Family gathers to mourn Carrie and Debbie at private service

The people who knew and loved Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds the most — as mother, daughter and sister — gathered to say goodbye to them Thursday at a private memorial service at the Beverly Hills compound where the movie-star mother-daughter duo had long lived next door to each other.

Reporters and photographers staked out the gates leading to the two homes but weren't allowed in for the invitation-only joint memorial for close family and friends.

The two are to be buried Friday at famed Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, side-by-side and among scores of other famous figures, according to People. (That location is the resting place of actors like Bette DavisPaul WalkerFlorence Henderson and writer/director Garry Marshall.)

A grand memorial celebration for the public is expected later but details about that have not yet been released.

Meanwhile, theaters in New York announced Thursday their traditional ritual to mark the passing of a theater luminary: The Broadway League said theaters will dim their marquee lights Friday for one minute at 7:45 p.m. ET, in memory of Fisher and Reynolds.

Fisher and Reynolds both made their Broadway debuts in 1973 in the musical comedy revival of Irene, which earned Reynolds a Tony Award nomination. Reynolds also appeared on Broadway in Woman of the Year  and the musical revue Debbie, and toured with Annie Get Your Gun and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Fisher wrote and most recently appeared on Broadway in her solo show Wishful Drinking, and also appeared in Agnes of God.

Those expected at the Thursday service included Todd Fisher, 58, Carrie's brother and Debbie's son; and Billie Lourd, 24, Carrie's daughter and Debbie's granddaughter. Joely Fisher and Trisha Fisher, Todd's and Carrie's half-sisters, also were expected.

 

Meryl Streep, who starred in the movie version of Fisher's first memoir, Postcards From the Edge, turned up carrying flowers. Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Ed Begley Jr., Candice Bergen, Penny Marshall and Courtney Love were all photographed arriving or leaving the service.

Fisher, who died Dec. 27 at age 60, has been cremated as per her wishes, according to TMZ and Entertainment Tonight, but a portion of her ashes was to be placed in a coffin alongside Reynolds' coffin for the service.

Fisher died at a hospital four days after suffering a heart-related medical emergency on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23.

One day later, Reynolds, 84, died at a hospital after an apparent stroke at Todd's home while discussing funeral plans for her daughter. She had suffered several smaller strokes in recent years, but Todd said he believes his mother could not bear to lose Carrie, having said in the past she did not want to outlive her daughter.

The official cause of death for Fisher has not been established and it's not clear when that might be available because a temporary "security hold" has been placed on the autopsy results, according to Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office.

Winter wouldn't say who ordered the security hold or why but it's not uncommon in high-profile celebrity deaths. After Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel on Feb. 11, 2012, the Beverly Hills police placed a security hold on her autopsy results.

The full report wasn't released until weeks later, on April 4, 2012; it found the cause of death was accidental drowning plus heart disease due to long-term cocaine use. Fisher also had a history of drug use, which could have damaged her heart.


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