Eddie Fisher remembered for pop songs, movies, and marriages
Eddie Fisher sold millions of records in the 1950s with 32 hit songs. He married five times, including to movie stars Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. Fisher died Wednesday and is survived by two daughters who followed him into acting.
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Fisher's career never recovered from the notoriety. He married actress Connie Stevens, and they had two daughters. Another divorce followed. He married twice more.Skip to next paragraph
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Fisher's romantic messages resonated with young girls in the pre-Elvis period. Publicist-manager Milton Blackstone helped the publicity by hiring girls to scream and swoon at Fisher's appearances.
After getting out of the Army in 1953 following a two-year hitch, hit records, his own TV show and the headlined marriage to Reynolds made Fisher a top star. The couple costarred in a 1956 romantic comedy, "Bundle of Joy," that capitalized on their own parenthood.
In 1960 he played a role in "Butterfield 8," for which Taylor won an Academy Award. But that film marked the end of his movie career.
After being discarded by Taylor, Fisher became the butt of comedians' jokes. He began relying on drugs to get through performances, and his bookings dwindled. He later said he had made and spent $20 million during his heyday, and much of it went to gambling and drugs.
In 1983, Fisher attempted a full-scale comeback. But his old fans had been turned off by the scandals, and the younger generation had been turned on by rock. The tour was unsuccessful.
He had added to his notoriety that year with an autobiography, "Eddie: My Life, My Loves." Of his first three marriages, he wrote he had been bullied into marriage with Reynolds, whom he didn't know well; became nursemaid as well as husband to Taylor, and was reluctant to marry Connie Stevens but she was pregnant and he "did the proper thing."
Another autobiography, "Been There, Done That," published in 1999, was even more searing. He called Reynolds "self-centered, totally driven, insecure, untruthful, phony." He claimed he abandoned his career during the Taylor marriage because he was too busy taking her to emergency rooms and cleaning up after her pets, children and servants. Both ex-wives were furious, and Carrie Fisher threatened to change her name to Reynolds.
At 47, Fisher married a 21-year-old beauty queen, Terry Richard. The marriage ended after 10 months. His fifth marriage, to Betty Lin, a Chinese-born businesswoman, lasted longer than any of the others. Fisher had two children with Reynolds: Carrie and Todd; and two girls with Stevens: Joely and Tricia.