“Why all the fuss about Carrie’s admitting she had an affair with Harrison Ford? I have to admit I slept with her father!” – Debbie Reynolds’ response to the fuss that followed the release of “The Princess Diarist”.
2016 really went out with a bang, didn’t it? Days before Christmas, Carrie Fisher reportedly stopped breathing on a flight from London to Los Angeles. People close to Carrie tell me that she suffered from sleep apnea, which may have been a contributing factor in this incident. While she had little hope for recovery, being on a ventilator allowed her loved ones time to say goodbye.
One of the people who couldn’t say goodbye was Carrie’s mom, Debbie Reynolds. She simply wasn’t strong enough to see her daughter like that. What can I say about Debbie Reynolds? She was exactly what you’d expect – no airs about this legend. She was fun, bawdy, outrageous, but also quite poignant. If you could get her alone (which was tough even for her family), she showed depth and empathy – particularly for those suffering from mental illness. She was incredibly devoted to Carrie. When discussing her daughter’s problems, she once said, “I always feel, as a mother does, that I protect her. Who will do that when I’m gone?” The day after Carrie’s death, Debbie also passed away. Debbie’s son Todd believes she willed herself to die so that she could be with (and continue to take care of) Carrie. Once Carrie was gone, so was the center of Reynolds’ life and her reason to live.
Carrie had a child with longtime partner Bryan Lourd, who subsequently left her for a man! Debbie quipped, “You know, dear, we’ve had every sort of man in our family – we’ve had horse thieves and alcoholics and one-man bands – but this is our first homosexual!” Maybe, maybe not. For eons, there were rumors that Debbie’s close friendship with Agnes Moorehead was more than platonic. A 1974 feature in “People” magazine alluded to this: “Last April, when Debbie’s closest friend, Agnes Moorehead, died at age 67, rumors circulated about the two women’s relationship.” That’s quite a bold statement for 1974! Sources claim the affair was confirmed by Debbie’s son, Todd – although I’ve yet to find that specific quote. But Reynolds was always very close with gay people. In fact, mother and daughter will be buried on the other side of a wall from one of Debbie’s best friends – Liberace!
As 2016 drew to a close, Ryan Seacrest barely made it out alive. The day before the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” celebration, he was trapped in an elevator! He Tweeted, “Hi, from underneath the ball in Times Square”. If I had a nickel… The awkward situation lasted 35 minutes until Ryan was extricated thanks to some sexy members of the New York Fire Department. Next time you want to see hot firemen, Seacrest, just buy the calendar!
You’d think that given the pre-show mishap, the telecast would go smoothly. It did for Ryan, but the same can’t be said for Mariah Carey! Mimi was set to sing “Auld Lang Syne”, “Emotions” and “We Belong Together”. I suppose the word “sing” is incorrect – “lip-synch” is probably a more accurate term. She got through the first number – clearly not singing. Once “Emotions” kicked in, Mariah found herself in an awful dilemma. What started playing was the background track – no pre-recorded vocals (aside from the high-pitched pyrotechnics at the end). This left Mariah completely flustered onstage, saying “We’re missing some of these vocals, but it is what it is – let the audience sing.” Yeah, the missing vocals were the ones she was supposed to be singing! Carey’s team claimed she didn’t sing because she could not hear the track in her earpiece or the monitor. But that can’t be the case because she lip-synched the first and last songs adequately. Throughout “Emotions”, the dancers around her obviously heard well enough to perform without incident. My sources tell me that Carey planned to lip-synch all three songs, but somehow the wrong “Emotions” track got cued up, and she never intended to sing live. Mimi’s people calls this sabotage. That may be true, but it sure is funny to watch, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.
I traditionally tell you two things at the beginning of every New Year. Yes, I watched the Kennedy Center Honors – even without Ambassador Schlossberg lumbering out in an ill-fitting gown. As to New Year’s Eve, I always spend it watching Lindsay Wagner movies with dear friends. 2016 was a big year for Lindsay – TWO NEW FILMS! I don’t expect any of you have heard of “Change of Heart” or “Love Finds You in Valentine”, for PixL and UP TV, respectively (whatever they hell they are). But, hey, a gig’s a gig. And Lindsay never disappoints.
When I’m showing my sentimental side, it’s time to end yet another column. But, first, a big announcement. After years of your clamoring, I am giving in to the demand for a book. Not really a memoir – more like a recap of the past two decades of gossip, with more than a handful of personal anecdotes. I plan to name the names behind some blind items and share some salacious stories I was asked to suppress. And all these recent deaths delivered a silver lining – fewer potential lawsuits! Of course, the lawyers always pore over www.BillyMasters.com – the site where my convictions have never led to a conviction. If you have a question, send it to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Seacrest offers himself up as a CPR dummy at his local firehouse! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.