Last December, the world lost two beloved actresses within 48 hours: Carrie Fisher, 60, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, 84.
On Saturday, a joint memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles to remember the pair. There were tap dancers. There was a live choral performance. And there were more than a few powerful memories shared of these two influential women.
With as many lives as the mother-daughter duo touched, it’s no surprise that some noteworthy public figures turned up to pay their respects. There was even an appearance by “Star Wars” robot R2-D2, who was seen alongside event host Todd Fisher. Todd, 59, is Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother.
“My mother didn’t like memorials or funerals,” Todd explained, according to E! News. “She liked shows, parties … so this show was really time for you to be in our living room as if we were all a big family.”
It’s tough to imagine the hardship of losing a mother and a sister together, but Todd seemed to have made peace with the unusual circumstances.
“(Debbie) said to me many times, ‘I never want to go to my daughter’s funeral,'” Todd recalled. “So she said, ‘I would like to change my burial plans and I would like to be buried with Carrie.’ I didn’t know she was going to leave us the very next day.”
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The program included screenings of home videos and film clips starring the two women, a tap dance to Reynolds’ famous “Singin’ in the Rain” dance, and a live performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles of “True Colors.” A new song by James Blunt was played during a video montage.
Dan Aykroyd, who was once engaged to Carrie Fisher and starred with her in “The Blues Brothers,” also spoke at the service.
“Although Carrie and I did not get married, we had taken blood tests in anticipation of maybe having a child,” he said. “So what would the offspring of Princess Leia and Elwood Blues turn out like? Funny? Quick? Spiritual, haunted, pursued, talented, acerbic … deviant, manic, genius … in other words, we would’ve had Todd Fisher.”
Other noteworthy attendees included actress Catherine Hickland, Todd’s wife; actor Griffin Dunne, a friend of Carrie’s; and actress Connie Stevens, who was once married to Carrie and Todd’s father, the late Eddie Fisher.
Todd told E! News that while the family has mourned in private, the public memorial service was a “sendoff” for the sake of the many others who wished to honor the two women.
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“We’ve already said goodbye in many ways,” he explained. “But this is the goodbye that we are sharing with friends and family and the public because they are connected to us. It’s the way Debbie would’ve wanted it, it’s the way it is. So you can’t really be done with the goodbyes until you do it with all of the people.”
He added, “There are words that are unspoken between any of us. We had a very strong love and so there are no goodbyes. We shall all meet again.”
See Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher’s sweet mother-daughter bond