On the eve of the dual public memorial for his mother and sister, Todd Fisher described the final moments of film icon Debbie Reynolds, who died a day after his actress-author sibling, Carrie Fisher.
Taking the opportunity to correct a widely reported misconception, Fisher, 59, told “Entertainment Tonight” Wednesday that his mother did not die “of a broken heart.” He said, “I actually contradicted it. I said, ‘No, that is not true. She didn’t die of a broken heart — she went to be with Carrie. She said those words to me.’ ”
Reynolds suffered a stroke and died at 84 on Dec. 28, a day after Carrie Fisher died at 60 of cardiac arrest.
Todd Fisher recalled that the day his sister died, he and their mother “were talking that night and I didn’t know what was happening, but she was setting me up for her leaving the planet. And she really just said to me, ‘You know, I know that was really hard on you losing your sister.’ [I told her] ‘Carrie was there holding my hand when I took my first steps. I have film of that and it will be in the memorial.’ And when I was editing that, it ripped my heart out.”
Reynolds, he recalled, said she understood his grief, but also cautioned him, saying, “ ‘I don’t know for sure when I [will] go.’ . . . I was like, ‘Well, look, fortunately we don’t have to face that right now, you know, we just face this.’ But then she was like asking my permission. I [said], ‘You’re going to be OK, everything is under control.’ And she starts running me back through her estate, which we had done many times. ‘You’re going to take my dog,’ and, you know, all these little instructions.”
The next morning, Fisher recalled, “We had a little further dialogue, and she chose to leave the planet in front of my face, two feet away. If you had told me this story and I wasn’t there, I would have a very hard time believing what I saw. But she literally looked at me and said, ‘I want to go be with Carrie’ and closed her eyes and went to sleep.” He added, “It looked like she asked permission to leave, told me she was going to leave, told me she loves me, closed her eyes and went to sleep. . . . That’s kind of a magical, beautiful thing.”
DebbieReynolds.com will live-stream the memorial from a 1,200-seat theater at Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s Hollywood Hills location on Saturday, March 25, at 4 p.m. Eastern time.