October 12, 2010

Eddie Fisher, Singing Sensation and Actor, Dies

Fisher recorded over 30 hit records, made numerous TV appearances and achieved notoriety as husband of Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor.

Eddie Fisher, the singer, television host and actor who rose to fame as a pop crooner in the 1950s, and achieved notoriety as the husband of actresses Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, died September 22, 2010, as his home in Berkeley, California. He was 82.

According to new reports, the cause was complications following hip surgery.

Although his fame dimmed over the decades, Fisher was a phenomenon in the ’50s, when he sold millions of records with more than 30 hit songs, including “I’m Yours,” “Thinking of You,” “Any Time,” Oh, My Pa-pa,” Wish You Were Here,” Lady of Spain” and “Count Your Blessings.”

When he and Reynolds married in 1955, they were known as “America’s favorite couple.” The pair had two children: Carrie, who became an actress and writer; and Todd, a producer, editor and actor.

Todd Fisher was named for Eddie Fisher’s best friend, Mike Todd, a successful producer who was married to actress Elizabeth Taylor. When Mike Todd died in a 1958 airplane crash, Fisher comforted Taylor and eventually the fell in love. When he divorced Reynolds and married Taylor in 1959, the scandal made international headlines.

Further scandal came five years later, when Taylor left Fisher for Richard Burton, her co-star in the ill-fated historical epic, Cleopatra.

In 1967, Fisher married actress Connie Stevens, with whom he had two daughters, Joely and Tricia, both of whom became actresses. The marriage ended in 1969. He married twice more before his death.

He was born Edwin Jack Fisher on August 10, 1928, in Philadelphia, one of seven children of a Jewish grocer. At age 15 he was singing on Philadelphia radio.

After moving to New York, Fisher drew the attention of by comedian Eddie Cantor, who helped advance the young singer's career.

Following military service in the Army, Fisher hit it big as a singer and also broke into television, beginning with the variety show Coke Time, sponsored by Coca-Cola.

He later appeared on such programs as The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Comedy Hour, The Ed Sullivan Show and more.

Fisher also appeared in the feature films Bundle of Joy (with Reynolds) and Butterfield 8 (with Taylor).

Following the end of his marriage to Taylor, Fisher endured trouble with gambling, drugs and alcohol.

Later in life he published a pair of autobiographies in which he was candid about — and critical of — his former wives.

His survivors include his children.

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