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Today in Entertainment: Debut of Debbie Reynolds-Carrie Fisher documentary pushed up

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Here’s what’s new and interesting in the world of entertainment and the arts today:

Who knew eggs could be so sexy? Oprah Winfrey did

(Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day... but the sexiest? That’s new.

At least, that’s what Oprah Winfrey said during her Tuesday appearance on “The Late Show” with host Stephen Colbert. The mighty O was promoting her first cookbook, “Food, Health and Happiness,” and went step by step through her “sexy breakfast” recipe.

“What makes breakfast sexy?” Colbert asked. For this particular recipe, jalapeños added a kick.

The two bantered while whipping up eggs with salsa and avocado. “We have a reluctant tomato,” Colbert said while attempting to make salsa in a food processor. “Which was actually my stripper name when I was younger.”

Winfrey, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, also discussed the weight-loss company’s point system. In 2015, Winfrey announced that she bought a 10% stake in Weight Watchers. And last month, Winfrey appeared in two new ads celebrating dropping more than 40 pounds through the program.

But healthy definitely doesn’t mean bland. When Colbert took a bite of the dish, after adding a bit of truffle zest, he had this to say:

“That is extremely sexy, and I’m in a relationship right now.”

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‘Tonight Show’ lands Michelle Obama’s final late-night interview as first lady

(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

Michelle Obama will make her final talk show appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Jan. 11, arriving on the heels of President Obama’s farewell address in Chicago.

FLOTUS first appeared on “The Tonight Show” in 2014, as a guest on the recurring “Ew!” sketch with Fallon and Will Ferrell. A year later, she returned to bust out her best dance moves for an “Evolution of Mom Dancing” sketch, in honor of her “Let’s Move” campaign.

Obama has been making the television rounds as her time in the White House comes to a close. She recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a special interview in which she reflected on the topic of hope.

And President Obama will also be making a final TV appearance on History’s two-hour special, “The 44th President: In His Own Words,” on Jan. 15.

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Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance? ‘It just don’t get any bettah’

(Theo Wargo / Getty Images)

A few hours before midnight, the West Coast got the warning: Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve debacle on ABC was headed this way, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

There were, ahem, technical difficulties.

Those difficulties, on a show that aired live in the EasternTime Zone, left Carey hanging out on stage frustrated and unable to sing as her backup dancers went through the motions around her.

The performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” was billed as “the last big performance of 2016 by Mariah Carey,” who in 2005 was the show’s first act to go live from Times Square.

Problems were evident from the start of the set, with Carey unable to hear the music she was supposed to be singing along with. She called for audio technical help.

That help never came.

Ultimately, as the backing track finally ended, the singer turned on a heel, amid a frame of feathers, and booked it offstage as fast as she could in heels that high.

The critics online — where everyone’s a comedian, and some people are quite funny — cut Mariah no slack.

At least Mariah appeared to know how badly it had gone, signing off in true diva fashion and putting a fork in 2016 along with the rest of us.

But in the spirit of a fresh start in 2017, at least a few people found something nice to say.

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TCM to honor Debbie Reynolds with 24-hour film tribute

Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" will be part of a 24-hour film tribute to Reynolds on TCM on Jan. 27.
(Movie Poster Image Art / Getty Images)

The Debbie Reynolds tributes continue. TCM has announced it will air a 24-hour film tribute to Reynolds starting Jan. 27. The 84-year-old actress died Wednesday, just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

Reynolds, of course, was known for her breakout role opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain,” as well as her Academy Award-nominated performance in 1964’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

For fans hoping to catch Reynolds on the silver screen, TCM Big Screen Classics and Fathom Events will be hosting nationwide showings of “Singin’ in the Rain” on Jan. 15 and 18 (ticket are available online).

Here is the schedule for TCM’s Debbie Reynolds marathon (all times Pacific):

  • 3 a.m.: “It Started With A Kiss” (1959)
  • 4:45 a.m.: “Bundle of Joy” (1956)
  • 6:30 a.m.: “How the West Was Won” (1963)
  • 9:30 a.m.: “The Tender Trap” (1955)
  • 11:30 a.m.: “Hit the Deck” (1955)
  • 1:30 p.m.: “I Love Melvin” (1953)
  • 3 p.m.: “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952)
  • 5 p.m.: “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964)
  • 7:30 p.m.: “The Mating Game” (1959)
  • 9:30 p.m.: “The Catered Affair” (1956)
  • 11:15 p.m.: “The Singing Nun” (1965)
  • 1 a.m.: “How Sweet It Is!” (1968)
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Will L.A.'s small theaters thrive or decline under controversial new wage rules?

Paula Christensen, left, and Bonnie Bailey-Reed in Rogue Machine's presentation of Deb Hiett's "The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!"
(John Perrin Flynn)

Theater loves metaphor, so let’s call John Perrin Flynn, the artistic director of the Rogue Machine theater company in L.A., our Ghost of Christmas Future as we face the big question for 2017: As controversial new wage rules kick in for the city’s small theaters, will the local scene thrive or decline?

It’s a question that has hovered since April 2015, when Actors’ Equity Assn. passed the 99-Seat Agreement for local companies performing in Los Angeles County theaters with fewer than 100 seats. The change prompts small companies to increase actor pay from a tiered stipend system (often $7 to $25 per performance) to a minimum hourly wage for all work, including rehearsals as well as time spent on set for performances.

Somewhere in all of this is the idea that commerce must come first. Theater is not commercially viable in and of itself, so art loses.

John Perrin Flynn

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Mormon Tabernacle Choir member resigns over planned Trump inauguration performance

(George Frey / AP)

A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned because of the group’s decision to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The singer, Jan Chamberlin, shared her resignation letter on Facebook on Thursday explaining that she felt “betrayed” and that she “simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events.”

“Since ‘the announcement,’ I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony,” wrote Chamberlin. “I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.”

Chamberlin, who said she has been with the choir for five years, explained that sitting out the inaugural performance was not enough.

“Looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man,” said Chamberlin, which she believes would damage the choir’s image and networking.

Chamberlin echoes the sentiments of more than 21,000 people who have signed an online petition disagreeing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s decision to perform at the inauguration. According to the organizer of the campaign, most of the signatures are from members of the Mormon church.

“I hope that we and many others will work together with greater diligence and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens,” Chamberlin added in her letter. “I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake.”

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has previously performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson (1965), Richard M. Nixon (1969), Ronald Reagan (1981), George H.W. Bush (1989) and George W. Bush (2001).

Read Chamberlin’s full message here.

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HBO moves up debut of Debbie Reynolds-Carrie Fisher documentary ‘Bright Lights’

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher in 1997.
(Cliff Lipson/CBS)

In the wake of the tragic deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher this week, HBO announced Friday that it has pushed up the debut of the mother-daughter documentary “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” to Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

HBO describes the film, which had showings at several film festivals including Cannes and Telluride, as “an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity.” It chronicles the complex relationship between the dynamic duo, who lived next door to each other in the same Beverly Hills compound.

Read MoreRELATED: ‘Bright Lights’ peels back the curtain on Carrie Fisher’s legendary Hollywood family

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‘Twilight Zone,’ O.J. and James Bond: A rundown of TV’s New Year’s marathons

'The Twilight Zone'
(Museum of TV & Radio)

From the coverage of the big ball dropping above an overcrowded Times Square to the N.Y.E.L.A. celebration scheduled for Grand Park downtown, there are plenty of festive means to see off 2016.

But for all your end-of-year plans that may not involve forced toasts and funny hats, television has you covered with a variety of programming marathons to keep your spirits up. Follow the link below for a rundown of some ways to wait out — or avoid entirely — the start of any party plans you may have to greet 2017.

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Steve Martin deletes Twitter tribute to Carrie Fisher after backlash

Steve Martin and Carrie Fisher.
(Casey Curry / Invision / AP; Chris Pizzello / AP)

Friends and fans alike took to social media to mourn Carrie Fisher’s death on Tuesday, including Steve Martin, who shared a message over Twitter. But Martin deleted his tweet soon after accusations that it was sexist.

“When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well,” Martin wrote.

Some called out Martin for focusing on her physical appearance, a topic Fisher spoke out against throughout her career. Others noted that Fisher likely wanted to be remembered for more than just being pretty.

After the tribute had been deleted, a contingent of supporters jumped to Martin’s defense, while others surmised that Fisher likely would have laughed about the matter.

Fisher, of course, was outspoken in her feminism, especially in regards to her legacy as Princess Leia. She did not hesitate to call people out on their perceptions and sexualization of the character.

Then again, Fisher herself reduced Martin to a one-night stand in a 1999 interview she conducted with the actor for The Times. “I slept with Steve Martin once and once only, 20-some years ago. And I interviewed Steve Martin once and once only, 20-some days ago,” she began the piece. “You do the math.”

“This interview will be the last in the series I did in my upcoming book, titled ‘Famous Men I Have Slept With So I Could Interview Them Later,’ due out in the fall for Simon & Schuster,” Fisher added.

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Citing diabetes complications, Rob Kardashian hospitalized overnight and released Thursday morning

Black Chyna and Rob Kardashian.
(Greg Doherty / Getty)

Rob Kardashian was reportedly hospitalized overnight after a diabetes flareup Wednesday but was released Thursday morning.

The 29-year-old “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star was not feeling well Wednesday and checked himself into a hospital after realizing his symptoms were diabetes-related, according to People.

TMZ reported that Blac Chyna and Kris Jenner rushed to the hospital to join him in the emergency room Wednesday night.

In December 2015, Kardashian was hospitalized and diagnosed with diabetes but declared earlier this year that he was “completely free” of the disease. Kardashian also credited Chyna for helping him to focus on his health.

Kardashian and Chyna recently welcomed their first child, daughter Dream Renee Kardashian, but have since hit a rough patch, including a brief (but public) split. The strain in their relationship has reportedly caused Kardashian to slip back to old, unhealthy habits.

Kardashian left the hospital Thursday morning, according to TMZ.

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Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian and more: The top 10 celebrity stories from 2016

President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West
President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

Brangelina broke up. Kim Kardashian dropped off social media. Hollywood lost the election. In a year when the seemingly impossible became reality on a very regular basis, the celebrity-scape hardly knew what hit it.

Here are 10 of the most buzzed-about celeb stories from 2016.

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Carrie Fisher memorials continue in Downtown Disney, at Alamo Drafthouse and with a tribute parade in New Orleans

Jay Cotton Jr., 4, of Whittier, sits on his father Jay Cotton's shoulders during a lightsaber vigil for "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher held in Downtown Disney.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Memorials for Carrie Fisher -- who died on Tuesday -- are ramping up as Downtown Disney in Anaheim hosted a lightsaber vigil, screenings are planned at multiple Alamo Drafthouse theaters and a tribute parade is in the works in New Orleans.

The Downtown Disney event drew about 100 people who, with lightsabers raised, honored the memory of Fisher. The 501st Legion of “Star Wars” fans is already working to put on a big demostration at Star Wars Celebration in April, with other events in the early stages of planning.

Other lightsaber vigils and screenings of Fisher’s non-“Star Wars” hits -- “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Blues Brothers” and even “The ‘Burbs” -- will take place in multiple locations for Drafthouse denizens in Texas, Virginia and Nebraska. The first of which is Wednesday night at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin and numerous other locations in Texas. There is a list below of the places and screenings.

On Friday, the Leijorettes, a squad of more than 100 costumed Princess Leias, are expected to lead the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus Carnival marching group in a tribute parade in New Orleans honoring Fisher. Chewbacchus, one of the fastest-growing Mardi Gras organizations, was inspired by the “Star Wars” franchise. The gathering is still finalizing permits for the march, and a Facebook page has been set up to get further details about the event.

Other Drafthouse locations and activities:

-- Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin, Texas) is holding a lightsaber vigil Wednesday, which started at 6:30 p.m. (you can read more about what that will entail here).

-- The Winchester Alamo Drafthouse (Winchester, Va.) will hold a screening of “When Harry Met Sally” Saturday at 10 p.m., and a memorial event will be launched that screening.

-- The Drafthouse in Omaha will be holding two in memoriam screenings: “The Burbs” (Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.) and “When Harry Met Sally” (Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.). Tickets to both of those screenings will be on sale soon.

-- Non-Austin Drafthouse locations in Texas (New Braunfels, Stone Oak, Park North, Westlakes, and Laredo) are holding lightsaber vigils Wednesday that started at 6:30 p.m. Houston’s Mason Park location will hold a lightsaber vigil at 6:45 p.m. Friday, and the Lubbock location will be holding its lightsaber vigil Friday as well, at 7 p.m.

-- Additionally, Park North (San Antonio), Laredo and Market Place (New Braunfels) locations will be holding free memorial screenings of “The Blues Brothers” throughout the weekend. These theaters will be accepting donations before and after the show to DBSA San Antonio, a nonprofit support group for people with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression (learn more about DBSA at www.dbsalliance.org).

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

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Stars on social media react to death of Debbie Reynolds so soon after Carrie Fisher’s passing

Debbie Reynolds with daughter Carrie Fisher, 23 months old, as they leave their house in 1958.
(Los Angeles Times)

The reaction to the death of Debbie Reynolds was swift on social media, with most commenting on the timing of her passing, just a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.

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Debbie Reynolds dies at 84, one day after the death of daughter Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds and daughter Carrie Fisher in 1997.
(Cliff Lipson / CBS)

Debbie Reynolds’ life was the stuff of movie legend, from her start as an ingenue playing opposite Gene Kelly in the classic 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain,” to her part in one of Hollywood’s most notorious scandals.

And her death Wednesday at the age of 84 had the kind of tragic story line Hollywood made famous, coming only one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher, died at the age of 60.

Reynolds’ son Todd told media outlets that his mother was under stress over the death of her daughter and suffered a stroke at her home at about noon. Reynolds told him she missed her daughter and wanted to be with her.

On Tuesday, Reynolds had posted a statement on Facebook about the outpouring of grief about her daughter’s unexpected death. Fisher, a well-known actress and author in her own right, died four days after suffering a cardiac incident on a flight from London back to Los Angeles.

“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” she wrote. “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother.”

Reynolds’ singing and dancing in “Singin’ in the Rain” and other musicals and frothy entertainment turned her into America’s Sweetheart and a potent box office star for years. She became famous near the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood and was a link to the great studio era.

And like the stalwart heroines she played, Reynolds never quit. She continued performing for the rest of her life on screen and stage, including a one-woman revue highlighting her remarkable life on screen and off. She was also a major collector of Hollywood memorabilia.

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Debbie Reynolds’ condition unknown after she is rushed to the hospital

Debbie Reynolds
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds was rushed to a hospital Wednesday after falling ill, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Times.

The emergency comes a day after Reynolds’ daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher, died after a heart episode on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Read MorePHOTOS: Debbie Reynolds: Career in photos

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GoFundMe campaign warns 2016 to stay away from Betty White

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

With just a few days remaining in the year, one man has decided to make it his mission to protect Betty White from 2016’s evil ways.

It’s no secret it has been a rough year in terms of celebrity losses. From David Bowie and Alan Rickman in January to George Michael and Carrie Fisher in recent days, many high-profile, generation-defining stars have died in 2016. Prince, Florence Henderson, Gwen Ifill, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Alan Thicke and Muhammad Ali are just some of the notable figures we’ve lost over the last 12 months.

But as far as Demetrios Hrysikos is concerned, our nation’s beloved grandmother will not be among them. On Tuesday, the South Carolina resident launched a crowdfunding campaign to protect the 94-year-old White, and promptly reached his $2,000 goal. (Within nearly 24 hours, 276 people had contributed abouty $2,900.)

“If she’s OK with it, I will fly to where ever Betty White is and keep her safe till Jan 1 , 2017.” Hrysikos promised on the GoFundMe page.

Known for her roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls,” White’s recent credits include starring in the series “Hot in Cleveland” as well as a guest spot on “Bones.”

In the event that White would prefer not to have “a strange Greek standing guard outside her door,” Hrysikos said all proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the Spartanburg Little Theatre.

“2016 has taken so many great artists, and SLT helps support and nurture new budding talent in our town,” Hrysikos explained in an update on GoFundMe. “I’d like to think that Betty, Carrie [Fisher], and [David] Bowie would be happy with any proceeds going to that cause, which I assure you it will!”

Not everyone was buying Hrysikos’ generosity, though. “Such a scam. Donate to the theatre directly if you want to,” one detractor wrote on the GoFundMe page.

But others defended the seemingly random act of kindness. As another commenter put it, “If I had the funds, I would donate just based on the fact that this wonderful man made me laugh during what is obviously one of the worst years.”

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Does Jennifer Lopez know why that hotline bling? Drake and Lopez fuel romance rumors

Are Drake and Jennifer Lopez dating? Perhaps.

What is certain is that Lopez and Drake shared the same photo showing them cozied up on Instagram on Tuesday night. Neither star captioned the photo, leaving fans to speculate about the nature of their relationship.

The snapshot has sparked new innuendo about their potential romance, which first started making the rounds earlier this month when Drake attended one of Lopez’s Las Vegas shows.

The two also commemorated that occasion by sharing a matching Instagram selfie, with Drake including a heart-eyed emoji in his caption. Fans who stumbled on the photo were left to decide whether this was professional admiration or a subtle confession of his true feelings.

The 30-year old rapper was then spotted at Lopez’s show the following week, before the 47-year old singer and actress apparently joined him in West Hollywood for a private dinner (with 20 or so other people).

Though neither Drake nor Lopez have actually confirmed (or denied) rumors, eagle-eyed social media watchers have noticed that Rihanna has stopped following both stars on Instagram since the speculation first ignited.

Lopez shared some thoughts in her Christmas message to fans over on Instagram.

“This year I can honestly say my heart is full,” wrote Lopez. “This year had its ups and downs, but as I sit here in my living room ... I feel surrounded by love and overflowing with gratitude for the many new blessings in my life!”

Earlier this year Lopez split from her longtime beau, Casper Smart.

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‘Yesterday was a horrible day’: Paul Simon remembers his onetime love Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, then 26, and Paul Simon, 41, in 1983 after being wed in a private ceremony.
(Mario Suriani / Associated Press)

By most accounts, particularly in Peter Ames Carlin’s new biography, “Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon,” the iconic musician had a topsy-turvy relationship with Carrie Fisher, his onetime flame whom he married in 1983 and divorced less than a year later.

On and off, Simon and Fisher were together for more than a decade, and in her 2008 memoir “Wishful Drinking,” Fisher claimed her former husband had written a number of songs about her, including “She Moves On.” Their romance is also the subject of “Hearts and Bones,” and Fisher appeared in the video for Simon’s “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” (see below).

“If you can get Paul Simon to write a song about you, do it,” she wrote in “Wishful Drinking.” “Because he is so brilliant at it.”

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

On Wednesday morning, Simon tweeted a short statement on Fisher’s sudden passing on Dec. 27, keeping his sentiments short but sweet.

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‘Star Wars’ fan group 501st Legion mourns the loss of Carrie Fisher, whom they call ‘royalty,’ and plans memorials

Darth Vader, a stormtrooper, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher at the premiere of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in Washington, DC.
(Mark Theiler / European Pressphoto Agency)

The largest contingent of “Star Wars” fans in the world, the 501st Legion or Vader’s Fist, joined others in grieving from the loss of Carrie Fisher, who died at 60 after suffering a cardiac incident on a flight from London.

The charitable cosplay group posted on their Facebook page saying: “The Empire may have captured the Princess, but the Princess captured our hearts.“

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

Already, memorials are being planned for Fisher. The ladies of the Rebel Legion, the 501st’s sister organization, are already organizing a memorial to be held during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando next April. They plan “to have as many of our ladies dressed as Princess Leia as possible,” said Shana Rich, a member of the public relations team for the 501st Legion.

The group does have splinter units worldwide, so events being planned are coming in slowly. In Colorado, members of the local chapters of the 501st and Rebel Legion are holding a public vigil Wednesday night from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. (Mountain Time) at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver.

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Remembering Carrie Fisher: Empowering wit, strong words and leaving the universe forever changed

Carrie Fisher at the red-carpet premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Hollywood.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Last year, months before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” officially reunited the original cast and crew of the Millennium Falcon, there was a small disturbance in the Force. A disgruntled father on the East Coast, outraged over an action figure depicting Princess Leia in her infamous “slave” bikini costume, had denounced the toy as “inappropriate,” sparking a heated debate among fans and critics about the political implications of the outfit.

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

The woman behind the bikini, actress Carrie Fisher, answered the controversy in typical frank Fisher fashion. “The character is wearing that outfit not because she’s chosen to wear it. She’s been forced to wear it. She’s a prisoner of a giant testicle who has a lot of saliva going on. She does not want to wear that thing and it’s ultimately that chain, which you’re now indicating is some sort of accessory to S&M, that is used to kill the giant saliva testicle.… That’s asinine.”

And just like that, Fisher reclaimed the “slave Leia” look for feminism.

Converting a Frank Frazetta-inspired, barely-there metal two-piece into a flag for female empowerment was just one small example of Fisher’s ability to change the narrative in Hollywood — a career-turned-calling that tragically ended with her death Tuesday

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Carrie Fisher, the writer, edited ‘Empire’ and leaves a legacy of witty and self-aware scripts and novels

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher is perhaps best known for portraying Princess Leia Organa in the "Star Wars" films died Dec. 27.

Out on the Internet, along with the many heart-touching tributes to Carrie Fisher, photographs of her as Leia Organa, either as princess (the original trilogy) or general (from “The Force Awakens”) and with her beloved French bulldog Gary, there’s another picture, originally placed there by cinema documentarian Will McCrabb, showing a page of the script of “The Empire Strikes Back.” On the script are several edits, in red pen, condensing and improving the script. McCrabb said the hand that put the edits there was Carrie Fisher’s, noting on Twitter that Fisher herself confirmed it to him.

Is he correct? The edits might have been made by Irwin Kershner, “Empire’s” director, instead. At the time — 1979 — Fisher would have been 22 years old. Yet here she was, looking at a script written by Lawrence Kasdan, who would go on to several screenwriting Oscar nominations, and Leigh Brackett, Howard Hawks’ secret screenwriting weapon and one of the great science fiction writers of her time, and thinking “this needs some fixing.” And then getting out her pen and doing just that.

Whoever made the edits wasn’t wrong. At least some of the edits to the scene (in which Leia, Han and Chewbacca plot a course to visit Lando Calrissian) made it to the final cut of the film. Simpler, tighter, better — and with the rhythm of speech rather than exposition (science fiction, forever the genre of people explaining things to other people). Carrie Fisher played a galactic princess, but she had a working writer’s gift for understanding how people talk, and how language works. At 22.

Read MoreUPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

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‘A free date with the princess and a bucket of popcorn’: When Carrie Fisher gently pranked a ‘Star Wars’ moviegoer

Carrie Fisher with Harrison Ford, left, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew as they relax during a break from the filming of a television special presentation in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 1978.
(Associated Press)

In the hours after the death of Carrie Fisher on Tuesday, the “Today” show released a 1977 video of Gene Shalit interviewing the fresh-faced cast of the original “Star Wars” just after it debuted in theaters. (See below.) Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Fisher, who was then just 20, told Shalit that they were still at the point in their careers where they could show up unnoticed at movie theaters and watch “Star Wars” with paying audiences.

“It’s easy,” Fisher said.

But she did describe one encounter when she didn’t get away unrecognized, a precursor of the fandom that would grow exponentially with each new installment of the saga.

“This one guy had seen it 12 times,” she told Shalit.

“What was his reaction?” Shalit asked.

“The princess!” Fisher said, mimicking the moviegoer raising his hands in shock.

“Did he ask you out?” Shalit asked.

Fisher, showing her wit in the face of Shalit’s rather lame question, then described a gentle pranking of the moviegoer.

“I ... told him I was the prize,” she told Shalit. “That the 20th Century Fox office had heard he’d seen it 12 times and he got a free date with the princess and a bucket of popcorn. He believed it.”

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‘How dare you take her from us,’ Joely Fisher says of Carrie Fisher’s death

Joely Fisher, daughter of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens, called the death of half-sister Carrie Fisher “unfathomable” and declared her own heart broken Tuesday.

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

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Lisa Edelstein on Carrie Fisher: ‘She carried the weight of being a living legend wherever she went’

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to prominence portraying Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, died Dec. 27 at age 60. Actress Lisa Edelstein, who worked with Fisher when she appeared on ‘Girlfriend’s’ Guide to Divorce,’ responded to the news with the following:

I met Carrie through a friend years before I had the opportunity to work with her. She was hilarious, sharp and witty, with a brain that worked so fast it was both thrilling and slightly terrifying to talk to her. Whether she wanted to or not, she carried the weight of being a living legend wherever she went. The first time she came onto the set of ‘Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce,’ it was as if the air itself shifted. Our crew, normally a boisterous bunch, were quiet, focused, intensely respectful. But it was hard to keep that seriousness for long as Gary, her dog, snorted and wriggled around the set. She really loved that Gary. (He is a really cute guy.) I didn’t know her well enough, as far as I’m concerned, but she always talked to me as if I was far more informed about her life then I was. Perhaps that’s because so much of her life was so exposed, or perhaps it was just the way she was. But I appreciated the feeling of intimacy, however brief, and I am -- as we are all, saddened by her passing.

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Tina Fey on Carrie Fisher: ‘I feel so lucky that I got to meet her’

(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to prominence portraying Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, died Dec. 27 at age 60. Actress and writer Tina Fey responded to the news with the following statement:

Carrie Fisher meant a lot to me. Like many women my age, Princess Leia occupies about sixty percent of my brain at any given time. But Carrie’s honest writing and her razor-sharp wit were an even greater gift. I feel so lucky that I got to meet her.  I’m very sad she is gone.

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Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on Carrie Fisher: ‘It is difficult to think of a world without her’

(Lucasfilm)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to prominence portraying Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, died Dec. 27 at age 60. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy responded to the news with the following statement:

Carrie holds such a special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her. She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.

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Steven Spielberg on Carrie Fisher: ‘She didn’t need The Force’

(Tracey Nearmy / European Pressphoto Agency)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to prominence for portraying Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, died Dec. 27 at age 60. Director Steven Spielberg responded to the news with the following statement:

I have always stood in awe of Carrie.  Her observations always made me laugh and gasp at the same time.  She didn’t need The Force.  She was a force of nature, of loyalty and of friendship.  I will miss her very much.

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Harrison Ford on Carrie Fisher: ‘She lived her life bravely’

Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on Nov. 13, 1978.
(George Brich / Associated Press)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to prominence for portraying Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, died Dec. 27 at age 60. “Star Wars” costar Harrison Ford responded to the news with the following:

Carrie was one-of-a-kind … brilliant, original.  Funny and emotionally fearless.  She lived her life, bravely. ... My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger on Carrie Fisher: ‘She will be sorely missed’

Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence. Millions fell in love with her as the indomitable Princess Leia; she will always have a special place in the hearts of ‘Star Wars’ fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally. She will be sorely missed, and we join millions of fans and friends around the world who mourn her loss today.

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co.

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Carrie Fisher: Front page news even before she was born

Carrie Fisher, who died today at 60, had the rare distinction of making the front page of the Los Angeles Times before she was even born. Here’s the March 27, 1956, announcement:

Debbie Reynolds, actress, and Eddie Fisher, singer, are anticipating becoming parents about November, according to information conveyed to Mrs. Raymond Reynolds, mother of Mrs. Fisher, over the phone from New York yesterday.

Miss Reynolds told her mother that all the tests made in the eastern city indicated they could look forward to the happy event.

The couple were married Sept. 26 last year at Grossinger N.Y,. a resort in the Catskill Mountains.

As the child of two major stars, Carrie Fisher lived her early years in the spotlight before going on to play one of the most beloved roles in modern cinema: Princess Leia in the original blockbuster “Star Wars” films.

Here are some early Los Angeles Times shots of Fisher with her famous mother.

(Los Angeles Times)

Above, Carrie Fisher, almost 2, leaving her Los Angeles house with her mother on Sept. 9, 1958. The following day her parents announced that their marriage, considered ideal by many in Hollywood, was over.

Eddie Fisher had famously fallen for Elizabeth Taylor, the widow of his close friend Mike Todd. Decades later, Taylor and Reynolds, who had been friends prior to the scandal, starred together in “These Old Broads,” a film written by Carrie Fisher.

(Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times)

Above, Fisher, 3, gives her mother a hug after her afternoon nap in their home in West Los Angeles, on Nov. 16, 1959.

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Carrie Fisher, who blazed a path as ‘Star Wars’ heroine Princess Leia, dies at 60

Actress Carrie Fisher, shown in 2007.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to global fame as the trailblazing intergalactic heroine Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise and later went on to establish herself as an author and screenwriter with an acerbic comic flair, has died.

UPDATE: Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of Carrie Fisher, passes away the day after her daughter

Fisher suffered a heart attack Friday during a flight to Los Angeles from London, where she had been filming the third season of the Amazon comedy series “Catastrophe.” Upon landing, she was quickly rushed to UCLA Medical Center, but after three days in intensive care, she died, a family publicist confirmed. She was 60 years old.

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Ricky Harris, known for roles in ‘Dope,’ ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and skits with Snoop Dogg, dies at 54

Ricky Harris in 2005.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Ricky Harris, a comedian known for both his racy stand-up act and his appearances in family-friendly fare such as the TV series “Everybody Hates Chris,” died Monday, his manager said. He was 54.

The cause was not immediately known. But Harris’ manager, Cindy Ambers of Art/Work Entertainment, said Harris had suffered a heart attack two years ago.

Fellow performers posted condolences on social media.

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George Michael’s duet with Aretha Franklin helped others see his transition into a ‘serious’ artist

English singer-songwriter George Michael during his "Faith" world tour in 1988.
(Michael Putland / Getty Images)

In November 1998, George Michael appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” to promote his new greatest-hits collection — and to publicly address his arrest earlier that year for lewd conduct in a Beverly Hills restroom.

The English pop star, pressed to explain what happened at Will Rogers Memorial Park, told Letterman he’d been a victim of police entrapment but acknowledged, “I’m no stranger to outdoor nooky.”

At that, the late-night host summoned up some faux outrage over Michael’s use of a naughty word.

“I’m not allowed to say ‘masturbation,’” the singer replied, stroking his artfully shaped mustache. “I’d have to say ‘nooky.’”

The exchange was a signature George Michael moment — expertly maneuvering around a silly rule, and then slipping in the prohibited term anyway — one of many transgressions in a remarkable career that ended too early when he was found dead Sunday in his home at age 53.

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‘Rogue One’ and ‘Sing’ take the top box office spots over the Christmas holiday

Stormtroopers spread out in "Rogue One."

Call it the Force. Call it moviegoers hungry for a sassy robot and some daring acts of galactic rebellion. For the second Christmas movie season in a row, a “Star Wars” franchise film has dominated the holiday box office.

Also for the second year in a row, North American ticket sales are projected to exceed $11 billion, according to the entertainment data firm ComScore. And as the year comes to a close, 2016 is expected to see a 1.5% increase in ticket sales over 2015 ($11.3 billion versus $11.1 billion).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” vanquished all others in its second week of wide release, hauling in $96.1 million over the four-day holiday weekend — with an additional $237.4 million from international screens.

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The time George Michael was the driving force behind early episodes of ABC’s ‘Eli Stone’

Pop superstar George Michael, who passed away Sunday at the age of 53, was known and beloved for his hit records and phenomenal live performances. But in 2008, he also proved game to be part of an endearingly quirky ABC series called “Eli Stone.”

Created by Greg Berlanti (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Arrow”) and Marc Guggenheim (“Arrow,” “Trollhunters”), the legal dramedy chronicled the life of the title character, a San Francisco lawyer played by Jonny Lee Miller (“Elementary’s” Sherlock Holmes).

Throughout early episodes of the first season — which were named after Michael song titles including “Faith” and “One More Try” — Stone had occasional hallucinations, including several that included Michael singing his songs. Stone was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm that partially explained his visions but the story paid off when Michael appeared in an episode not as a hallucination but as an actual client for Stone.

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‘Voice of an angel’: Celebrities react to the death of George Michael

Singer George Michael performs in front of 11,000 people to mark World AIDS Day at London's Wembley Arena in 1993.
(Gill Allen / Associated Press )

The Internet was in shock Sunday as it learned of the sudden passing of pop music star George Michael.

Michael passed peacefully at home over the Christmas holiday, the singer’s publicist said in a statement.

As fans of the musician worked through their grief on social media, many expressed their love by giving the singer of “Last Christmas” their hearts.

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The troubled life of George Michael: Drugs, run-ins with the police and health problems

George Michael performs in Abu Dhabi in 2008.
(Karim Sahib / AFP-Getty Images)

George Michael, who died peacefully at his home in Goring, England, according to his publicist, had run into legal and health troubles during the last decade. The Ministry of Gossip blog documented many of the stories.

2010: George Michael charged with pot possession, unfit driving

George Michael, arrested after a July car wreck in London, was charged Thursday with pot possession and impaired driving, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.

The singer, 47, had waited for police to arrive after allegedly ramming his Range Rover into a storefront on July 6. At the time, the Daily Mail reported that Michael had not been drinking and was not given a breath test.

Read More2010: George Michael released after four weeks in prison

Singer George Michael was released from prison Monday after serving four weeks of an eight-week sentence for driving under the influence of drugs.

“I’m coming out here on my own so that you realize I just want to start again,” Michael said Monday to members of the media gathered outside his home in North London, according to multiple reports. “I’m going to try and stop running away from you guys.” He also thanked those who supported him, calling it “quite inspiring.”

Read More2011: George Michael thanks doctors for saving his life [Video]

George Michael, short of breath while speaking to reporters outside his London home on Friday, thanked doctors in Austria for their care during “by far, the worst month” of his life, and hinted at the dire nature of his condition while he’d been in the hospital.

“They spent three weeks keeping me alive, basically,” said the singer, 48, who had to cancel a number of dates at the end of his Symphonica tour after contracting streptococcus pneumonia. He was taken to AKH Hospital in late November, nixing his Nov. 21 show just two hours before it was to start.

Michael, who was released from the hospital Thursday and looked thin on camera Friday, said he was still weak but felt “amazing.”

Read More2012: George Michael explains post-coma accent, shreds Rupert Murdoch

George Michael is delighted to be alive, but when he came back to life out of a coma last December, he spent a couple of days speaking in an accent that wasn’t his own.

While doctors worried that he had brain damage following a horrid bout with pneumonia that included days in a coma, Michael told Britain’s LBC radio, it turned out the London-born chap was just channeling a “Bristolian,” West Country accent from a British comedy called “Nighty Night,” which he’d been watching regularly with a friend shortly before falling so ill in Austria.

When he awoke and doctors asked him if he knew who he was, he said he answered, “King of the world?”

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George Michael dies at 53; the creative half of Wham! became a Grammy-winning solo artist

George Michael, the English singer-songwriter who shot to stardom in the 1980s as half of the pop duo Wham! and went on to become one of the era’s biggest pop solo artists with hits such as “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex,” died over the Christmas holiday. He was 53.

Michael died peacefully at his home in Goring, England, according to his publicist. She said he had not been ill. In a statement, Thames Valley Police called Michael’s death “unexplained but not suspicious.”

Teamed with guitarist Andrew Ridgeley in Wham!, Michael soared to fame in Britain in the early ’80s with hits such as “Young Guns (Go For It!),” “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” and “Bad Boys.”

The duo’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was an international million-selling single that put Wham! on the map in America, where it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1984.

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Netflix renews ‘Fuller House’ for Season 3

Were you naughty this year? Were you nice? It doesn’t matter, because Netflix is bringing back “Fuller House” for a third season either way.

Netflix delivered the news to fans on Saturday via various social media platforms, confirming that the spin-off series would return with new episodes in 2017.

The renewal news comes as little surprise to those following the career of “Fuller House” star Candace Cameron Bure, who left her position as co-host of “The View” in December, citing increased career demands on “Fuller House” and other projects.

The spin-off of “Full House” has found success in its life on Netflix, with the series centered around D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Cameron Bure), sister Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) as they balance careers, kids and courting in a house that is full.

The first two seasons of “Fuller House” are available to stream on Netflix.

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A mother’s thanks: Debbie Reynolds tweets in wake of daughter Carrie Fisher’s hospitalization

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Update, Dec. 27: Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60.

It’s Christmas day and many in Hollywood remain heavy-hearted after the Friday hospitalization of actress and author Carrie Fisher.

Fisher, best known for her iconic portrayal of Princess (and General) Leia in the “Star Wars” series, suffered a “cardiac episode” aboard a flight from London to LAX and is currently in intensive care at UCLA Medical Center.

Debbie Reynolds, star of stage and screen and Fisher’s mother, tweeted about the incident for the first time early Sunday afternoon.

“Carrie is in stable condition,” said Reynolds. “If there is a change, we will share it.” She then went on to thank friends and fans for their prayers and good wishes.

Other science-fiction stars shared their continued concerns for Fisher on Sunday, including Fisher’s “Star Wars” costar Mark Hamill and “Star Trek” legend William Shatner.

From the archives: Carrie Fisher was front page news before she was even born >>

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Carrie Fisher’s fellow passengers say she ‘wasn’t breathing’ before landing

Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
(Disney / Lucasfilm)

Two people aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles said via social media that they saw Carrie Fisher stop breathing before the plane landed at LAX.

On Friday, airport police responded to calls of an unresponsive female passenger on board. Emergency officials confirmed that that passenger was Carrie Fisher, the 60-year-old actress and writer who rose to fame playing Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movies.

She is reported to be in critical condition after experiencing a “cardiac episode” on the 11-hour flight.

Actors Anna Akana and Brad Gage tweeted that they were on the same flight and saw what happened.

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Carrie Fisher on Princess Leia: ‘She’s like a superhero’

(Robert Carter / For The Times)

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher has died after suffering a cardiac episode during a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23. Prior to the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Fisher spoke to The Times about the film, Princess Leia and her “Star Wars” legacy. Below is an excerpt from a story originally published on Dec. 4, 2015.

Fisher would know what it takes to make a lasting legacy in this franchise. The first few precious moments of “A New Hope” follow the angry revolutionary pulling together a contingency plan to smuggle spy documents off a spaceship. Unafraid of being taken hostage by the nefarious Empire, Princess Leia blasts the invading Imperial Stormtroopers. Leia shoots first.

In captivity, Leia proceeds to throw some truly galactic shade: “Darth Vader, only you could be so bold,” “Gov. Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board,” and the classic, “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”

While Han Solo shirks responsibility and Luke Skywalker fumbles around with his evolving, boyish perception of the hero, Leia gets things done. When her own rescue goes awry,