Eddie Fisher dies at 82

Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:34pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Eddie Fisher, a teen idol in the 1950s who sparked an international scandal when he left his wife Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, has died at the age of 82.

Fisher died in Berkeley, California, on Wednesday due to complications and a decline in health from recent hip surgery, his family said in a statement on Thursday.

"He was loved and will be missed by his four children: Carrie, Todd, Joely, and Tricia Leigh as well as his six grandchildren. He was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch," said the statement, using the Yiddish word for a decent, admirable person.

His actress daughter Carrie Fisher highlighted his ailing health earlier this year when she wrote Twitter messages saying her father, who was confined to a wheelchair, was "kind of losing it" with confusion over his whereabouts and friends.

Eddie Fisher started as a nightclub singer and was a chart-topping teen idol in the early 1950s with songs like "Thinking of You" and "Oh! My Pa-Pa." Legions of adoring female fans sometimes turned his appearances into mob scenes.

Coca-Cola gave him a $1 million contract to be its national spokesman and sponsored his television show.

But by 1956 rock 'n' roll was starting to take hold and Fisher's brand of simple pop music was waning. His singing career fizzled and Fisher endured decades of drug and alcohol addiction as he went through five marriages.

In his autobiography "Been There, Done That," he wrote: "It isn't the music that people remember most about me. It's the women."

Fisher married Reynolds, a box-office star who was known as America's sweetheart because of her sunny image, in 1955. Together they had two children, Carrie and Todd.   Continued...

 
<p>Singer Eddie Fisher is shown in this undated publicity photograph. Fisher, a teen idol in the 1950s who sparked an international scandal when he left his wife Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, has died at the age of 82 his family said in a statement on September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Handout</p>