Eddie Fisher’s affair with Elizabeth Taylor was a celebrity scandal of the ages. The two stars met through Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s first wife, whose close friendship with the Cleopatra actress started in high school.
After the unexpected death of Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd, Reynolds suggested Fisher go to Taylor to comfort her. And that was the beginning of the affair that Fisher and Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, would later call an “insane tabloid feeding frenzy.”
Todd commented on his father’s famous affair when promoting his 2018 memoir, My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie and Debbie. And he detailed how the infamous affair “ruined” his father’s career, while bolstering the careers of his mother and former step-mother.
Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor were married from 1959 to 1964
Todd’s sister, Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher, and his mother died on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, 2016, respectively. His 2018 memoir detailed his life with the two actresses, which included details of the earliest years of their lives. Fisher left Reynolds for Taylor when Todd and Carrie were toddlers. While they were too young to understand the love triangle, the effects of it impacted the rest of their lives, as well as Fisher’s bank account.
In his book, Todd wrote that his father’s high-profile affair produced an “insane tabloid feeding frenzy.” Taylor and Fisher were slammed in tabloids for their relationship because Fisher left Reynolds behind with two children under age 4. That Fisher and Taylor got married the same day his and Reynolds’ divorce was finalized—and the fact that their relationship was very public—only added to the tabloid fodder.
Eddie Fisher’s career suffered after he left Debbie Reynolds
The one benefit for Reynolds was that she was able to leverage the increased notoriety into higher paychecks. Indeed, she and Taylor’s film careers continued throughout the drama. Reynolds was nominated for Best Actress at the 1965 Oscars. Taylor won her first Oscar in 1961 while married to Fisher, then won her second in 1967. Her reputation was a bit tarnished by the affair. The actress was labeled a “homewrecker,” but her higher profile affair with Richard Burton would soon eclipse the Fisher, Reynolds love triangle.
Fisher’s career was not as successful. The singer “at one point in his life he had more hits than the Beatles and Elvis combined,” Todd told Yahoo Entertainment. (Todd, by the way, was named after Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd, who died in a plane crash in 1958.)
In a 2018 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Todd said the scandal made Fisher lose gigs left and right.
“There was outrage,” he told the outlet.
“My dad had like contracts canceled for morality clauses,” he continued. “It literally ruined his career. I mean, it just wiped him out. Liz kind of came out a little better, sort of unscathed.”
Eddie Fisher’s TV show got canceled because of his affair with Elizabeth Taylor
One of the biggest contracts Fisher lost was The Eddie Fisher Show, a variety series that ran from 1957 to 1959. When the show started, Fisher and Reynolds were America’s sweethearts.
Married in 1955 (despite Frank Sinatra’s best warnings), their little family consisted of one of the country’s most famous singers, one of its most beloved movie stars, and their new baby, Carrie. Fisher’s affair and marriage with Taylor tanked the show. From that point on, he went back to singing in nightclubs and lounges.
Fisher charted 17 Top 10 songs during the peak of his music career, but after the affair and marriage with Taylor (which ended in 1964 when she left him for Richard Burton) assured his Hollywood star never burned as bright again. He released music much less frequently in the 1960s and began heavily abusing drugs. When he did release music, it wasn’t nearly as successful as his hits from the 1950s.
He published two autobiographies—Eddie: My Life, My Loves and Been There, Done That: An Autobiography—in 1984 and 2000, respectively. According to Biography, Been There, Done That, was met with controversy because of the offensive things it said about Reynolds and his other famous lovers.
As for Reynolds, she didn’t pay her ex much mind once she got over the initial heartbreak of his abandoning their family. In fact, she and Taylor reconciled their friendship and remained close until Taylor’s death in 2011. Taylor even left some of her precious jewelry to Reynolds in her will. Fisher died in 2010 of complications from a hip surgery.