Entertainment Celebrity Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher to be buried together
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Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher to be buried together

debbie reynolds carrie fisher
Despite periods of estrangement, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher were very close. Photo: Getty
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Debbie Reynolds’ son says his mother and sister, actress Carrie Fisher, will have a joint funeral and will be buried together.

Todd Fisher says the actresses will be interred at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, the final resting place of numerous celebrities, including Lucille Ball, Dick Van Patten, Liberace, Florence Henderson, David Carradine and Bette Davis.

Todd Fisher said no date for the funeral has been set, but it will be private.

A public memorial is being contemplated, but no plans have been finalised.

Earlier on Friday, the Los Angeles coroner’s office released Carrie Fisher’s body to her family.

Debbie reynolds
Debbie Reynolds and baby Carrie in 1956. Photo: Getty

Chief of operations Brian Elias says an examination of Fisher was done, but he stopped short of calling it an autopsy and would not provide any details on what tests were done.

Elias said there was no timetable for when an official determination on what killed Fisher would be made.

Todd Fisher said the family wasn’t clear on what coroner’s officials had done during the examination, but was glad his sister’s body had been released to Forest Lawn.

“My mother and my sister are together right now,” he said.

Carrie Fisher, 60, an actress and writer who starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Tuesday after suffering a medical emergency on December 23 aboard a flight from London.

Reynolds, 84, an Oscar-nominated actress who shot to fame after starring in Singin’ in the Rain at age 19, died on Wednesday after being briefly hospitalised.

“She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie’,” Todd Fishersaid at the time. “And then she was gone.”

In an ABC News interview that was to air on Friday, Todd Fisher said his mother joined his sister in death because Reynolds “didn’t want to leave Carrie and did not want her to be alone.

“She didn’t die of a broken heart,” Fisher said in the 20/20 interview. “She just left to be with Carrie.”

Reynolds wasn’t inconsolable over her daughter’s death, he said, and instead simply expressed love for her.

Debbie and Carrie: a retrospective

To end her acceptance speech for the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2014, Debbie Reynolds referenced her favourite performance.

“In The Unsinkable Molly Brown, I got to sing I Ain’t Down Yet,” she said over the applause.

Well I ain’t,” she added, and walked off stage, arms linked with her daughter Carrie Fisher.

They were Hollywood royalty. A mother who loved the limelight, and the daughter trying to break from that shadow.

“I didn’t want to be around her. I did not want to be Debbie Reynolds’ daughter,” Fisher told Oprah Winfrey, with Reynolds beside her, in 2011.

Reynolds replied: “It’s very hard when your child doesn’t want to talk to you and you want to talk to them … It was a total estrangement. She didn’t talk to me for probably 10 years.

“There have been a few times when I thought I was going to lose Carrie. I’ve had to walk through a lot of my tears. but she’s worth it.”

Debbie Reynolds with her children, Carrie and Todd, in 1960. Photo: Getty
Debbie Reynolds with her children, Carrie and Todd, in 1960. Photo: Getty

Debbie Reynolds was an enduring Hollywood icon, and one of the few remaining from its Golden Years. We all knew her as Debbie, but she was actually born Mary Frances Reynolds on April Fools’ Day in 1932.

Her first leading role, at just 19 years of age, was Singin’ in the Rain, opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. From then on she sang and charmed her way across seven decades on screen and stage, and was universally loved.

Every role was memorable. We will never forget her as the boisterous title character in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), the teenager on the houseboat in 1957’s Tammy and the Bachelor (her singing of Tammy reached No.1 on the music charts), the technicolour musical Bundle of Joy (1956), where she acted opposite her then-husband Eddie Fisher, or The Singing Nun (1966) in which she portrayed Jeannine Deckers.

Watch the trailer for The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Or how about opposite Dick Van Dyke in Divorce American Style (1967) as the husband and wife opting for divorce when counselling fails, or as the voice of the gentle spider in the animated classic Charlotte’s Web (1973)?

Reynolds did it all, and Hollywood noticed.

She received Golden Globe nominations, National Board of Review awards, Oscar nominations (and an honorary Oscar), Comedy Awards, and Emmy Awards.

Reynolds was married three times. Her first husband, Eddie Fisher, left her after four years, after falling for Reynolds’ good friend Elizabeth Taylor, who he was consoling after she lost her husband in a plane crash.

“It was an unhappy time and you grow up a lot but it’s just something you have to live through,” Fisher recalled.

Reynolds reconciled with Taylor decades later after the two bumped into each other on an ocean liner. In 2001 she even starred opposite her in the television movie These Old Broads. It was co-written by Carrie Fisher.

Reynolds (right) with her former husband Eddie Fisher (centre) who had an affair with her friend, Elizabeth Taylor (let). Photo: Getty
Reynolds (right) with her former husband Eddie Fisher (centre) who had an affair with her friend, Elizabeth Taylor (left). Photo: Getty

Reynolds suffered financial difficulty, brought about by her second husband’s bad investments and gambling.

In the 1960s, studios were moving away from musicals. So she headed off to Las Vegas.

She and her third husband bought a Las Vegas hotel casino where Reynolds was the main attraction. But it fizzled out after her husband embezzled funds, and Reynolds filed for bankruptcy in 1997.

“Life is not easy,” she told the Los Angeles Times that year, “but the challenges that are given to you are not insurmountable. You fall down for a couple of days and then move along with your life and what you can make of it.

“I’ve always felt I had to persevere. I’m a religious person and have always had the faith that if I work hard enough, I can work my way out of problems.”

Watch Carrie Fisher talk about her mother

In a remarkable show of foresight, in 1970 Reynolds began purchasing historic film memorabilia from the old studios, who were selling off their inventory from their overcrowded lots.

For the next four decades she amassed the finest collection of props, gowns and hats in film history.

She had Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch, a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, and the camera used to shoot Star Wars.

In 2011, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences knocked back her request to purchase all her items for their museum, she held an auction. Well, actually three. They grossed $US22.8 million.

She had saved Hollywood, and indirectly saved herself from financial ruin.

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at the 2015 SAG Awards, where Reynolds was honoured. Photo: Getty
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at the 2015 SAG Awards, where Reynolds was honoured. Photo: Getty

Our sadness for her passing must be outweighed with the weight of joy she gave us across all her film roles.

In a pivotal scene in Singin’ In The Rain, Debbie Reynolds’ character is revealed, accidentally, as the beautiful singing voice of the silent star Lina.

Embarrassed, Reynolds dashes from the stage, up the aisle through the audience, towards the camera.

But Gene Kelly runs out from the wings, yells to the crowd: Ladies and Gentlemen, stop that girl. That girl running up the aisle. Stop her! That’s the girl whose voice you heard and loved tonight. She’s the real star of the picture.”

Yes. Debbie Reynolds was.

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