As many people have seen in numerous posts over the years, I unequivocably love my mother. She’s my sheroe. She taught me that it was never too late in life to accomplish ANYTHING. She is one of the bravest women I know, loves me unconditionally and sometimes behaves as if she doesn’t want to ever let me grow up. One day, as we prepared to go out somewhere, she was tugging on my clothes annoying me to no end. Being a smartass I quipped, “You’re always going to be my mother aren’t you?”. She quickly snapped, “Well, what did you expect…of course I am”.
So when Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passed away within 24 hours of each other, I couldn’t help but think of the relationship with me and Mommy. Debbie Reynolds represented the Hollywood Mommy identified with and Carrie was my Princess Leia from Star Wars. This is also why it has taken me so long to write this review. Their death caught me off guard and hit me harder than I could’ve ever anticipated. Being a daughter, who is particularly close to her Mom this story broke my heart.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, I attended a party in which Carrie Fisher was a guest. Trying so hard to be cool, I slowly made my way into the kitchen where Carrie was telling stories and holding court. She was sarcastic, hilarious and brutally honest. She was simply “the best”. I couldn’t believe that I was at a party with Princess Leia…AWESOME!!!
Some years back, I went to see Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking. The funniest part of the one-woman show was when she breaks down the genealogy of her family tree! Again, hilariously real, candid and heartwarming stuff. Screening in 2016 at the AFI and Cannes Film Festival, I desperately tried to catch the documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Alas, I didn’t have an opportunity until now.
Directed by Oscar Winner Fisher Stevens, Bright Lights is an intimate look at how old Hollywood Royalty mashes with 20th Century Hollywood Royalty. We discover that even at the tender age of 15 years old, Carrie had pipes like Eddie Fisher and chose to not utilize that hidden talent. Even though Debbie’s body begins to betray her in her later years, that mind and wit were sharp as a tack.
It was nice to hear from Carrie’s brother Todd, who gives even more insight into his sister, mother and father. Todd says about Eddie Fisher “He got stuck on stupid and finally ended his career”.
Heartwarming moments include a candid conversation Carrie has with an ailing Eddie Fisher, in which she admits she tried to funny because she wanted him to think of her as his “best girl”.
Baby, it was those scenes shot at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, where the final auction of Debbie’s legendary Hollywood collection that broke my heart and made me smile all at the same time. As a former dancer, I had many auditions there and ran into Miss Reynolds often. She was always very supportive and gracious to anyone she came in contact with hanging in the halls for an audition. She possessed the true definition of what we affectionately call in “biz” a gypsy spirit.
In another scene, it’s hilarious how everyone freak out when the house alarm goes off and Debbie is chilling and singing in a chair.
Despite it all, you can’t help but smile at the unconditional love between these two women and how it would have been inconceivable for one to survive without the other.
Hopefully, they are having a ball in eternity. After suffering a heart episode aboard a plane ride back to Los Angeles, Carrie died on December 27, 2016. Debbie Reynolds, after telling her son Todd she wanted to be with Carrie passed away on December 28th.
The world lost icons, but Todd lost his Mom and Sister and Bille lost her Mom and Grandmother. My prayers and well wishes are with them and the rest of their family during this most difficult time.
You can catch both Wishful Drinking and Bright Lights Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds streaming on HBO Now.