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August 10: Eddie Fisher

Lawrence Bush
August 9, 2016

hqdefaultBoyish crooner Eddie Fisher, who became a teen idol in the early 1950s and then a gossip item when he left Debbie Reynolds to marry Elizabeth Taylor, who had converted to Judaism (and who then dumped him for Richard Burton), was born to immigrant parents in Philadelphia on this date in 1928. Fisher dropped out of high school to pursue his singing career, and was launched by the public relations director of Grossinger’s Hotel in the Catskills, who landed him on Eddie Cantor’s popular radio show. Soon enough, Fisher had a recording contract with RCA and was selling millions of 45-rpm records. Throughout the 1950s, he starred in a variety of television shows. He later married Connie Stevens, the third in a series of five wives. Fisher wrote two autobiographies, Eddie: My Life, My Loves (1981) and Been There, Done That (1999), which led his daughter, Carrie Fisher, to declare, “That’s it. I’m having my DNA fumigated.” To see him singing a few of his songs on television in 1954, look below.

“I like to sing ballads the way Eddie Fisher does and the way Perry Como does. But the way I’m singing now is what makes the money.” --Elvis Presley

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.