×

Friends, Family and Fans Pay Tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at Hollywood Memorial Service

A throng of friends, family and fans paid tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at a memorial service on Saturday at Forest Lawn cemetery.

The tribute spanned decades of Hollywood history, with a hip-hop version of “Singin’ in the Rain,” scores of candid family photographs, and an appearance by R2D2.

“My mother didn’t like funerals and memorials,” said Todd Fisher, who organized the tribute to his mother and sister. “She liked shows.”

Fans started lining up outside the Hall of Liberty at 7 a.m., seeking to pay their respects one last time. Kenneth Parkhurst, 43, drove down from his home in the Sacramento area.

Todd Fisher
Debbie Reynolds’ son and Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd, embraces R2D2 at his mother and sister’s memorial (Photo by Stewart Cook/Variety/REX/Shutterstock).

“I have a life-size Yoda at my home. ‘Star Wars’ is part of who I am,” Parkhurst said, adding that he found it a touching send-off. “Everyone knows Carrie as a princess. You got to learn about Carrie as a person.”

“Carrie’s life would never be the same,” he said. “Our friendship never changed.”Gavin de Becker, who was also part of the Beverly Hills group, delivered deeply heartfelt remarks in which he remembered Fisher’s electric presence as a teenager.

“We all had a crush on Carrie like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. They would go down the hallway together singing “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” her life was touched with glamour, he said.

“Carrie’s life was a walk with great people,” he said. “Her parties were legendary.”

De Becker also noted Fisher’s habit of revealing herself, warts and all, and how it made her a symbol of acceptance and of women’s power.

She showed, he said, “that it’s possible to be dignified, and even elegant, in that mess.”

Reynolds’ friends also spoke about her lifelong love of dance and her support for charities. Of special note was her support for the mental health of returning veterans, a cause that arose from her USO tours during the Korean War.

“I have great respect for Debbie Reynolds. I felt a kinship with her personally,” said Leytes Styles, a fan from Simi Valley who showed up at 7:30 a.m. for the 1 p.m. service.

Styles and her friend were lined up alongside “Star Wars” fans. “You had both generations,” she said. “It was beautifully done.”

Mary Valenti, of Tampa, Fla., was on vacation with her family, and came to the service straight from the airport.

“As a girl with five brothers, Princess Leia was my hero growing up,” Valenti said. “She was everything to me.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • The Old Beverly Hills Post Office'Wallis

    The Wallis Cancels April and May Programming in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

    The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has cancelled its upcoming programming for the months of April and May in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The performing arts center located in Beverly Hills had already wiped its calendar and closed its premises from public access for the remainder of March, but the center made [...]

  • Watch Rosie O'Donnell and Elton John

    Watch Rosie O'Donnell, Elton John Accept Their GLAAD Media Awards

    The GLAAD Media Awards were supposed to happen Thursday night in New York City, but the LGBTQ media watchdog group canceled the 31st annual festivities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, GLAAD doesn’t want the day to go unnoticed, so the organization has released exclusive video to Variety of Elton John accepting the [...]

  • Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park

    Tyra Banks Postpones ModelLand Theme Park Opening

    Tyra Banks has put smizing on hold. The “America’s Next Top Model” host is postponing the opening of ModelLand, a theme park opening in Santa Monica, Calif. A new launch date has not been announced. “In light of the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and California Governor Gavin Newsom, we have decided to postpone the [...]

  • AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    AIDS/LifeCycle Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    This year’s AIDS/LifeCycle has been canceled. The annual bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles is considered the largest single HIV/AIDS fundraising event in the world and benefits the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF). Last year’s ride raised more than $16 million. Past participants have included Rep. Adam [...]

  • Variety's Power of Women gift bag

    Variety's Power of Women Event Postponed

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Variety, the iconic entertainment business news media company, will postpone its high-profile Variety Power of Women: New York from April 3 to July 9. The accompanying magazine that includes the New York Women’s Impact Report will publish on July 7. Variety’s Power of Women events in Los Angeles and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content