Sunday, September 26, 2010

Singer Eddie Fisher Passes On

Eddie Fisher, the singer who was extremely popular in the Fifties, passed on Wednesday at the age of 82. The cause was complications from hip surgery.

Eddie Fisher was born on August 10, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started singing in synagogue when young. At the age of 13 he won a talent contest held by the popular radio show The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour. It was not long before he was a regular singer on Philadelphia radio station WFIL. He sang with the Buddy Morrow band while in high school and the Charlie Ventura band. By 1949 he was touring with Eddie Cantor.

It was in 1950 that Mr. Fisher had his first hit, "Thinking of You," which reached #5 on the Billboard singles chart. It was also in 1950 that he made his television debut, as a guest on Cavalcade of Stars. In 1951 Mr. Fisher was drafted into the Army, where he sang with the Army band and toured military bases. His military service hardly curtailed his musical career. In 1951 he had five more hit records, and appeared on the TV shows Songs for Sale and The Colgate Comedy Hour.

Eddie Fisher had more hits in 1952, including "Wish You Were Here," which went to #1 on the Billboard singles chart. By 1953 he had his own show Coke Time with Eddie Fisher.The next several years he would also appear on the shows The George Jessel Show, This is Your Life, Look Up and Live, Producer's Showcase, The Martha Raye Show, Ford Star Jubilee, The Bob Hope Show, and The Steve Allen Show. He also appeared in the film Bundle of Joy (1956). From 1953 to 1957 he had several more hits, including #1 songs "I'm Walking Behind You," "Oh! My Papa," and "I Need You Now."

Unfortunately for Mr. Fisher, his career would suffer a bit with the advent of rock 'n' roll. The singles he released in 1957 only broke into the nineties on the Billboard singles chart. Coke Time with Eddie Fisher was cancelled in 1957. His new show, The Eddie Fisher Show, only lasted from 1957 to 1958. He would continue to appear on television, on such shows as Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall and The George Gobel Show. Ultimately it would not be rock 'n' roll that nearly brought Eddie Fisher's career nearly to a halt, but his personal life. In 1955 he married his Bundle of Joy co-star Debbie Reynolds. In 1960 he co-starred in Butterfield 8 with Elizabeth Taylor. He also had an affair with her, with the result that he divorced Debbie Reynolds and married Miss Taylor. The ensuing controversy had dire consequences for Mr. Fisher. Whatever career he had in movies was over. RCA Victor dropped him. He never again cracked the top forty of the Billboard singles chart.

While his career would never again be at the heights it had been in the Fifties, Mr. Fisher's career would recover. In 1962 he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In the Sixties he was once more a frequent guest on TV shows, including Here's Edie, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Comedy Hour, and The Joey Bishop Show. Mr. Fisher also appeared on Broadway in 1962 and 1967  in his own shows. After the Sixties his career slowed down. He appeared on the TV shows Vicki and Ellen. He appeared as himself in the film Nothing Lasts Forever (1984) and as a band member in High Tide (1967). He continued to record well into the Nineties, although the days when his songs regularly hit the Billboard charts were long past.

Sadly, Mr. Fisher's somewhat controversial personal life has somewhat obscured the fact that he had considerable talent. He had an emotional delivery to his songs that particularly appealed to young girls. Between this and his boyish good looks, it was little wonder he was a teen heartthrob in the days before rock 'n' roll. Indeed, it was this combination which propelled Mr. Fisher to heights few singers reached. It is for his talent and the height of his success that he should be remembered, not for the scandal his personal life caused.

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