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The Tragic End of Two Iconic Figures

Thomas McEvoy and Matthew Goguen

Carrie Fisher:

Born in Burbank, California, to parents Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher experienced a tumultuous upbringing. At the age of two, Fisher was forced to endure her parents’ divorce. Her parents would go on to remarry with varying amounts of success. Nonetheless, the split-up had a profound effect of Fisher, almost certainly contributing to her spending much of her childhood immersed in book after book, seeking relief from the real world.

Years later, Fisher’s promising career on Broadway led to her decision to drop out of high school. Fisher experienced similar amounts of success in college, dropping out before graduation. However, Fisher’s almost two year stint at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London began to fuel the fire that was her love of performing. Fisher finally got her “big break” in 1977 when she played Princess Leia in George Lucas’ timeless classic Star Wars. Known mostly for her work in the Star Wars series, Fisher also contributed to numerous other successful movies. Other films featuring the talents of Fisher include: The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The ‘Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally. In 2008, Fisher took a leap of faith in writing her own novel, which she entitled Wishful Drinking. The novel was based on an autobiographical play she had written, which chronicled much of her life including her struggles with bipolar disorder.

The tragic news of Carrie Fisher’s death, due to cardiac arrest, on December 27 hit the public like a splash of cold water. However, despite her passing, Fisher has made a tremendous impact on the world of acting, and she will live on through each and every character she portrayed.


Debbie Reynolds:

Born in El Paso, Texas, on April 1, 1932, Debbie Reynolds was raised by Raymond and Maxene Reynolds in a very poor family. Her father was a ditch digger, her mother was a laundry lady, and the three of them lived in a cozy shack in El Paso. In 1939, her family moved to Burbank, California, where Reynolds was an outcast in school. However, when she was sixteen years old, Reynolds won the Miss Burbank Beauty Contest and inked a contract with Warner Brothers. After two years with the company, she left for MGM because Warner Brothers stopped producing musicals. Because of her consistent performances, MGM gave her a starring role in Singin in the Rain (1952), a trailblazer movie which was one of the first films to have sound.

Three years later, Reynolds married Eddie Fisher. However, the marriage did not last, as the couple split in 1959 after Eddie was caught having an affair with Elizabeth Taylor. The affair was one of the biggest public scandals of its era, and it sent ripples through the Reynolds-Fisher family lives, including her two children’s: Carrie and Todd Fisher. Reynolds’ second husband, Harry Karl, was a heavy gambler and bad investor. And after 13 years, the couple split, giving Debbie her second divorce. Later on, she got married again, this time to real estate investor Richard Hamlett.

In a successful career, Reynolds starred in productions such as: How the West Was Won (1963), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), Charlotte’s Web (1973),and Mother (1996). Reynolds also starred in her own TV Show, The Debbie Reynolds Show, which received a Golden Globe Award. Her accolades include: four Golden Globe Nominations, one Academy Award (Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award), and one American Comedy Award (Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy).

On a sadder note, this past December, Debbie’s daughter, Carrie died of cardiac arrest. The following day, Debbie Reynolds was hospitalized for a severe stroke. Later that afternoon, the 84-year-old died of a intracerebral hemorrhage. Both her daughter’s death and her own sent a ripple across the country. Their legacy still lives on today. Debbie has left her footprint on American film and charities such as The Thailans, which focuses on children and adults with mental health issues. Her cheerful spirit, beautiful smile, and film legacy will live on in Hollywood lore. Both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are deeply missed.

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