by performing at Las Vegas and Reno Nevada.

Debbie was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Molly Brown in the 1964 film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” At the end of her career, she accrued 17 awards and a further 36 nominations. One of the awards received was the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in  2016.

Reynolds’ first husband, Eddie Fisher; father to Carrie and Todd, left her for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958 in a move that shocked the world. Carrie Fisher a product of that union died on 27 December age 60 after a heart attack.

Social media, already reeling from the death of an icon, is now trending on Twitter with #RIP Debbie and Carrie. The world has lost a legend and her iconic daughter. Both women who lived life to the fullest and were, in their own way, bigger than life itself.

Ironically, it was on a Debbie Reynolds TV movie that Carrie got her start in the business; Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.  Both women were strong, witty and not backward in coming forward. The two shared a sometimes tempestuous relationship which Carrie wrote about in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From the Edge.

Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son, reported his mother’s death on Wednesday, 28 December.  Ms. Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital earlier in the day for breathing problems and suspected stroke.

Mr. Fisher said, in a statement, that his mother wanted to be with Carrie. Ms Reynolds is survived by her granddaughter Billie Lourd and her son Todd, a TV commercial director.

Debbie Reynolds has died suddenly after leading a life “well lived.” She will be remembered for a long and varied career that, like the Unsinkable Molly Brown, could not be held back or down. She was also known to a legion of “Star Wars” fans as Carrie Fisher‘s mother.

Carrie Fisher Dead at 60 – A Life in the Limelight

Shot from Star Wars

The news of Carrie Fisher’s death aged 60 came as no surprise to many. When the public learned that the Star Wars star suffered a heart attack mid flight from London, Heathrow on 23 December this year, social media blew up with well-wishes and many telling 2016 to leave their Princess Leia alone.

2016 has been a bitter year for fans of David Bowie, George Michael, Mohammad Ali, Prince and John Glenn to name but a few of the celebrities, famous and infamous who left this realm for another.  Now Carrie Fisher has joined their ranks amid the cries of pain from her legion of fans.

Carrie Frances Fisher was born into the limelight. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds was a star as well as a household name and her father was Eddie Fisher, the man who spent so much time helping Elizabeth Taylor when her husband died that he left his baby and wife for “Liz.”

With such beginnings it was, perhaps, written in the stars that baby Carrie, who entered this world on 21 October 1956, would have an interesting life. The young Fisher started working in the world of celluloid in 1969, ironically in a Debbie Reynold’s made for TV film – Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.

Next up was the iconic Warren Beatty film Shampoo. A film role that was quickly overshadowed by “a little science fiction movie that should be fun” Star Wars: Episode IV – A New HopeThe rest, as they say, is history.

Those horrific double hair buns of Princess Leia did little to hide Fisher’s beauty or her acting skills and millions of young men and women fell in love with the character and in turn with Carrie.

Life was a constant struggle to control the drugs, her bi-polar disorder and the fame. It was as though her father’s departure all those years ago put a curse on Fisher. The star wrote a number of fictional books but it was not until she performed the cathartic act of writing her memoirs that Carrie became an author of note.

Postcards From the Edge  was her first autobiographical novel, turned into a film with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine in the leads, and it took some of the varnish off the image of Debbie Reynolds. Despite this rather unflattering portrayal of her mother, Reynolds and Fisher got on quite amiably.

In terms of roles other than those for the Star Wars franchise, Fisher seemed to pick parts that poked fun at her heroic image, or at least fell far from the role that made her a household name.

In the 2009 horror film Sorority Row, for instance, she played a rough talking, shotgun wielding sorority house mother. Wes Craven cast Carrie in Scream 3. She was a “Carrie Fisher” lookalike who managed the publicity vaults of a fictional film studio. The gag was that her career was ruined by the “one who slept with George Lucas.”

Away from the film screen, Carrie Fisher was an outspoken woman who took no prisoners. When there were complaints that Princess Leia had not aged as some of her fans thought she should have, Fisher set them straight on social media.

“Deal with it” was Fisher’s message and she meant it.  Now this strong woman who fought battles with her weight, mental illness, those drugs and, above all else, that famous upbringing, is gone.

Carrie died Dec. 27 in hospital with her daughter Billie Lourd attending. Lourd informed People magazine after it happened. Carrie Frances Fisher was 60 years old and an icon.

Alive she was a inspiration to generations of young women. She was also a pinup to a host of youngsters who thought her wardrobe in the 1983 sequel Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was the epitome of sexy.

Throughout her career she had 90 credits under her belt with roles so diverse it amazes. From playing a nun in The Blues Brothers to playing herself onThe Big Bang Theory, Carrie had range for days.

Actress, author, script doctor, mother and daughter, Carrie Fisher will be missed by some and her death mourned by all.  May a host of prayers be heard by her friends and family.

Carrie Fisher
RIP Carrie Frances Fisher

 

Star Wars Jabba the Hutt and He-Man

Star Wars Jabba the Hutt and He-Man

With all the big news about the next Star Wars installment being rewritten by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, it made sense to have a look at the force and see what other things about the franchise might be of interest. Oddly enough, a few things did pop up. Namely, Jabba the Hut and He-Man.