The Latest: Reynolds, Fisher remembered for wit at memorial
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a public memorial honoring late actress Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, the mother-daughter duo who died one day apart in December. (all times local):
Fans and friends have paid tribute to Debbie Reynolds at a poignant, laughter-filled memorial for the late actresses.
The two-hour ceremony Saturday was a mix of music and dance spliced with some never-before-seen footage of the mother-daughter duo reflecting on their lives.
The ceremony was led by Todd Fisher, who lost his mother and sister one day apart in late December. Fisher said his mother didn’t like memorials, so he was calling it a show that would reveal his loved ones like never before.
Moments included a dance tribute by performers from the dance studio Reynolds founded to music from “Singin’ in the Rain,” the classic film that made her a star.
The ceremony started with a video montage using “Star Wars” music to show Fisher from infancy, displaying tender moments with her and her mother interspersed with highlights from her career.
At the end of the montage, a working R2D2 unit came on stage and mournfully beeped at a picture of Fisher and at an empty director’s chair with Fisher’s name on it.
Actress Ruta Lee delivered a touching eulogy about Reynolds and her philanthropy. As with much of the ceremony, Lee sprinkled humor throughout.
Dan Aykroyd also cracked jokes, describing Fisher as a chatterbox who never let him speak during their relationship.
The ceremony also featured a new song Fisher’s friend James Blunt wrote in memory of her.
Hundreds of fans and friends of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are packing an auditorium for a public memorial honoring the celebrated mother and daughter.
The ceremony honors the mother-daughter duo’s careers at the storied Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. Actresses Renee Russo, Anne Blythe and Beverly D’Angelo were among the stars who arrived before the ceremony’s start. It will be livestreamed on www.debbiereynolds.com.
The ceremony’s program featured a photo of Fisher as a young girl holding her mother’s hand on stage. A drawing of Fisher in a Princess Leia gown and Reynolds in a rain slicker hugging each other was on a giant projector before the ceremony, and a pair of directors’ chairs with the actresses’ names on them were on stage. It was also being sold on pins worn by many guests, with the proceeds benefiting The Thalians, a charitable mental health group that Reynolds supported throughout her life.
Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, wrote in a message included in the program that his mother and sister loved a good party, and Saturday’s ceremony was intended to be a be a celebration they would like.
The afternoon was billed as a celebration of their careers, and it included a memorabilia display of a dress worn by Fisher in the original “Star Wars” and a life-size R2D2 unit that lights up and occasionally beeps.
Two of Reynolds’ dresses that she wore onscreen and her honorary Oscar were also on display.
Other stars attending Saturday’s ceremony were “Dallas” actress Morgan Brittany, actor Todd Stevens and “Brady Bunch” actress Susan Olsen.
Stars and fans will gather Saturday for a public memorial to honor late actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.
The ceremony honoring the lives of the mother-daughter duo will be held at the Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. People will be granted attendance at the event on a first-come, first-served basis and it will also be live-streamed on www.debbiereynolds.com beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific.
The ceremony is expected to feature music by James Blunt and “Star Wars” composer John Williams.
Fisher and Reynolds died one day apart in late December. Fisher died several days after falling ill on an international flight, and Reynolds died of a stroke.
Stars including Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman and Stephen Fry mourned the actresses at a private memorial in January.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP