Carrie Fisher's Musical Connections, From Mother Debbie Reynolds to Ex Paul Simon
Carrie Fisher, the legendary actress of stage and screen best known for her iconic starring role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series, died on Tuesday (Dec. 27), four days after suffering a heart attack on an L.A.-bound flight. She was 60 years old.
While Fisher's film and theater work occasionally involved singing -- one of her earliest roles came at age 15 in the 1973 Broadway revival of musical Irene, she sang an untitled "Life Day" theme in 1978's infamous Star Wars Holiday Special and she even landed a Grammy nod once in 2010 (though it was for Best Spoken Word Album, for the audiobook adaptation of memoir Wishful Drinking) -- her own career was mostly kept separate from the music industry. However, Fisher was tied to music throughout her life, due to her myriad relationships (professional, personal, familial and otherwise) with numerous fixtures of the pop and rock worlds.
Here are some of the artists with strong connections to Fisher's life and work.
Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
The parents of Carrie Fisher were no strangers to the pop charts. Though father Eddie Fisher's recording career mostly predated the Billboard Hot 100, he enjoyed a number of smash hits in the early '50s, including "Wish You Were Here," "Oh! My Pa-Pa" and "I Need You Now." And mother Debbie Reynolds, whose career was launched by her starring role in the legendary 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain, scored a major pop hit of her own in 1957, with the Oscar-nominated "Tammy," from the Reynolds-starring comedy Tammy and the Bachelor. Fisher and Reynolds divorced amidst tabloid scandal in 1959; Fisher died of complications stemming from hip surgery in 2010.
Perhaps the musician with whom Fisher is most commonly associated is Paul Simon, the singer-songwriter and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, having been inducted as both a solo artist and as half of Simon & Garfunkel. Simon and Fisher had an on-and-off relationship that spanned decades, and they were married for nearly a year in the mid '80s, continuing to date even after their 1984 divorce. Fisher appeared in the music video for Simon's Hearts and Bones ballad "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War," and is also said to have inspired the album's title track. "It was very painful to not be able to make it work," she said to The New York Times in 2012 of her romance with Simon. "We had a good time together when we did."
Fisher co-starred in the 1978 NBC TV movie Ringo, a vanity project starring the Funny Beatle as both a lightly fictionalized version of himself, and his entirely fictionalized half-brother, named "Ognir Rrats." Fisher appeared as Marquine, girlfriend of Ognir, who sings a duet of Ringo Starr's Hot 100-topping version of "You're Sixteen" in one of the movie's more fantastical sequences. "Carrie Fisher was a big fan of Ringo's, and couldn't wait to do it," director Jeff Margolis told writer Michael Seth Starr (no relation) in his 2015 biography Ringo: With a Little Help.
The least expected of Fisher's acquaintanceships within the music world undoubtedly came with British singer-songwriter James Blunt, whose 2006 album Back to Bedlam temporarily launched him to stardom, particularly on the back of the Hot 100 No. 1 single "You're Beautiful." The exact nature of Fisher's relationship with Blunt -- who spent about four months of Bedlam's recording at Fisher's residence -- remained complex, but the actress insisted it was never sexual, rather remedial. "I did become his therapist," she explained to Vanity Fair in 2006. "So it would have been unethical to sleep with my patient."
Though Dan Aykroyd is much better known as a comedic actor, on television in Saturday Night Live and on the silver screen in '80s classics like Ghostbusters and Trading Places, he also had a brief career as a chart-topping musician as one of the Blues Brothers, whose Briefcase Full of Blues album bested the Billboard 200 in 1979. It was on the set of the 1980 Blues Brothers film that Aykroyd proposed to Fisher -- who he had been dating -- shortly after saving her from choking on a Brussels sprout. The two became engaged, but Fisher broke it off before the wedding: "We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot," the actress detailed to The Chicago Tribune in 2008. "But then I got back together with Paul Simon."