Saturday, April 13, 2024

Extraordinary End of an Era: Debbie Reynolds Dies 1 Day After Famous Daughter Carrie Fisher


In what is maybe the most extraordinary Hollywood ending ever Debbie Reynolds has died one day after her famous daughter Carrie Fisher. Todd Fisher said his mother wanted to be with his sister. They leave behind Carrie’s daughter Billie to deal with cruel tragedy. Unbelievable.

What is going on here? How did this happen? All I know is that for several days, a posting on Debbie Reynolds’ Twitter that Carrie was “Stable” was taken seriously and literally by news organizations. In reality, Reynolds has not been seen in almost two years publicly.

In January 2015 she appeared at the SAG Awards to pick up her Lifetime Achievement honor. In her acceptance speech, Reynolds repeated herself and contradicted herself, and got lost. Clearly, something was wrong with our Debbie.

By November 2015 she was unable to accept her Oscar Lifetime Achievement Award. She sent granddaughter Billie to the Governors Awards to make a speech. Carrie was there, of course. That was a little over a year ago. Debbie Reynolds had not been seen in that time.

So we don’t exactly how frail Debbie Reynolds really was when she had to be told her daughter had died. It was obviously too much for her. And she obviously had not been Tweeting anything at all. News organizations just picked up the story and ran with it.

Watching Oprah’s 2011 interview with mother and daughter, it’s also pretty clear that they tied to each other in deep ways. And now, in what seems like a snap of fingers, they are gone. It’s surreal.

When Carrie was touring her one woman show “Wishful Drinking,” she made a stop in Hartford, where my own mother — a theatre critic– spotted Debbie in the audience. No fuss was made over her. She was just there, my mom says. My mom approached her and asked Debbie why she was there in Hartford, Connecticut. It wasn’t like this was a Broadway opening.

My mom says Debbie responded, “Where else would I be? It’s my daughter.”

Says it all, I think.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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