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Monday 21 October 2019

Todd Fisher opens up on losing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

Reynolds passed away a day after her daughter in 2016.

Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd, has opened up on losing his sister and his mother, Debbie Reynolds. (Ian West/PA)
Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd, has opened up on losing his sister and his mother, Debbie Reynolds. (Ian West/PA)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Todd Fisher has opened up on the loss of his mother and sister, the film stars Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

In December 2016, Carrie – who found fame as Princess Leia in Star Wars – died at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack on a Los Angeles bound flight.

Her mother,  Singin’ in the Rain star Reynolds, passed away a day later aged 84 following a stroke.

Their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief from around the world and Fisher, 60, revealed the impact their sudden deaths had on him.

Carrie Fisher died in December 2016 after suffering a heart attack (Ian West/PA Wire )

He told the Press Association: “The loss is the same as anybody losing their loved ones. The bad news is the loss is stunning.

“But the good news is that we were all so close that there were no words left unspoken, there was no unfinished business between us, we knew how we felt.

“I didn’t feel like there was an unsettled bit of business. I certainly felt a loss.”

Carrie battled mental illness and drug addiction throughout her life and a post-mortem examination found evidence of cocaine, alcohol and MDMA in her body.

Debbie Reynolds died a day after her daughter, fellow Hollywood actress Carrie Fisher (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Fisher, who describes his mother as a “survivor”, said Carrie’s success was all the more impressive because of what she had to overcome.

He said: “I have said I almost feel like Carrie was even a bit more like a hero, because she was able to overcome the mental illness and still excel in every area. It was remarkable. In the face of a mental illness, that’s pretty amazing.

“My mother suffered no mental illness. Yes, she was awesome and did so much, but Carrie did it under a handicap and that’s amazing.”

In his new book, My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie And Debbie, Fisher reveals what it was like growing up as Hollywood royalty, telling how he spent his childhood playing in the backlot at MGM studios and how he once walked in on Bette Davis in the bathroom.

Fisher described growing up as like being in “Hollywood’s Downton Abbey”, with as many as eight helpers for each person living at the family mansion in Los Angeles.

Carrie Fisher was best known for starring as Princess Leia in Star Wars (Anthony Devlin/PA)

At one point, Fisher said, even the help had help. He compares his family to the British royals, claiming Reynolds is the “Queen Mom” and Carrie is “our Princess Diana”.

His father was the crooner Eddie Fisher, who divorced his mother to marry her close friend Elizabeth Taylor.

He said Carrie was “born” to play the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars because she “was a princess” and her mother “had been working on her for years”.

American writer and actress Carrie Fisher talking with the Prince of Wales at the Hackney Empire in London (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Carrie was 19 when she landed the role that would define her career, the same age as Reynolds when she appeared in Singin’ In The Rain opposite Gene Kelly.

Fisher said both overcame obstacles – saying Reynolds’ were “her husbands” while Carrie’s were drug issues and mental health problems – but “both overcame them very beautifully”.

While Fisher enjoyed  a loving relationship with his mother, Carrie was more distant, something her brother puts down to a lack of a father figure.

He said: “It’s typical and you could say it’s out of a textbook in some respects. I bonded with my mother, it’s not unusual that boys would bond with their mom and girls would bond with their dad – but guess what, there was no dad around.

“Carrie had a hard time, struggling because she wanted to bond with my dad but he was unavailable. ”

My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie And Debbie, is out in the UK now.

PA Media

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