Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds: Fans say goodbye at public service

Fans gathered to honour Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher at a public memorial service in Los Angeles on Saturday, three months after the actresses died.

The mother and daughter were remembered in the 1,200-seat theatre at Hollywood’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

The event included a tribute song by James Blunt and a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.

Singin’ in the Rain’s Reynolds, 84, and Star Wars actress Fisher, 60, died within a day of each other in December.

Reynolds starred in a string of classic Hollywood films in the 1950s and 1960s, while her daughter was best-known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films.

“There were no finer people that I have ever known than my mother and sister,” Todd Fisher, who organised the service, said on stage.

He said he arranged the two-hour event as a show rather than a memorial, because it what his mother would have wanted as “she hated memorials”.

It included dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Studio performing a tribute to Singin’ In The Rain.

James Blunt was friends with Carrie Fisher and recorded part of his debut album in her bathroom. His tribute song was accompanied by a montage of photographs of the pair.

Todd Fisher called it a “beautiful song to Carrie”, adding that “it might rip your heart out”.

Actor Dan Ackroyd, her former fiance, was among speakers, and told how he once saved her life when she nearly choked on a Brussels sprout.

“If I’d been with our beloved showboat [when she died], I might have been able to save her again,” he said.

Todd Fisher described the moments before his mother died: “She literally asked permission and said she wanted to be with Carrie.

“She closed her eyes and went to sleep. It was a very peaceful exit that only my mother could orchestrate. It was a beautiful exit.”

Carrie Fisher died aged 60 on 27 December, days after suffering a cardiac arrest. Her mother died a day later after a suspected stroke.

Earlier Mr Fisher said the public was invited to the memorial “because that’s how my mother would want it”.

He added that she was “very connected to her fans and felt they were a part of her”.

The public ceremony follows a private memorial service, which took place in January and was attended by stars including Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow and Meg Ryan.

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