Crooner Eddie Fisher Dies At 82

Eddie Fisher, who gained fame crooning love songs to the bobby soxers who loved him in the early '50s, died Wednesday at 82. Perhaps overshadowing his singing career were his marriages and break-ups with Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor.

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A major star from the 1950s has died. Eddie Fisher was once called the curly hair darling of the jukebox set. He was a popular singer and a regular on radio and TV, but Fisher is perhaps best remembered for his marriages and breakups with Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor.

NPR's Elizabeth Blair has this look back.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: Opinions about Eddie Fisher ran the spectrum, whether it was about his personal life or his talent.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Walking Behind You")

Mr. EDDIE FISHER (Singer): (Singing) 'Cause I'll always love you wherever you go.

BLAIR: One critic called his voice fervently romantic; another, schmaltzy. But the bobby soxers loved him and his records were best sellers.

(Soundbite of song, "Wish You Were Here")

Mr. FISHER: (Singing) Someone's painting the leaves all wrong this year. Wish you were here.

BLAIR: Eddie Fisher was born in Philadelphia, one of seven children. His father was a grocer. Fisher sang in a synagogue, played in nightclubs and a resort in the Catskills. The story goes that a celebrity publicist set out to manufacture Eddie Fisher's popularity, partly by paying fans to cheer at his shows. It worked. Eddie Fisher was a teen idol in the 1950s. He married screen darling Debbie Reynolds, the Jennifer Aniston of her day. The two starred in the movie "Bundle of Joy."

(Soundbite of movie, "Bundle of Joy")

Mr. FISHER: (as Dan Merlin) I think your comeback is the worst I've ever seen.

Ms. DEBBIE REYNOLDS (Actress): (as Polly Parish) Would it interest you to know I'm not the mother?

Mr. FISHER: (as Dan Merlin) Denying your own child. That, to me, is the lowest thing of all.

BLAIR: Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had two children, but the marriage didn't last.

Ms. CARRIE FISHER (Actress): My mother and father were the Brad and Jennifer of their generation.

BLAIR: Actor Carrie Fisher of "Star Wars" fame talked to NPR in 2008 about her parents' split after her father began a romance with Elizabeth Taylor, who he later married.

Ms. FISHER: My mother got left by my father, Brad Pitt, if only, for Angelina Jolie or Elizabeth Taylor.

BLAIR: Like his daughter Carrie, Eddie Fisher struggled with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life.

Ms. FISHER: My father who I call Puff Daddy because he smokes four joints a day.

BLAIR: In a statement, Carrie Fisher said my Puff Daddy passed away Wednesday night. She added, he was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch.

Eddie Fisher died in Berkeley, California, from complications from a recent hip surgery. He was 82.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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