The March 2017 issue of Empire, on sale Thursday, contains a 24-page farewell to cinematic icon Carrie Fisher. As part of this special event, we asked a number of Fisher's close friends to recall what she meant to them in their own words. The following tribute was written by Dan Aykroyd.
I grew up as a simple Catholic kid from a government family in Hull, Quebec, so you can imagine how much of a privilege and honour it was for me to have known this one-off, broke-the-mould woman as a great friend. When we were both in our twenties, Carrie and I associated as intimates, occasionally co-habiting in her New York apartment, Hollywood Cottage and Debbie’s [Reynolds] house.
I met Carrie at Saturday Night Live. She and John Belushi became instant pals. I remember how much she made him laugh. Later, while filming Blues Brothers, Carrie and I fell in love and during the shoot she moved in with me into a penthouse suite in the futuristic, aluminium-clad Astro Tower, which I knew to apologise for. Carrie had the most refined eye for art and design.
While in Chicago we obtained blood tests for compatibility from an East Indian female doctor. Contemplating marriage, I gave Carrie a sapphire ring and subsequently in the romance she gave me a Donald Roller Wilson oil painting of a monkey in a blue dress next to a tiny floating pencil, which I kept for years until it began to frighten my children. One of the most brilliant and hilarious minds of our eon, Carrie would say things like: “I love tiny babies. When they cry they turn red and look like screaming tomatoes.” OR “This romance is finished the second you let out even a threep. I’ll be sick for a year.” AND “You have a jawline, hold your chin up otherwise you look like a tuna.” From then on I would identify myself on the phone as Tuna Neck.
"Carrie was one of the most brilliant and hilarious minds of our eon."
Carrie embraced my friends and I was embraced in warmly human and Hollywood-glamorous emotional comfort, elegance and excitement. Debbie would cook for us and Carrie’s tech-wizard brother Todd would take me on high-intensity cruises in muscle cars and on motorcycles through Beverly Hills with great young people, José Ferrer and Donna Ebsen. These were the wonderfully inspired and smart sons and daughters of world-famous show-business professionals whom Carrie ran with.
Before Christmas one weekend Carrie asked Debbie to call Harrah’s security to arrange for her daughter and I to have a private weekend in a guest house on Bill Harrah’s legendary Lake Tahoe estate. At this point our love was soaring on laugh-filled exhilaration and a vibrant, wholly satisfying physical intimacy. Having obtained some original Owsley from our friend Tom Davis, we flew up to Reno, rented a wagon and checked in for three days of full-on weeping to Christmas classics. Certainly one of the planet’s greatest occasions where LSD was a factor.
The romantic relationship ended the weekend of our final evacuation from Chicago by Lear 24 with Judy and John Belushi to our homes in Martha’s Vineyard. It was night. Judy and John went home. Carrie and I went home to a house which Judy had purchased for me but unseen by me until the moment of our arrival. It was a fixer-upper, mid-century oil-guzzler, albeit designed by Hideo Sasaki. Carrie said, “It looks like it was abandoned by Fred and Wilma Flintstone.” The next morning she asked me to drive her to the airport and she flew to New York. Architectural reservations notwithstanding, Carrie wasn’t shallow, we had a great time. She was also in love with Paul Simon. She married him but I hope she kept my ring.
This article first ran in the March 2017 issue of Empire. Click here to subscribe.