Singer Eddie Fisher, a 1950s teen heartthrob who had a storybook career and marriage to actress Debbie Reynolds, until both hit the rocks over an affair with Elizabeth Taylor, has died at 82, his family reported.
Daughter, Tricia Leigh Fisher of Los Angeles, told The Associated Press that he died Wednesday night (Sept. 22) at his home from complications caused by a hip operation.
“Late last evening the world lost a true America icon,” Fisher’s family said in a statement released by publicist British Reece. “One of the greatest voices of the century passed away. He was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch.”
Fisher was the king of pop in the early ’50s before Elvis Presley, and he and Reynolds became America’s sweetheart couple when they married in 1955.
They were the pop culture equivalent of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in terms of popularity and media attention.
They epitomized the World War II generation’s deal of home family and prosperity during the booming decade. The couple had two children, and daughter Carrie Fisher went on to stardom in her own right.
But the story book marriage would have a tragic ending.
One of Eddie Fisher’s best friends was producer Mike Todd who was married to then reigning screen queen Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1958, Todd was killed in a plane crash. Fisher rushed to Taylor’s side to console her and in a startling development, he became involved in an affair with the star and divorced Reynolds.
The scandal shocked the nation and marked the end of an era as sedate ’50s gave way to the go-go ’60s. He married Taylor in 1959, but the scandal also ruined Fisher’s singing career.
NBC cancelled Fisher’s television series in March 1959 and a year later his long-time record label, RCA Victor, dropped him.
Up until that time, he’d sold millions of records.
He had seventeen Top 10 songs between 1950 and 1956 and thirty-five in the Top 40, including “Thinking of You,” “Any Time,” “Oh, My Pa-pa,” “I’m Yours,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Lady of Spain” and “Count Your Blessings.”
In his later years, Fisher was confined to a wheelchair.
Fisher, the fourth of seven children, was born in Philadelphia to Russian-born Jewish immigrants Kate and Joseph Fisher. In all he was married five times, including a marriage to singer Connie Stevens, and had four children.
The death was first reported by Hollywood website deadline.com.