So much has been written about Carrie Fisher, her talent as an actress and as a writer, her openness about her addictions and mental disorders, her Princess Leia being a different role model for girls, and the way people who knew her regarded her as a friend, she was certainly much more than just a celebrity based solely on her ‘Royal Hollywood’ parentage. She convinced me, in my short time working her, that she was a warm and caring person who respected and loved her fans, traits she obviously got from her mother.
It was a Women’s Expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Carrie and her mother, Debbie Reynolds were the celebrity speakers, wrapping up a symposium of experts on various Women’s Topics. While the two of them had prepared a combined talk that fit in with the purpose of the Expo, it was evident that there was a lot of ad-libbing going on also. They were delightful, witty, very open, and educational. The rapport between mother and daughter showed they were much more than parent and child, they were also best of friends.
When they had finished their part of the program, they weren’t finished. Instead of disappearing upstage and going to their dressing room, they went downstage to greet the audience who were crowding the front of the stage. Both Carrie and Debbie sat on the edge and signed autographs, answered questions, told personal antidotes, laughed and talked with the women, many of whom had already been on their way out but stopped and came back to join in the fun. It was more of a group of old friends intermingling than it was two celebrities and their fans.
After quite a while, the Promoter had to break up this fun-fest. He went downstage and explained that the hall would have to be evacuated because it had to be changed over for another event. Reluctantly, the women left the hall and both Carrie and Debbie followed the crowd out. It took about an hour for us stagehands to break down the lights and sound and then we left. But when we walked out into the hallway, we got a surprise.
There, sitting in two chairs, was Carrie and Debbie, and they were surrounded with their fans. Both women were signing autographs, answering questions, telling personal antidotes, and laughing and talking with women that had been at the EXPO, and maybe a few who just happened to be walking outside and saw the commotion through the windows.
I have no idea how long these two stars held court. Their willingness to remain with the audience for that long a period of time was something I had never seen before or since. What a couple of gracious, warm, down-to-earth professionals. I have many memories of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but none have impressed me more than that impromptu love-fest at the Convention Center.
R.I.P. CARRIE FISHER
And now it was just announced that Debbie Reynolds has been rushed to the hospital because of a stroke. Best wishes and speedy recovery, Debbie Reynolds. While we understand the great shock and lose of the death of your daughter, please don’t follow her yet.