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I could not believe it when the newscaster said she’d not made it. This unusual movie star I’d known since she was born and I was an all-American teenager. A sudden stunned moment, then a welling of tears and a sinking of the heart.

The internet doesn’t back me up, but I clearly remember her as a toddler on the old 1950s Ed Murrow celebrity interview show, “Person to Person” where famous folk were interviewed in their “modest 12-room Hollywood Hills home”, or their luxury hotel suites if they were just passing through the US.  Mom Debbie Reynolds was holding her, standing in the doorway of the family’s new home, a ribbon of safety pins strapped over her (Debbie’s) chest. She was apologizing that she didn’t really know the brand new house that well and would get the rooms wrong, and that her husband, Eddie Fisher wasn’t there because he didn’t live with them any more. As the world knew, he’d left them for Liz Taylor. But we the public were as naive as little Carrie, and had no idea how set up the whole scene was.

But it was a hell of an introduction to the eventually gifted, successful, then struggling, then successful again, and unique woman who should still be here. Once she started her public life, it was like keeping up with a distant cousin I really liked, and whose ups and downs felt more personal than ‘news’. Because her struggle was so of my and my friends’ time, not yet another typical (if painful) Hollywood-fame story.

Today, I am reduced to  how I cannot fathom that in this day and age of intense cardio health monitoring and treatments someone with access to A-level care should have been let down so badly. And her family.

How good, at least, that because of who and how she was, Carrie leaves so much of her self behind with us – not only onscreen interpreting other writers’ lines, but in her heartfelt and knowing books. I don’t want her to RIP – she deserves to be hanging out with whatever cool scenes and good people and nice eats there are wherever we go after this.