No sooner had we accepted the loss of Carrie Fisher than her mother, Debbie Reynolds suffered a massive stroke and died earlier today.
Some say it was Debbie’s own fragile condition, a year of many health problems; that this was the final straw. Others say it was a mother’s broken heart, and that her grief consumed her.
This has been a year of improbable situations and unfathomable grief. That a mother should die some 36 hours after her daughter is the stuff of Greek tragedy. But that it happened to two icons, people who we grew up with, admired and connected with in a year where there has been so much loss, is just one more awful truth we are now forced to accept.
Debbie Reynolds represented another time; the glamour days of Hollywood. A consummate performer whose work has been part of the fabric for many people of a certain age; an indelible imprint on what was such an integral part of 1950s America. But that her fame and popularity spread for decades after was testament to the true nature of her greatness. That she sustained all manner of hardship and disappointments and survived to succeed and came out the other end, gives some indication what a truly extraordinary person was in our midst. What a tragic double loss it has been for us this week.
So as a reminder of that larger-than-life personality; the woman whose daughter became a symbol of another generation, here is an interview conducted by NPR’s Scott Simon for Weekend All Things Considered from March 30, 2013. The occasion is the publication of her memoirs, Unsinkable. Her interview is down-to-earth and honest, unflinching. Just the way Debbie Reynolds was. Just the way Carrie Fisher was. Further evidence the apple doesn’t often fall far from the tree.
RIP: Debbie Reynolds – one of a kind.