Carl Reiner Remembers Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher as "Absolutely Different People"

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Carl Reiner with Debbie Reynolds in 2013.

"Debbie was so outgoing, so full of life; Carrie was pensive, as you can see by the number of books that she wrote," says the 94-year-old comedy icon, who worked with both mother and daughter.

The most amazing thing is, I was watching Singin' in the Rain two days before Debbie died. There are two or three movies I watch to relax, and that's one of them. She had six weeks of dancing instruction before she did those dances with two of the greatest tap dancers in the world. That's unheard of.

Debbie and I worked together in The Gazebo in 1959. I remember we had such lovely conversations, such nice feelings, she invited me to do a TV special the next year. We did a scene where I played Edward R. Murrow interviewing three great movie icons — Zsa Zsa Gabor, Brigitte Bardot and the Italian actress Anna Magnani — and her impressions were spot-on.

I got to know Carrie when I worked with her on Sibling Rivalry in 1990. They were absolutely different people. Debbie was so outgoing, so full of life; Carrie was pensive, as you can see by the number of books that she wrote. She thought very deeply about things. One was a musical-comedy actress, the other was a serious thinker with a bit of comedy in her.

I still can't believe it. When I heard that Debbie was gone, I said: "Wait, they made a mistake. They're talking about Carrie." It's just unbelievable.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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