Carrie died too soon — she was just 60 years old — on December 27, 2016. Compounding the tragedy, her mother Debbie had a stroke after hearing about her daughter’s death, and died the very next day.
Baby Carrie Fisher: Eddie & Debbie’s Bundle of Joy
As a TV guest, Debbie Reynolds has teamed on occasion with spouse Eddie Fisher. But this is the first time that the parents of Carrie Frances Fisher have been full-fledged co-stars.
Ironically, the two are here parents only by mistaken identity. As a humble department-store employee, Debbie gets stuck with a foundling. She’s assumed to be the little charmer’s mother, and when the boss’s son (Eddie) takes an interest in her “sad” case, he’s tabbed as father. It sounds risque, but it’s innocent family fun, with songs.
If “perfect” was just the word for Eddie’s and Debbie’s marriage, how can they ever describe little Miss Carrie Frances Fisher?
by Pauline Townsend – Radio TV Mirror (April 1957)
You never saw a happier baby. And not because there are so many who love her, so many who were wishing her well, even in the months before she was born. Little Carrie Frances Fisher could never in the whole, wide world meet all the people who regard her with such personal interest and real affection. So far, her own world is a small one, but very warm, secure and satisfying.
Carrie knows her mother, who took her to her breast when Carrie was hungry, those first weeks before she was weaned. She knows her daddy, who has put her against his broad, strong shoulder and patted her gently from time to time, during those nursing periods, to “burp” out the air bubbles, and make room for milk “to grow on.”
Yes, she knows the mother and daddy who hold her so tenderly, look at her so adoringly. But she doesn’t know they are famous. She only knows they are hers.
She doesn’t know that “mother” is Debbie Reynolds, movie star, admired the world over. Or that “daddy” is Eddie Fisher, idol of millions because of his very special gift of song.
Not for years will she hear of the romance that filled the headlines until Debbie and Eddie were married, on September 26, 1955. And she can never really know all the excitement her own arrival created, last October 21. But, in a way, perhaps she guessed how very much she was wanted — for little Carrie Frances arrived two weeks earlier than she was expected!
Young father-to-be Eddie had been so solicitous, mother-to-be Debbie had been so careful, during those months of pregnancy. Everything had been so right, from the day they spoke their vows together. But they knew their married life was going to be even more wonderful, when they could hold their first-born in their arms. They wanted nothing to mar that moment.
For Debbie, her pregnancy was a happy time, unmarred by illness or fear. The delivery itself proved to be comparatively easy, when the time came. But the time came at Carrie’s choosing — not Debbie’s and Eddie’s.
Debbie and Eddie were weekending in Palm Springs when they knew that the time was at hand. Fortunately, their obstetrician. Dr. Charles C. Levy, was in the desert resort town with them. Eddie had been foresighted enough to insist that they not leave town without him.
A little after midnight, on October 21, the excited parents-to-be climbed into Dr. Levy’s car and, with the doctor at the wheel, made their way to St. Joseph’s, one hundred and fifty miles away. Eddie held Debbie’s hand, and she managed frequent happy smiles to encourage him.
Early reports said they “raced,” which wasn’t true. Debbie was comfortable and there was plenty of time, so they drove at safe, normal speeds all the way. They made excellent time, however, since the Los Angeles to Palm Springs highway is not jammed with traffic at that time of night. It was just four A.M. — on Carrie’s birthday — when they arrived in Burbank.
Eddie stayed with his wife almost until the deadline, and the awed excitement and tremendous surge of love they shared in those two hours of closeness is something neither of them will ever forget.
By the time Debbie was rolled into the delivery room — some friends and family had gathered in the hospital waiting room. Debbie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Francis Reynolds. (Eddie’s father and mother were both in the East, and he called them as soon as he could speak coherently after Carrie made her debut.)
Monte Proser, producer of the Coke Time shows. Eddie’s press secretary, Gloria Luckenbill, and her husband Phil. Eddie’s boyhood friends, Bernie Rich and Joey Foreman — now actors in Hollywood.
Eddie spoke with his pals, smiled in response to their murmured encouragement, but he didn’t really hear much of what was said. His thoughts were with Debbie, and their child.
When Dr. Levy appeared in the waiting room in his surgical gown, Eddie leaped up, his face going white. “Not yet,” the surgeon told him, “but it’s getting close to the time.” He told Eddie that now he could go up and wait outside the delivery room on the fifth floor.
Eddie heard his daughter’s first cry at exactly 12:40 P.M. Five minutes later, he was holding a tiny, blanketed — and noisy — bundle in his arms. With something akin to awe, his eyes filling, he looked into the little face.
After a moment, the baby quieted and opened her eyes. How little she is, he thought, how sweet. What was eating those guys, anyway, the ones who said that all new babies looked like wrinkled old men? Not his baby, not Debbie’s. She was . . . she was beautiful.
The white-masked nurse held out her arms for the child, and headed for the nursery. As they disappeared behind a heavy sound-proof door, Carrie was again kicking and crying lustily.
Dazed from the impact of his first few moments of fatherhood, Eddie didn’t hear the rubber-tired approach of the hospital cart tmtil it was almost upon him. “Hi,” a small, weary but exultant voice said, and he wheeled to see his wife. Debbie
was pale from her ordeal but smiling. “Their embrace was wordless. Their emotions were too strong — just then — for words.
Their days in the hospital were a blur of almost miraculous happiness for Debbie. She had a brief glimpse of Carrie before the baby was carried from the delivery room, enough to know that she was “perfect” — and perfectly beautiful. Debbie was absolutely triumphant late in the afternoon of Carrie’s first day, when mother and child met for a longer time and Debbie discovered that she was going to be able to nurse her child.
Eddie had his triumphs, too, as he brought Debbie’s family and all their closest friends, one or two at a time, to visit the hospital, and admire the miraculous new creature behind the glass wall of the nursery.
Bringing Debbie and Carrie home was even better. After Carrie had cozied up in her ruffled bassinette and popped off to sleep as though she already knew that everything here was going to be all right, Eddie sat by Debbie’s bed in the big master bedroom and they talked quietly and with full hearts of the new dimension in their lives.
They would not plan for her, just yet, they decided. No important decisions would be made about her future until Carrie herself was big enough to have a voice in her own affairs. They would just see to it that she had a happy, healthy start.
And, ultimately, a brother, a sister. They had always said they wanted a big family. Now they would have to — for Carrie’s sake. It would not be fair to bring her up as an only child. As it turned out, Debbie continued wearing her pretty maternity clothes for so long after Carrie’s birth, she started premature rumors that she was already pregnant again!
Debbie has always been a budget-wise bride. Eddie, not too long out of bachelorhood, is still inclined to spend with an open hand. But Debbie wisely says nothing as Eddie continues to bring new gifts home for their first baby.
Friends and fans have presented Carrie with everything from a real diamond ring to a “mink toothbrush.” Eddie’s own specialty has proved to be toys — including a stuffed elephant so big it will be years before Carrie can cuddle up to it.
The stream of gifts will eventually taper off to a more sensible trickle. Eddie and Debbie are fully aware that, under the circumstances, their baby could easily be spoiled. They plan to watch this carefully, to bring up a sweet, sunny-natured little girl. But loving isn’t spoiling, and Carrie will always have more than enough of that to fill her heart.
Smiling up at them, she seems to know this now, perhaps even sensing instinctively that her happy security is all part of the great love her parents shared before she was born.
Someday, she’ll know the story of Eddie Fisher’s and Debbie Reynolds’ romance, as the whole world shared it. Someday, perhaps, when she’s beginning to dream of romance for herself, in the misty future.
Already, Carrie has a date for some ‘steen years from now. The day before she was born, Bernie and Margie Rich had their own first child — a boy. Next day, when Carrie herself was born, she received a telegram signed by the very new Michael Lewis Rich. It read: “Please save the first dance for me.”
But Michael will just have to take his turn with all the others who loved Carrie even before they saw her. Right now, she belongs to Debbie and Eddie. And they belong to Carrie. Together they are a family. And that’s happiness plus.
Fishers’ Baby Early (October 22, 1956)
The baby expected by crooner Eddie Fisher and his actress wife, Debbie Reynolds, arrived almost three weeks ahead of schedule. The 6-pound, 12-ounce daughter was born Sunday in St Joseph Hospital after the parents had made a hectic, 120-mile dash by car from Palm Springs.
Eddie Fisher “recovering” (October 26, 1956)
Baby Carrie Fisher on the Christmas card (December 22, 1956)
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher have added something new this year, and their card proclaims the glad tidings — a big Santa blowing a bugle, with a banner from “Eddie, Carrie and Debbie.”
Bouncing beauty named Carrie Fisher (December 23, 1956)
The most disrupting influence in staid Beverly Hills these days is a bouncing beauty named CARRIE FISHER, aged six weeks. Carrie, as devotees of America’s sweethearts know, is the firstborn of DEBBIE and EDDIE FISHER and has caused lots of commotion in filmland.
The mailman staggers daily to the Fisher home with bundles of presents for the youngster, and sight-seeing buses pause outside the home of the young lady. “Most of the gifts come from married couples and older people,” Debbie reports. “One 78-year-old woman even sent an embroidered white dress she made. I’m going to save the thousands of cards and paste them in a scrapbook to show her when she’s a teenager,” Eddie adds.
Carrie Fisher gets a baby brother
Todd Fisher was born on February 24, 1958