The public event at Forest Lawn cemetery featured music by ‘Star Wars’ composer John Williams and a new song by family friend James Blunt.
Dancers, Dan Aykroyd and Star Wars’ R2-D2 were among those who took the stage at Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher’s public memorial service, held Saturday afternoon at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn — Hollywood Hills.
“Better late than never, as they say,” said Todd Fisher, Reynolds’ son and Carrie Fisher’s brother, of the service for the women who passed in December. Equipped with smiles and punchlines, he explained to attendees that the public event “is a show and not a memorial because my mother didn’t like memorials and funerals.”
Even more so, the service was meant to be a celebration of the women’s legacies both on and off the screen. “You are all her people — not just her extended family, but her close friends and fans,” Todd Fisher said of the “living room” experience. “We would be sharing these same kinds of films and photographs, telling the same stories. … You’re gonna see a lot of things you’ve never, ever seen before.”
The celebration included montages — set to music by Star Wars composer John Williams — that highlighted each woman’s storied film career, as well as intimate family photos, interview footage and their humanitarian work.
Fisher’s former beau Dan Aykroyd took the podium to recall their friendship. “I once saved her life, applying the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge a Brussel sprout, and if I had been with our beloved showboat, I might have been able to save her again,” he said. “I know these women will have a song for us when we arrive at the crossing. After all, we’re only seconds behind.”
Reynolds’ longtime pal Ruta Lee also expanded on Reynolds’ humanitarian efforts toward helping veterans and those with mental-health issues, especially her work in establishing The Thalians. “She was, without a doubt, the most generous human being,” said Lee. “She gave her heart to everything.” Lee then sang the standards “I’m Glad There Is You (In This World of Ordinary People),” “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “You’ll Never Know” and led attendees in a standing ovation for Reynolds and Fisher “for a life well lived, a job well done.”
Though tearful at times, the tone of the 90-minute ceremony was that of a joyful celebration. Star Wars’ R2-D2 even came onstage for a few beeps.
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