Fans celebrate lives of actresses Fisher, Reynolds

James Blunt and Carrie Fisher in 2015

James Blunt and Carrie Fisher in 2015

"They were strong, unbelievable women, and I'm so happy that (Reynolds') son did this for us so we can come and pay our respects", she said of Todd Fisher, who arranged the memorial.

The two-hour ceremony Saturday was a mix of music and dance spliced with some never-before-seen footage of the mother-daughter duo reflecting on their lives.

He said: "The public is invited because that's how my mother would want it".

"I'm calling it a show, not a memorial". Despite Fisher's Star Wars co-stars ending up unable to attend her public memorial service, it is quite poetic that the actors were tied up doing work on the movie franchise that made all three of them famous. Performances from the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and Debbie Reynolds Dance School were also done in honor of Debbie's incredible career. Across the stage, near a piano, sat an empty chair with Reynolds' name on it.

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Fisher died on December 27th at age 60, with her mother passing away the next day at age 84.

Carrie Fisher died in December and was soon followed by her mother, Debbie Reynolds.

Todd Fisher, Reynolds' son, organised the public memorial and shared family stories, bringing laughter and tears to the audience. It was a very peaceful exit that only my mother could have orchestrated. "She would make you feel included in whatever you saw her in".

Inside, there was an area set up featuring costumes from Fisher and Reynolds' most iconic roles.

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Griffin Dunne, Fisher's lifelong friend, also spoke, recalling her initial feelings during the filming of what would become a classic. "If I had been with our beloved showboat I might have been able to save her again".

He echoed a sentiment expressed by many early in his remarks.

Comedian Dan Aykroyd and actresses Rene Russo, Ann Blyth and Beverly D'Angelo were among the attending stars. The footage was accompanied by composer John William's Star Wars theme for Princess Leia. Fisher's response? "It's awful".

Fisher had spoken publicly about her battle with bipolar disorder and drug problems during her life. The idea that somebody would have to deal with that kind of loss back to back, moment to moment - I mean we'd just had this awful loss and then here you are just a handful of hours later standing in a different hospital in a different room.

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Afterward, R2-D2 wanders the stage, beeping mournfully until Todd kneels down to comfort him.

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