The Story Behind the Viral Photo of Carrie Fisher Watching Mom Debbie Reynolds Perform

Carrie Fisher Debbie Reynolds
Carrie Fisher watching Debbie Reynolds perform. LAWRENCE SCHILLER/COPYRIGHT POLARIS COMMUNICATIONS INC.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A sweet snap of a 6-year-old Carrie Fisher transfixed while watching her mom, Debbie Reynolds, perform onstage has gone viral after the two Hollywood icons died one day apart this week.

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In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, December 29, photographer Lawrence Schiller recalled taking the touching photo and spending time with the Star Wars and Singing in the Rain stars.

“Her daughter was really mesmerized by her mother always,” Schiller said. “That’s what really stood out.”

Schiller explained that he realized Fisher’s infatuation and adoration of Reynolds early on, when he would take portraits of Reynolds in her Beverly Hills home when Fisher was just a baby.

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Debbie Reynolds Carrie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher attend the 2011 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

The now-viral black and white photo was taken in Las Vegas during one of Reynolds’ performances at the Riviera Hotel in 1963. Schiller told the New York Times that Fisher found a stool, brought it over to the stage, and climbed on top of it “all by herself” to take in her mom’s performance. The photographer, who also photographed other stars including Marilyn Monroe, added he was impressed that a young Fisher sat through the entire show without being distracted.

Taking the iconic snap “was not as easy as it looks,” he concluded to the paper, revealing he used a Leica, a type of camera he always uses for “fly on the wall” pictures because of its quiet shutter.

Fisher, 60, died on Tuesday, December 27, after earlier suffering a medical emergency while aboard a flight from London to LAX on Friday, December 23. A day after her death, on Wednesday, December 28, Reynolds, 84, passed away, reportedly after suffering a stroke and being left distraught by her daughter’s death.

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Her son, Todd Fisher, revealed that her final words were “I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.”

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