Every woman Eddie Fisher loved was non-Jewish, including such raving beauties as Ann-Margret, Angie Dickinson, Kim Novak, Judy Garland, Juliet Prowse and Mia Farrow among others. Every woman he married (five times) was non-Jewish except, of course, Elizabeth Taylor who converted at Temple Israel in Los Angeles before he married her.
The heartthrob of the ‘50s started out as a ten-year-old singer in his Philadelphia hometown. On the High Holidays He made $20 as the soloist with the tall white yarmulke.
“Can’t you find a nice Jewish girl, Eddie?” I asked of the man whose rendition of “Oh, My Pa Pa” gushed opened the tear ducts of a generation.
“For what I have been through it is too late for me to find a nice Jewish girl in show business. The woman I have now is not Jewish, but she is a very spiritual person, very religious in her thinking.”
The woman of that moment was a psychotherapist named Lyn Davis, a tall gorgeous blond from L.A.
“She has changed a lot of my thinking. Not as far as being a Jew,” he insisted. “I am a Jew, first and always. Proud that I am a Jew. That is my sholtz [strength]. I have a deep concern for Israel. I am a Zionist. I believe in America, I believe in Israel.”
This was in 1981 at Carrie Fisher’s cozy apartment on Central Park West. Eddie was staying there while Carrie, of “Star Wars” fame and his daughter from Debbie Reynolds, was making a movie in California. It was a time when he was extricating himself from an abyss of senseless gambling in the casinos (reportedly losing $20 million) and self-destructive drug abuse. Lyn was his roommate before splitting to marry Norman Lear.
“Carrie has played a major role in my turnaround,” he said. “She made me come to New York. That was my beginning. A new beginning. A renewed Jew.”
The end came on Wednesday, Sept. 22, when he succumbed to complications of hip surgery at age 82 at his home in Berkeley, Calif.
Tim Boxer is editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com.