Hundreds gathered in L.A. on March 25 to pay tribute to Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
Family, friends and fans joined in a heartfelt sendoff to celebrate the beautiful lives of two legends. A touching public memorial service was held at the Freedom Theater of Forest Lawn Cemetery Hollywood Hills, where the two are buried together.
The Star Wars’ actress died in December 27 at the age of 60, days after suffering a heart attack aboard a flight from London to L.A. Her 84 year-old mother died the next day after suffering a stroke.
The tribute was prepared by Carrie’s brother and Debbie’s surviving child, Todd Fisher. There was also a live streaming of the memorial on DebbieReynolds.com.
The memorial started with a military color guard for the Singin’ in the Rain icon, who had performed for the troops over the years. Debbie even made a number of trips to those serving in Korea in the 1950s.
When guests were seated in the auditorium, Todd went onstage to welcome local members of the Coast Guard who helped commence the memorial.
Todd revealed, “My mother would have liked that. This entire thing I’m calling a show, not a memorial … [because] she liked shows and parties.”
He continued, “[And Carrie] was always my princess. These are my girls.”
Todd also shared that his mom had said before that she didn’t want to live longer than her daughter, who had battled drug addiction and mental illness over the years. He likewise revealed that after Carrie died, Reynolds looked at her son “and asked permission to leave.”
“She closed her eyes and went to sleep. … It was a very peaceful exit that only my mother could have orchestrated. She was trained in Hollywood, where they teach you to make a great entrance and a great exit,” he told the guests.
There were numerous emotional moments during the tribute. One came after a video of Carrie in Star Wars was presented. Robot R2D2 came onstage in search of his princess. R2 made lamenting noises before proceeding to an empty chair.
The audiovisual then turned the focus on Debbie. Clips of her best dance moments from Singin’ in the Rain were played. The video was shown along with words from Carrie and Todd about her career and avid determination.
Debbie’s close friend, Ruta Lee, then came onstage to convey a poignant speech about her friend’s legacy. She later performed a song in honor of the actress whom she considered her sister.
Moreover, the memorial included some of the last footage ever shot of Debbie. It showed her talking about her painful meetings with injured soldiers in Korea. She also talked about the Thalians charity that she founded to help those with mental health issues and about her passion for dance.
Although James Blunt, a dear friend of Carrie’s, wasn’t in attendance, his hit song, You’re Beautiful, played over a montage of the actress-writer’s photos. The British singer also wrote a tribute song for Carrie. It was played later during the memorial service.
Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, was present, as was her dearly loved therapy dog, Gary. Carrie and Todd’s half-sisters, Joely and Tricia Fisher, also came with their mother, Connie Stevens, who was married to the late Eddie Fisher in the 1960s.