While he lived, Eddie Fisher was one of the most successful if not the most successful musician in the 1950s and though it has been almost a decade since he left to the great beyond, he continues to spark interest among music lovers for reasons more than one.
Moreover, marriage scandals overshadowed his fame and put him on the negative light before a great number of devoted fans. Fisher lived from 1928 until 2010 when he died from hip surgery complications. In his lifetime, he was married five times and sired four children. There are a lot of details to imbibe about this great voice and performer that once walked the face of the earth.
Eddie Fisher’s Bio
The music icon was a Philly native born to Russian Jewish immigrants and made his entrance to earth on August 10, 1928. He was the fourth of seven children born to his father Joseph Tisch who was a grocer and his mother Katie (née Winokur). Named Edwin John “Eddie” Fisher, he would have been known as “Eddie Tisch” had his father not changed his last name to Fisher during the 1940 census.
Growing up, he had a strong connection to music and even had a nickname derived from a song. His family called him Sonny Boy after a song of the same name in the film The Singing Fool released in the same year of his birth. Besides that, his strong vocal was the kind for maestros and it became his ticket to fame and license out of the impoverished livelihood he had as a child. He pulled in victory after victory in almost every amateur singing contest he entered for and by the time he was 12, he was fully set to take on the world of music.
In 1940, he debuted on radio in the program, When I Grow Up on a local Philadelphia radio station WFIL. Following that, he performed on other radio shows such as Magic Lady, Junior Music Hall, Teen Time, and as a teenager, he tied for first place on the popular show, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts before it moved to television. With each performance, came its attendant fame and pay and in no time, Fisher had risen to the status of a star, at least in his locality.
Consequently, he gave up schooling to face his career full time. Eddie attended Thomas Junior High School, then South Philadelphia High School before moving to Simon Gratz High School where he eventually called it quits with academics in the middle of his senior year. Thereafter, he moved to New York and sang in some bands before being discovered by Eddie Cantor who helped the young talent to take a shot at fame by putting him up in his radio show where he performed. The shot turned out huge and Eddie Fisher became an instant star, garnering nationwide exposure as well as signed a recording contract with RCA Victor.
He served in the US Army from 1951 to 1953 after which he went for hosting gigs on TV including his own television shows such as Coke Time with Eddie Fisher on NBC (1953–1957), The Gisele MacKenzie Show, and The Eddie Fisher Show (NBC) (1957–1959). Moreover, his strong and melodious tenor coupled with his romantic messages made him a teen idol and one of the most acclaimed singers in the ’50s. During the course of his career, he signed with four record labels including his own, Ramrod Records which was shortlived. The others include RCA Records, Dot Records and then Bainbridge record label.
Arguably, he was the king of American popular music then and is remembered fondly in that he was at one time bigger than other musical forces of his era such as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and even hotter than Sinatra. What he could not imagine, however, was how a tiny boy from the streets of Philadelphia reached such heights. Ultimately, he concluded it could only be because he had a gift which he discovered and utilized maximally; his incredibly powerful and sweet romantic voice which held its audience spellbound.
Both as a singer and actor, Fisher made his mark on the entertainment industry and is renowned as an icon therein despite the personal issues that marred his success. He received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for recording and the other one for television.
Who Was He Married To
Fisher tried marriage five times in his lifetime and they all ended in divorce except for one. In 1955, he got married to his first wife, singer and actress Debbie Reynolds. Their nuptial was duly headlined and the duo became Hollywood’s favorite couple. Unfortunately, the marriage hit the rocks in 1959 before it had properly set sail. They had two children; Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher.
Following his best friend’s (Mike Todd) death in a plane crash in 1958, Fisher left his wife for Todd’s widow, Elizabeth Taylor. He became Taylor’s fourth husband and the duo was married from 1959 to 1964 when she dumped him for Richard Burton. His first divorce, subsequent marriage and eventual divorce from Taylor caused a showbiz scandal whose notoriety he never recovered from.
His third wife was actress Connie Stevens with whom he had two daughters; Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher. They got married in 1967 and divorced in 1969. Six years later, he married a 21-year-old beauty queen, Terry Richard but they divorced the following year, in 1976. After a long hiatus from the matrimony avenue, he decided to give marriage a chance again. He got married to Betty Lin, a Chinese-born businesswoman in 1993. This time, the marriage was till death did them part; it ended with her death on April 15, 2001.
What Did He Die Of?
Following the decline in his popularity and the several failed attempts to revive it, Fisher relied on alcohol and drugs to pull through. In one of his books, Been There, Done That, he described a 37-year addiction to methamphetamines.
He died on September 22, 2010, from hip surgery complications 13 days after he fell and broke his hip. The music icon died at the age of 82 at his home in Berkeley, California.