Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher will be celebrated during a public memorial at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles this Saturday

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
March 23, 2017 02:35 PM

 

The world was left stunned when close-knit mother and daughter Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died just one day apart in December.

The pair were laid to rest in a private ceremony in early January (Reynolds was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles alongside Fisher’s ashes, which were in an urn shaped like a Prozac pill), and now the public will have a chance to say goodbye to the iconic actresses in a public memorial service this Saturday.

Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, has been organizing the service with his wife, Catherine Hickland, since their deaths — and says the public memorial is in keeping with his mother’s wishes.

Courtesy Debbie Reynolds

 

“The public is invited because that’s how my mother would want it,” Fisher told attendees earlier this month at a screening of Bright Lights — the HBO documentary about his mother and sister — at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival in California, according to Variety. “She was very connected to her fans and felt they were a part of her, so we’re opening it to the public.”

Ron Galella/WireImage

Here’s everything you need to know about the celebration of life service:

Fans are gathering at the 1,200-seat theater within the Forest Lawn Memorial Park

The public service begins Saturday at 1 p.m. PT at Forest Lawn’s 1,200-seat theater in Hollywood Hills.

“We will be celebrating their lives with friends, family members and the people who loved them, you,” according to Reynolds’ official website. “The service will begin at 1:00 pm and immediately afterwards, those who want to walk to their final resting place are welcome to do so. There are a limited number of seats available, and it will be on a first come first come, first seated basis.”

Arrangements have also been made to accommodate attendees who can’t find seats: “There will be room for overflow in the huge lobby as well as the outside with screens to watch and hear the service,” the website states.

Fisher Family Archive/HBO

 

Forest Lawn — Hollywood Hills is also the final resting place of a number of other notable stars, and Todd Fisher told 20/20 after his mother and sister’s deaths that they will be buried “among friends.”

Bette Davis — Reynolds’ onscreen mother in the 1956 drama A Catered Affair — as well as Reynolds’ dear friend Liberace are both buried at the cemetery. Michael Jackson‘s funeral was held there in 2009, but he was buried at Forest Lawn’s larger location in Glendale, California.

Other stars laid to rest there include Lucille Ball, Sandra Dee, Buster Keaton, John Ritter, Paul Walker, David Carradine, Brittany Murphy and many others.

COURTESY FISHER FAMILY ARCHIVES/HBO

 

James Blunt’s tribute song will debut over a photo montage

Singer James Blunt was very close with Carrie Fisher, and the Star Wars actress was even the godmother of his son, who was born last year. The musician has penned a tribute song that will debut at the memorial, although Todd Fisher told TMZ Blunt won’t be performing it live. Instead, it will play over a photo montage.

“He wrote a beautiful song to Carrie that will be released on the day of the memorial; we’re going to premiere the song,” Todd Fisher also said, per Variety, adding that “it might rip your heart out.”

Don Arnold/WireImage;Todd Williamson/Getty

 

Earlier this month, Blunt opened up to PEOPLE Now about his grief over Carrie Fisher’s death, and admitted he’s devastated that his son will never get to know the quirky star.

“She’s the most amazing person I know and I’m really desperately sad he won’t get to know her but I have many memories, many stories I’ll be able to tell him,” he said.

“I live with her whenever I’m in the States, whenever I’m in Los Angeles, her house has been my home and I recorded my first album in her house,” Blunt also said, noting that his 2004 hit “Goodbye My Lover” was “recorded in her bathroom, where she had a piano – like you do.”

“She’s been a really creative input on my music,” he added. “She was an amazing person, and I’m terribly sad that she’s gone so early.”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will perform, as will dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Studio

 

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will perform at the memorial, the group confirmed on its Instagram page.

“Saturday will be a very special day for many people as we gather to honor two remarkable women,” the group wrote.

Also performing will be dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood. According to the group’s website, The Singin’ in the Rain star founded the studio in 1979 “to create a comfortable space for dancers to rehearse.”

File/AFP/Getty Images

 

Stars including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler, Usher and Mariah Carey have all spent time at the studio, the website states.

In addition to the performances, a TMZ story posted on Reynolds’ official website states that a significant amount of costumes and memorabilia will also be on display at the event.

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Billie Lourd is expected to attend — but probably will not address the crowd

Carrie Fisher left behind her 24-year-old daughter, Billie Lourd, when she died on Dec. 27 at UCLA Medical Center after suffering a heart attack on an 11-hour flight from London four days earlier.

Although Lourd is expected at the service, it’s likely she may not address the crowd, according to the TMZ story on Reynolds’ website. (The story also states that Carrie’s beloved dog, Gary, will also attend.)

Bruce Bozzi/Instagram

 

Lourd had a close relationship with her mother and grandmother — who died one day after Fisher following a stroke.

Last May, Lourd, whose father is talent agent Bryan Lourd, talked to PEOPLE after the pair worked together on the Star Wars franchise.

Brian To/FilmMagic

 

“I’m always proud of my mother, she’s killing it right now. She’s incredible,” she said.

She also called working with her mother “really trippy.”

Todd Williamson/Getty

 

“We’re watching each other. And we’re still being mother-daughter, even though it’s like, actress-actress,” she said.

Can’t make it to L.A. to attend yourself? Watch the livestream instead

If hopping on a plane to Los Angeles isn’t exactly feasible by Saturday, here’s the next best thing: A livestream of the event has been set up to allow fans a chance to watch the action. Go to www.debbiereynolds.com at 1 p.m. PT Saturday to tune in.

Tim Boxer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 

Meanwhile, Todd Fisher told Entertainment Tonight this week that although he continues to work through his grief and feels “a little disoriented” after the deaths of his mother and sister, he is “doing fine” overall, and says Saturday’s memorial is part of his grief process.

“No matter if you’re famous or not, I think having an event and having movies and pictures and feeling that is a good thing. It’s part of the process of grieving,” said Todd.

“There’s a freeing sense to all of that,” he continued. “At the same time, it’s obviously a huge loss and they were my girls.”

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