Just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds succumbed as well. It sounds like the official cause of death will read stroke, but the truth is likely closer to a broken heart.
I knew Debbie Reynolds before I knew her daughter. Fisher gained stardom in a galaxy far, far away from the household I grew up in, but my love for Singin In The Rain is nearly timeless. She was just 19 when she saw the soaring success of that movie, but she followed it up with many other notable roles, including in movies such as Bundle of Joy, The Catered Affair, How The West Was Won, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Mother, and In & Out. She was also on Broadway, in cabaret, and reached a whole new generation through her work on television (Will & Grace, Halloweentown).
Debbie and Carrie infamously had a rocky relationship, some of which was portrayed in Carrie Fisher’s book\script Postcards From The Edge. Needing to find her own identity, Fisher sought distance from her famous mother’s shadow and the two were estranged for a decade, while Fisher dealt with addictions and mental illness.
The pair have since reconciled, and were never more closely bonded than they were before their deaths. During a sitdown with Oprah a few years ago, Reynolds said: “I would say that Carrie and I have finally found happiness. I admire her strength and survival. I admire that she is alive, that she has chosen to make it. It would have been easy to give up and give in and to keep doing drugs. I always feel, as a mother does, that I protect her. I want happiness for my daughter — I want Carrie to be happy.”
Carrie responded: “What I say about being happy is that I am ‘also happy.’ I’m happy among other things. Happy is one of the many feelings or experiences that I will have throughout a day. I think happy has been sort of made into this Hallmark card of a word, and I don’t know what that means. So I will just say that I enjoy my life, I make choices, I do what I want to do. I am a strong person, I’m not afraid of almost anything, and that’s a lot because of your example.”
We weren’t ready to lose either one of them, but wherever they are, at least they’re together.