Carrie Fisher

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Carrie Fisher brings her one-woman show to town, and is here to reflect on fame, Star Wars, and making The Blues Brothers in Chicago with John Belushi on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

The following excerpt is from Chapter 2 of Fisher's book: Wishful Drinking.

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So now, will you come on a journey with me? We're going to start at death, but then we're going to double back and go all the way through an emergency room (where they know me), through Watergate, back through Vietnam to birth. My birth.

I was born on October 21, 1956. This makes me quite old -- half a century and change. I was born in Burbank, simple folk. People of the land. No, actually my father was a famous singer, and you wanna hear something really cool? My mother is a movie star. She's an icon. A gay icon, but you take your iconic stature where you can. His name is Eddie Fisher, and her name is Debbie Reynolds. My parents had this incredibly vital relationship with an audience, like with muscle and blood. This was the main competition I had for my parents' attention, an audience. People like you. You know who you are.

My father had many big songs, but perhaps the one he's best remembered for was "Oh! My Papa," which I like to call "Oh! My Faux Pas." And my mother, well, she did tons and tons of films, but I think the one she's best remembered for is the classic film Singin' in the Rain. But she was also nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown but tragically, she lost to Julie Andrews, for her stunning, layered, and moving portrait of Mary Poppins. Ibsen's Mary Poppins, of course.

My mother was also in another film called Tammy, which was also a hit song -- which pissed off my father because that was really his area. She was actually pregnant with me when she filmed Tammy. So if you look very carefully, there's a scene where she and Leslie Nielsen are in the garden trying to save some prize tomatoes in a rainstorm (like they do in old movies). Well, I am the bulge in the side of her abdomen. It's some of my best screen work; I urge you to see it. Oh, and she was also pregnant with me in yet another film called A Bundle of Joy, costarring the marvelous method actor -- Eddie Fisher.

When I was born, my mother was given anesthesia because in those days they didn't have epidurals. (I always thought that they should make an epidural that works from the neck up, which was a condition I aspired to for most of what I laughingly refer to as my adult life.) Anyway, so my mother was unconscious. Now my mother is a beautiful woman -- she's beautiful today in her 70's so at 24 she looked like a Christmas morning. So all the doctors were all buzzing around her pretty head, saying "Oh, look at Debbie Reynolds asleep -- how pretty." And my father, upon seeing me start to come through -- crown with all the placenta and everything else (ugh) -- my father fainted dead away. So now all the nurses ran over to him, saying "Oh look, there's Eddie Fisher, the crooner, on the ground! Let's go look at him!" So when I arrived, I was virtually unattended! And I have been trying to make up for that fact ever since. Even this book is a pathetic bid for the attention I lacked as a newborn.

My father was best friends with a very charismatic producer named Mike Todd, who produced a movie called Around the World in Eighty Days, which won an Oscar for Best Picture.

So my father and mother and Mike Todd and his fiancée, who happened to be Elizabeth Taylor, went everywhere together -- they went to nightclubs, on cruises -- well, they literally traveled the world! So when Mike and Elizabeth got married, my father was Mike Todd's best man and my mother was Elizabeth's matron of honor! She even washed her hair on her wedding day. Now later I heard my mother mumble that she wished she washed it with Nair. But she's not a bitter woman.

Anyway, I was about two when my brother was born, and my father so adored Mike Todd that my brother, Todd, was named for him.

Now, perhaps my father didn't realize that in the Jewish faith, it is considered bad luck to name a child after someone who is still living -- a silly superstition -- or so they thought!

Because about a year later, Mike Todd took off in a private plane in a rainstorm, and the following morning Elizabeth was a widow. Well, naturally, my father flew to Elizabeth's side, gradually making his way slowly to her front. He first dried her eyes with his handkerchief, then he consoled her with flowers, and he ultimately consoled her with his penis. Now this made marriage to my mother awkward, so he was gone within the week. And as far as I know he has not returned. Up to this very day. But you know what? I have high hopes because I think one night they are both going to come see my show on the same night, run into each other, get that old feeling, get back together, and raise me right!

You might be thinking, well, that explains it! She's the product of Hollywood inbreeding. That's why my skull isn't entirely grown together at the back.

Excerpt from Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Simon & Schuster, Copyright © 2008 by Deliquesce Inc.

Watch the following video clip from the show, Wishful Drinking.

For more on Carrie Fisher and her book, and to buy tickets for her Chicago show, please visit the links below.

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