60s Music

The Colorful Life of Legend Eddie Fisher

Eddie Fisher
Autographed publicity still of Eddie Fisher. (Source: Wikipedia)

Introduction to Eddie Fisher

Eddie Fisher (born Edwin John Tisch in 1928 – died in 2010) was an American actor, singer and recording artist. He reached the peak of the popularity during the 50s music era until his affair with actress Elizabeth Taylor (whom he would marry) and highly-publicized divorce with his wife, actress-singer-dancer Debbie Reynolds caused a scandal and practically ruined his image and career. He had already been a local star even during his high school years, appearing and winning at amateur contests, singing on local radio stations. During his time in the Army, he still performed and even made occasional television appearances. After his discharge from the service, his popularity increased. He sang at several nightclubs as well as on television shows such as Coke Time with Eddie Fisher, The Perry Como Show, The Martha Raye Show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show, and others. Singles were more popular than long-play (LP) albums as a music medium at that time, and Fisher was indeed prolific and successful in releasing such records. Many of his commercially outstanding records include “Thinking of You,” “Turn Back the Hands,” “Any Time,” “Tell Me Why,” “Trust in Me,” “Forgive Me,” “That’s the Chance You Take,” “I Remember When,” “Just a Little Lovin’ (Will Go a Long Way),” “Maybe,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Lady of Spain,” “Outside of Heaven,” “Even Now,” “Downhearted,” “I’m Walking Behind You,” “With These Hands,” “Many Times,” “Oh! My Pa-Pa,” “A Girl, A Girl,” “Green Years,” “I Need You Now,” “Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep),” “Heart,” “Dungaree Doll,” and “Cindy, Oh Cindy,” as well as other numerous Top 40 hits. When the scandal broke in the late 1950s, NBC cancelled his TV series, and Fisher was also later removed from RCA Victor’s roster. He recorded for Dot label, but his tenure there wasn’t a success so he later moved back to RCA. Fisher also recorded 18 albums, but his singles far outsold them; most of these LP’s were recorded and released on RCA. Fisher went on with his performing career, singing mostly to sold-out venues in the US as well as in the UK. He died from complications following his hip surgery. He was 82.

 

The early days of Eddie Fisher

Eddie Fisher was an American entertainer and one of the big stars of the 50s music scene. He was born Edward John Tisch in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 10, 1928. During his high school days, he got involved in several amateur contests and always won each of them. Later he earned a radio appearance on the Philadelphia-based WFIL. From then on Fisher blossomed into a sort of local celebrity so this made him to quit school and try his luck in Hollywood. One of Fisher’s earliest performances was in 1946, singing for trombonist/bandleader Buddy Morrow and saxophonist Charlie Ventura.

 

 

 

 

Fisher’s peak of his career

In early 1949, Fisher signed a recording contract with RCA Victor. One of his earliest singles for the RCA was “Thinking of You” which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1950. In 1951, he served the US Army where he became the official solo vocalist for The United States Army Band. In his Army outfit, Fisher was doing some television engagements at that time, being introduced as “PFC Eddie Fisher.” He had several other Top 20 hit singles: “Bring Back the Thrill” (#14), “Unless” (#17), “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (‘Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)” (#18), “Turn Back the Hands of Time” (#8), and “Any Time” (#2). Aside from the numerous minor hits from 1952 to 1954, he scored three singles that topped the Billboard Hot 100 such as “I’m Walking Behind You,” “Oh! My Pa-Pa (O Mein Papa)” (1953) and “I Need You Now” (1954). Classified as a standard pop singer, Fisher became a teen idol during his time.

He also appeared on many television shows such as Coke Time with Eddie Fisher, The Perry Como Show, The Martha Raye Show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show, as well as his own show on NBC, The Eddie Fisher Show.

 

Scandal and later career

In 1959 Fisher left his first wife, actress and singer Debbie Reynolds to marry the newly-widowed Elizabeth Taylor. The two first worked together in the film Butterfield 8, and fell in love. The fact that Taylor was Reynolds’ close friend and was also the widow of Fisher’s best friend Mike Todd (who died in a plane crash), aside from the affair being extra-marital to start with, this ignited a big scandal.  It was followed by a heavily publicized divorce between Fisher and Reynolds.

The scandal generated an unsavory publicity for Fisher. As a result, NBC canceled his series, and since then his career never recovered its old luster. Despite that, he still managed to record and perform. In 1965 he signed with Dot Records, releasing records such as the album Eddie Fisher Today! A year later he returned to RCA and managed to score some hit albums and singles such as “Games Lovers Play.” He had also released a handful of records from Ramrod (his own label) and Bainbridge.

 

Later life

In 1981, Fisher published his autobiography Eddie: My Life, My Loves.

In 1983, Fisher tried to go back in the music business but he did not succeed after embarking a comeback tour. He also struggled with his drug addiction which he detailed in his own biography. However, he successfully came out as drug-free.

On September 22, 2010, the 82-year old Fisher died from complications following a hip surgery.

Despite his demise, Eddie Fisher’s legend still lives on, and his music remains a staple of oldies music playlists.

 

Showbiz family

He and Reynolds have two children, actress Carrie Fisher (of Star Wars fame) and actor-director Todd Fisher. Eddie Fisher also had two other children, actresses Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, with his third wife Connie Stevens who is also an actress.

 

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