POP singer Eddie Fisher, whose voice brought him a devoted following of teenage girls in the early 1950s before marriage scandals overshadowed his fame, has died at age 82.
He passed away on Wednesday night at his home in Berkeley of complications from hip surgery. “The world lost a true America icon,” Fisher’s family said. “One of the greatest voices of the century passed away.”
In the early 50s, Fisher sold millions of records with 32 hit songs including Thinking of You, Any Time, and Oh, My Pa-pa, but his fame was enhanced by his 1955 marriage to movie darling Debbie Reynolds. They had two children.
Their daughter Carrie Fisher became a film star herself in the first three Star Wars films as Princess Leia.
When Eddie Fisher’s best friend, producer Mike Todd, was killed in a 1958 plane crash, Fisher comforted the widow, Elizabeth Taylor. Amid sensationalist headlines, Fisher divorced Reynolds and married Taylor in 1959.
The Fisher-Taylor marriage lasted only five years. She fell in love with co-star Richard Burton during the Rome filming of Cleopatra, divorced Fisher and married Burton. 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.
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 (€15m) and much of it went on gambling and drugs.
He added to his notoriety with a searing autobiography, Been There, Done That, published in 1999. He called Reynolds “self-centred, totally driven, insecure, untruthful, phoney.”
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.
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