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Listen to Carrie Fisher’s Heartfelt Appreciation of Mom Debbie Reynolds on ‘Fresh Air’

The ”Star Wars“ icon appeared on the popular NPR show just last month

A month before both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passed on, only a day apart, the “Star Wars” heroine looked back on her loving, complicated relationship with her Hollywood legend mom.

Growing up in show business, Fisher had an unorthodox relationship with her mom, although they grew closer as adults. A documentary about their lives, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” will premiere on HBO on Jan. 7.

Reynolds, the “Singin’ in the Rain” star and Broadway icon, died Wednesday at 84 — just one day after Fisher died at 60. Here are excerpts from Fisher’s comments on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” with host Terry Gross:

GROSS: You had a very contentious relationship with her when you were a teenager, and I think that probably continued into your 20s, in that, you know, you worked in her Broadway show… How did your relationship change as she became an older woman? … Is the relationship still contentious? Has it changed?

FISHER: Not at all. I could appreciate – she’s an immensely powerful woman. And I just admire my mother very much. She also annoys me sometimes when she’s, you know, mad at the nurses. But, you know, she’s an extraordinary woman, extraordinary.

There are very few women from her generation who worked like that, who just kept a career going all her life and raised children and had horrible relationships and lost all her money and got it back again. I mean, she’s had an amazing life, and she’s someone to admire.

GROSS: Did you appreciate her strength and her accomplishments more as you got older?

FISHER: Oh, God, yeah. No, when I was a kid, I just thought she was someone who was telling me what to do. And I didn’t want to do it.

GROSS: How did you feel about her celebrity when you were young? Was it helpful? Was it intrusive?

FISHER: Well, I had to share her, and I didn’t like that. When we went out, people sort of walked over me to get her. And, no, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. And I – you know, people thought that – I overheard someone saying, well, she thinks she’s so great because she’s Debbie Reynolds’ daughter. And I didn’t like it.

It made me different from other people, and I wanted to be the same. I wanted to be, you know, just no different than anybody else.

GROSS: Your mother’s most iconic film is “Singing In The Rain,” you know, one of the great musicals of all time. What are your thoughts about the movie? And if you like it now, did you always, or did it take you a while to appreciate that film, too?

FISHER: No, no, I always liked it. It’s brilliant. I mean, to do the transition from sound – from silent to sound is a brilliant, brilliant time to focus on. And what was interesting to me is that there’s three people acting in the movie then. It’s two men and a female. And it’s the same with “Star Wars.” And both movies were sort of, you know, iconic at the – well, they did the AFI 10 top films, and one was “Singing In The Rain” and one was “Star Wars.”