Fisher, Reynolds lauded at memorial service

Fans at the joint gravesite for Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, following a public memorial.
Fans at the joint gravesite for Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, following a public memorial.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Mother-daughter actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, who died just a day apart in December, were remembered by fans and friends last Saturday at a public memorial service in the Hollywood Hills.

Comedian Dan Aykroyd, who was briefly engaged to Fisher in the 1970s before she wed singer Paul Simon, and actor Griffin Dunne, her close friend, paid tribute to the actress best known as Star Wars' Princess Leia at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where the pair are interred in a joint grave.

Aykroyd recalled how he once saved Fisher's life, applying the Heimlich manoeuvre to dislodge a brussels sprout.

"If I had been with our beloved showboat, I might have been able to save her again," he lamented.

Fisher, 60, died on Dec 27, four days after suffering a heart attack on a flight from Britain where she had been shooting the third season of the British comedy Catastrophe.

A day later, Reynolds, 84, who won moviegoers' hearts in Hollywood musicals, suffered a stroke and died.

The memorial featured home videos and photo montages set to music, as well as performances by singer James Blunt, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio.

Blunt, a close friend who stayed at Fisher's while making his 2004 debut album, Back To Bedlam, debuted a tribute song titled I'm Here To Let You Go. There was even an onstage appearance by R2D2, the Star Wars robot.

Hundreds of fans lined up for hours to say a final goodbye. Many placed flowers at the grave.

Fisher's brother, Todd, who arranged the memorial, said: "This entire thing I'm calling a show, not a memorial. Because my mother didn't like memorials or funerals. She liked shows and parties. She also loved her people and you are all her people - not just her close friends, but her extended family, her fans."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Fisher, Reynolds lauded at memorial service'. Print Edition | Subscribe