Saturday, March 25, 2017

BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE DEBBIE-CARRIE MEMORIAL




YES, SOMETHING CAN BE EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL AND BEAUTIFUL AT THE SAME TIME.





Private grief and public grief are each awful and different. To lose Debbie and Carrie after 46 years is beyond explanation. I have been blessed to have been with Debbie for hours the day before Carrie got on the plane, and we had an incredible visit and I've said that before. I've also been blessed to have private time to mourn in her house, to really honor our relationship and have the long goodbye that I need, and still do, to start healing.

But to see their loss at public function was very difficult. Although at times I wanted to run out because trying to stop my tears was embarrassing, I stayed and tried to be as quiet as I could. And seeing these images were too much. I spent over 40 years at Debbie's rehearsals. To go to a rehearsal for a memorial was other-worldly.

This trunk below was the first thing that caught my eye. It was 9 a.m. and the production crew, led by Todd Fisher, were running down the show. There was the usual craft service table filled with donuts and burritos. Sound and light cues were being practiced. It was like old times. We were all there like usual, but she wasn't. It was awful to take.


To see this trunk that I first saw at the Desert Inn in 1970.........

A chair that she will never use again

So hard to see R2D2 alone in the wings looking so sad.

Todd Fisher

This killed me most of all. One of the biggest highlights of her act was  the "Singin' in the Rain" number. At the Desert Inn there was even a rain curtain where real water fell on her and her dancers as they wore those coats---two shows a night.




The "show," which is what Todd said Debbie wanted---not a "memorial," was packed with mostly never-before-seen film clips, beautiful songs by the Gay Men's Chorus; a musical tribute sung by Todd's friend Martin Goetz; a special song written by Carrie's frequent house guest, James Blunt, that he recently wrote just for her. plus dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio to make us all remember that Debbie's love of dance will continue in futuer generations taught in her studio.

Dan Ackroyd, who was engaged to Carrie, recalled that they were so close to getting married that they even got blood tests, but never went through with it. He child hood pals Griffin Dunne and Gavin DeBecker told funny and moving stories about Carrie.

Debbie's pal, Ruta Lee, president of The Thalians came out and sang a medley of Debbie's favorite songs that had me running for the exit. It was so beautifully done.

Todd acted as MC and did a terrific job. He told some funny stories, yet you could see his sadness and the loss of "his girls." Very importantly he reminded us of all the charities Debbie has given to and will continue to support. Most of the Thalians money now goes to our military veterans who need medical and mental health care. Debbie was very patriotic, and it was perfect that the show started with a color guard presenting the colors.



  
Dan Ackroyd



"Singin'" and "Molly" costumes


Debbie's Girl Scout Troop










3 comments:

Marla Frees said...

Thank you for pushing through the pain to share these memories with us. They are no doubt forever grateful for your friendship and love as you held the space for whats sounds like the best "show" in town. Joy, laughter, love and bitter sweet songs that will forever sing in the hearts of all they loved and loved them! The love pours and yet there is a smile on every face! Just the way they'd want it!

The Way To Wellness said...

Oh, sweetheart, I feel your pain. And I feel your joy. Bittersweet has many meanings, but most of all it means we have had amazing relationships that now live within each heart that that person touched. This was a real double-whammy for soooo many...and that makes things doubly difficult. Prayers, light and love to you ❤️!

susan silver said...

Sue what a lovely tribute to your dear friends. Must have been so difficult. Thoughts with you. luv ss