A good biography does much more than provide the basic facts found on any general internet search. It introduces the reader to the real person that is sometimes hidden behind history and the PR machine.
I loved this book. As much as I knew about Ms. Fisher before I read it, I learned even more. She was intelligent, incredibly funny, smartass, loyal to those she loved, and vulnerable. What made this one special was that it showed her humanity. It is a complete picture of a woman who has inspired generations of fans, women, and those living with mental illness to not be afraid of being who they are.
Love can be a strange thing. We may think we know who we want to spend our lives with. Then the right person walks through the door and everything we think we know goes out the door.
In the classic 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor, Tammy ( the late Debbie Reynolds) is a girl from the country with a big heart, but little experience in the world. After she saves Peter Brent (the late Leslie Nielsen) from a plane crash, Tammy’s grandfather is sent to jail. With no one to care for her, she is sent to live with Peter’s family. Though she is akin to a fish out of water, her time with the Brents changes them. Tammy also falls in love with Peter, but he has a fiancé.
I think from the 2021 perspective, this particular movie may seem a little quaint and old fashioned. Yes, it is entertaining, but it is also very fitting for the late 1950’s.
As we get older, certain books take us back to our childhood and simpler times.
In 1973, the beloved children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White was made into an animated film starring the late Debbie Reynolds as the titular spider. Through her wisdom and a flair for marketing, Charlotte is able to save a pig from ending up on the dinner table.
There is something magical about this adaptation, no matter how old you are. The lessons apply to young and old, but are couched in a way that does not feel like a lesson. It feels like a gentle maternal nudge in the right direction is that neither forced or sudden.
My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
Two years ago today, we lost one of the brightest lights in our world: actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
A day later, her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds also departed this world.
Both women dealt with troubles that would have sent lesser women into a state of lifelong emotional turmoil. But both came out of their troubles stronger, wiser and funnier.
Carrie is best remembered for playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, though she had a long and varied career. She was also a writer and openly spoke of her issues with drugs and mental illness, encouraging others to do the same. For speaking openly about her battles with mental illness alone, she will always be one of my personal heroes.
Debbie Reynolds burst onto the screen and into our public consciousness in the 1952 film, Singin’ in the Rain.
There are some people in this world, who when they die, leave a cultural mark that will forever be with us. Both Debbie and Carrie left those marks that will be with us long after this generation has moved onto the next world.
The allure of having magical powers is an idea that human beings have been considering and writing about for eons. The question is, if these powers did exist, would they be used for evil or for good?
In the 1998 Disney television movie, Halloweentown, Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) is a young witch on the verge of her 13th birthday. But she must be trained by her 13th birthday or lose her powers. Marnie’s grandmother Aggie (the late Debbie Reynolds) is eager to step in as her granddaughter’s teacher. Aggie lives in Halloweentown and visits her family in the mortal world as often as she can. But this visit from Aggie is more than an ordinary visit. A dark force is threatening Halloweentown and it’s up to Marnie to stop it.
Even for a Disney channel television movie, it’s not bad. It has enough Halloween in it to make the kids watching jump out of their seat a little and the narrative has enough meat in it to entertain even the most skeptical of adults.
In December of 2016, when movie fans across the world were grieving the loss of iconic mother/daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother was grieving for his mother and sister.
Recently Todd released a memoir about his life with Carrie and Debbie, entitled My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie. Born to Debbie and her first husband, Eddie Fisher, Todd and Carrie was raised among the whose who of the golden age of cinema. While Debbie’s career and personal life had quite a few ups and downs (two more marriages that went bust and financial struggles), Carrie had her own issues. While she gained fame playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise and later became a respected writer, she also famously tussled with mental health and chemical dependency issues.
I loved this book. It has humor, it has heart and it feels very personal. In addition to Todd’s memories, the book also contains anecdotes from Carrie and Debbie, in addition to family photos that the public has not been previously been privy to.
I feel like this is his way of saying his final goodbye to his mother and sister, while remembering the good times. For fans of Carrie and Debbie, this book allows them to do the same.
Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.
I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.
In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.
Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.
Cleopatra is one of those polarizing figures in history. From a certain perspective, one could argue that she was a strong female leader in a world where men normally ruled. On the other hand, her time in power was not scandal free.
In the 1963 film, Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor plays the eponymous queen. Rex Harrison is Julius Caesar and Richard Burton is Mark Anthony. The film starts with the initial introduction of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and ends years later with Cleopatra’s suicide after the death of Mark Anthony.
I have complicated feelings about this film. One hand, it is as historically accurate as films of this nature can be from this period (including the fact that Arab/African characters, including Cleopatra herself, are played by white actors). The other thing is that this film will forever be associated with the Eddie Fisher/Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton scandal. At the time of the making of the film, Elizabeth Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher, who left his first wife, Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. By the time filming was complete, Eddie and Elizabeth’s relationship was at an end and Elizabeth was headed toward her next husband, Richard Burton.
Do I recommend it? Well it is super long and it is, for lack of a better term a spectacle that I am not quite sure is 100% historically accurate. The answer is maybe.
While 2016 had it’s fair share of heartbreaking Hollywood losses, none felt harder or more poignant than the death of the legendary mother daughter Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher last week. While each was known for a brilliant career in her own right, together, they represented the best and worst of Hollywood.
Words, words, words... well said Hamlet! A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion!