“My mother didn’t like funerals and memorials,” said Todd Fisher, son of Debbie Reynolds and brother of Carrie Fisher, as the late actresses were honoured at a public memorial service at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Los Angeles.
But, he said, his mother would have wanted her fans to have the chance to say goodbye.
“You are all her people — not just her extended family, but her close friends and fans,” Fisher told the crowd.
“We would be sharing these same kinds of films and photographs, telling the same stories… you’re gonna see a lot of things you’ve never, ever seen before.”
Speaking of his mother’s death, just a day after his sister, in December, Fisher said:
“When Carrie died, my mother decided to change her plans a bit. My mother always said to me, ‘I never want to go to my daughter’s funeral service. I would like to be buried with Carrie’.
‘I didn’t know she was going to leave us that very next day and when she looked at me to ask permission to leave, she said she wanted to be with Carrie, and she closed her eyes and went to sleep. It was a beautiful exit,’ he continued.
“It was a very peaceful exit that only my mother could’ve orchestrated. She was trained in Hollywood, where they teach you to make a great entrance and exit… a beautiful exit.”
The celebration included montages set to music by Star Wars composer John Williams, with tributes to both women’s work on film, alongside family photos, interview footage, and documentaries of their humanitarian work.
Fisher revealed he decided on a public service because his mother would have wanted her fans to be involved.
“She was very connected to her fans and felt they were a part of her, so we’re opening it to the public.”
The service was also live-streamed on Reynolds’ website.
Dan Aykroyd, who was briefly engaged to Fisher and starred alongside her in The Blues Brothers, also took to the stage to reminiscence about his friendship with the actress.
“I once saved her life, applying the Heimlich manoeuvre to dislodge a brussels sprout, and if I had been with our beloved showboat, I might have been able to save her again,” he said.
“I know these women will have a song for us when we arrive at the crossing. After all, we’re only seconds behind.”
“She was, without a doubt, the most generous human being,” Canadian actress Ruta Lee said of her longtime friend and co-star Reynolds. “She gave her heart to everything.”
The ceremony also saw a brief appearance by Star Wars‘ R2-D2 and the performance of an original song titled I’m Here to Let You Go by family friend James Blunt.
That debuted over a photo montage, including footage of Reynolds’ last performance, which was with Fisher and her daughter Billie Lourd.
Lourd, 24, decided not to attend the service, but she appeared in ‘good spirits’ as she was spotted out for dinner with her dad Bryan Lourd and boyfriend Taylor Lautner at Catch in LA on the same night.
“There’s a vacuum in the room and she’s feeling it and we’re all feeling it,” Fisher told ET.com. “I’m letting [Billie] breathe, you know? She needs to breathe. She needs to step back from all of this loss.”