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Hearts Happy and Heavy for Carrie and Debbie

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Hearts Happy and Heavy for Carrie and Debbie


By Jackie Joseph 


January 16, 2017


I want to talk about the heartening hopes for happiness in this new year of 2017. And to the losses (and gains) of last year, 2016. It’s hard to keep one’s balance.


Happy New Year!


It goes without saying that all happiness is wished to our readers, staff and neighbors worldwide. Yes, it is a vast wish, but I love the concept that attaining a goal is less meaningful than the journey to achieve it. Those first steps, the open-arms of welcoming, the risks, and all the loving mistakes we learn from, are exciting things to look forward to in 2017. With a focus on kindness and a truckload of empathy, life will be good, no matter what …


Bright Lights: Fisher and Reynolds, together again. The HBO Documentary on the relationship of this beyond words mother and daughter team, is only surpassed by its timing – debuting the first week of this year, while they both died the end of last year. Still so hard to process, but the soul of Bright Lights brings the connection and driving purpose of both Carrie and Debbie, right into our bones. I felt their pulse …


I wish I could have known the brilliant, hysterical, and tortured Carrie, but seeing the whimsy of her home, and the truth from heart helped me feel close to her.


Debbie was more my generation. I’m grateful to the Falcon Theatre for presenting her show several times; they offered convenient moments of reunion. We had worked together once: it was 1983, at an Awards Ceremony honoring Debbie and myself for helping an organization of Women in Show Business. I was sitting at my table and seriously pondering about the protocol. Going over to Debbie’s table. Would it be annoying? Would it be the thing to do? While slugging it out with myself, I felt a little tap on my shoulder. It was Debbie. Trying not to be flustered, I congratulated her, blah, blah, etc. Then she said, “Can I ask a favor of you?” Me (over the top), said, “ Anything, anything!” Debbie said, “I’m doing an exercise tape and I’d love you to work with some other girls in the background.” My mouth and face were effusive and happy to do this favor. My brain was horrified, thinking, leotard, leotard, arrggghh. And so it went. Do It Debbie’s Way happened. I scrunched into a leotard and joined a merry group including Dionne Warwick, Shelly Winters, Patty Van Patten, Terry Moore, Florence Henderson, Terri Garr, Virginia Mayo, Rose Marie and a few others I can’t remember. It’s over 30-plus years, but the experience will never be forgotten!


Ruta Lee

Ruta, one of the great women in our industry (in any industry) was one of Debbie’s best friends, and for decades they led The Thalians in their astonishing good work. Google: The Thalians and read of their most star studded events. Incredible! In a statement from Ruta, before the sad losses, she said, “Debbie, my beloved best friend and sister in charity has been an inspiring guide to me, and all The Thalians, from the very beginning. She continues to inspire the new generation.” Truer words, and Debbie Reynolds will not be forgotten.


So I’ll end this with a farewell salute to a few others that I’ll never forget: John Kenneth Berry, Carolyn See, Gary Marshall, Richard Hurwitz, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Ret Turner, William Christopher, Florence Henderson, Janet Waldo, Stuart Nisbet, Robert Vaughn, Carolyn Rich, too many to wrap my mind around. So, I’ll keep on remembering to remember.


And we’ll talk…


Jackie Joseph is a writer and actress best known for her TV roles as Alan Brady’s niece Jackie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” the voice of Melody in the animated “Josie and the Pussycats” and as Jackie Parker on “The Doris Day Show.”  The Tolucan Times is a community weekly newspaper based founded in 1937 in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles, California.



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