Saturday 18 November 2017

'My greatest fear is outliving my child' - star Debbie dies a day after daughter Carrie

Debbie Reynolds is visited at the studio by her children, Carrie (2) and Todd (1), on the set of ‘Say One For Me’ in February 1959
Debbie Reynolds is visited at the studio by her children, Carrie (2) and Todd (1), on the set of ‘Say One For Me’ in February 1959

Hannah Furness

Debbie Reynolds, the Hollywood star who has died at 84, had said outliving her daughter Carrie Fisher was her "greatest fear", predicting she would not be able to survive the trauma.

Reynolds, who passed away just a day after learning of her daughter's death, previously said it was "not natural to outlive her child", insisting: "I don't know if I could survive that." She died on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles, telling her son Todd Fisher: "I want to be with Carrie."

Carrie Fisher watches Debbie Reynolds on stage at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1963
Carrie Fisher watches Debbie Reynolds on stage at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1963

She is survived by Mr Fisher and Billie Lourd, her granddaughter.

Reynolds is said to have fallen ill while planning her daughter's funeral at Mr Fisher's home, being rushed to hospital following a reported stroke.

She had already made plans for her own memorial, choosing a burial plot and setting out her wishes following years of declining health.

Mother and daughter are now likely to be buried together in California, with small family services followed by a more public memorial to commemorate their role in the golden age of Hollywood.

US actor Gene Kelly with actress Debbie Reynolds from the movie ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Photo: Getty Images
US actor Gene Kelly with actress Debbie Reynolds from the movie ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Photo: Getty Images

Reynolds had been in deep mourning for her daughter, whom she had seen struggle with addiction and mental health problems.

Writing in her 2013 autobiography 'Unsinkable', she had spoken of her fears for Fisher after watching others lose their children to their "demons".

"It's not natural to outlive your child," she said. "This has always been my greatest fear. Too many mothers have lost their children, for thousands of different reasons. I don't know if I could survive that."

She added: "Carrie is my child and I love her with every ounce of strength I possess. If love alone could cure our children, they would always be well."

Reynolds was equally famous for her life off-screen as on
Reynolds was equally famous for her life off-screen as on

Carrie Fisher, writer, mental health campaigner and actress best known for her role as Princess Leia in the 'Star Wars' franchise, died on Tuesday, four days after suffering a cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angles.

Her mother, a leading lady in Hollywood musicals and comedies including 'Singin' in the Rain', passed away a day later.

Mr Fisher said his sister's death was "just too much" for Reynolds, who had previously suffered several strokes.

The pair together in 1972. Photo: PA Wire
The pair together in 1972. Photo: PA Wire

"She said, 'I want to be with Carrie'. And then she was gone," he said. "She's now with Carrie and we're all heartbroken. The only thing we're taking solace in is that what she wanted to do was take care of her daughter, which is what she did best."

Reynolds was equally famous for her life off-screen as on. Marrying singer Eddie Fisher in 1955, they were embraced as "America's Sweethearts" and produced two children before descending into scandal as Fisher had a high-profile affair with Elizabeth Taylor, the glamorous Hollywood actress and new widow of his best friend Mike Todd.

Reynolds went on to marry again twice, eventually being left bankrupt, humiliated by tales of prostitutes and gambling, and admitting she had "very poor taste in men".Speaking earlier this week, as he and Reynolds were planning Fisher's funeral together, Mr Fisher said: "My mother has explicit plans about what she wants to do [for herself], but at Carrie's age, she didn't make plans.

"We'll have a small family thing and then likely there will be a wider body of people involved in a second service."

Lourd, an actress in her own right, will inherit her mother's estate, as well as a portion of her grandmother's.

Debbie and Carrie on the Hollywood Hall of Fame. REUTERS/File Photo
Debbie and Carrie on the Hollywood Hall of Fame. REUTERS/File Photo

Hollywood was yesterday in mourning for the two actresses, with tributes from their co-stars and admirers.

"Truly heartbroken to hear Debbie Reynolds has died. She was a wonderfully warm friend and colleague," said Dame Joan Collins.

Actress Debra Messing, who was Reynolds' daughter in the sitcom 'Will & Grace' said Reynolds had "always worried about" her daughter.

Debbie and Carrie at the Emmy Awards together in 2011. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
Debbie and Carrie at the Emmy Awards together in 2011. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

"Carrie left too soon and now they are together again," she said. "My heart is literally broken.… An inspiration on every level. A legend of course, the epitome of clean cut American optimism, dancing with Gene Kelly as an equal, a warrior woman who never stopped working."

William Shatner said: "Debbie Reynolds was one of the last of Hollywood royalty. It breaks my heart."

Reynolds and Fisher will be seen on screen together one last time next year, in a documentary about their relationship and careers. 'Bright Lights' was premiered in Cannes this year, and is due to be broadcast by HBO in the spring.

Irish Independent

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