Todd Fisher

Todd Emmanuel Fisher (born February 24, 1958)[1] is an American director, cinematographer, producer and actor of television films and documentaries. Fisher is the son of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds and brother of actress Carrie Fisher.

Todd Fisher
Todd Emmanuel Fisher

(1958-02-24) February 24, 1958 (age 63)
Alma materSouthern California Institute of Architecture
OccupationActor, director, producer, cinematographer, business executive, curator
Years active1959–present
Donna Freberg
(m. 1981; div. 1986)
Christi Zabel
(m. 1989; died 2008)
(m. 2012)
Parent(s)Eddie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds

He has a professional background in architectural design and sound engineering, with experience designing and building sound stages, recording studios, and television facilities. Fisher is also a business executive; the former CEO, president, CFO, and treasurer of the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino (DRHC), Debbie Reynolds Management Company, Inc., and Debbie Reynolds Resorts, Inc. As of 2013, he is the CEO and curator of the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, which is housed at Debbie Reynolds Studios (DR Studios) in North Hollywood and at his ranch.

Early and personal lifeEdit

Fisher was born on February 24, 1958, in Burbank, California,[1] to actors Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Fisher's paternal grandparents were Russian-Jewish immigrants,[2][3][4][5] while his mother's ancestry was Protestant, Scots-Irish, and English.[6][7][8][9] Fisher, who was named after his father's best friend, Mike Todd, is the second of two children born to his parents. He is the younger brother of Carrie Fisher (1956-2016).

His parents divorced in 1959. A later marriage between his father and actress Connie Stevens resulted in the births of Fisher's two half-sisters, Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher. In 1960, his mother married Harry Karl, a shoe store chain owner. His mother and stepfather divorced in 1973, when Fisher was 15 years old.

Fisher attended Beverly Hills High School, graduating in 1976. Following high school graduation, he attended the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles.[10]

In 1980, Fisher became a born-again Christian and was subsequently ordained as a minister in 1982. Following his ordination, he founded Hiding Place Church, along with musician Henry Cutrona of Christian country rock band Gentle Faith. A non-denominational, charismatic congregation, the church first met in North Hollywood at his mother's DR Studios. After outgrowing that location, the church was moved to Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills. By 1986, the church had relocated from that location to Emerson Middle School in Westwood, Los Angeles, California with an average Sunday attendance of 1,000.[11][12]

On February 15, 1981, Fisher married his high school sweetheart, Donna Freberg, daughter of Stan Freberg.[11] After the couple's divorce, Fisher married Christi (née Zabel) Rivers. With their marriage, Fisher became stepfather to Vanessa, James and Brandon, Rivers' children from her marriage to singer Johnny Rivers. Fisher's wife died from cancer in 2008.[13] Fisher then married actress-businessperson Catherine Hickland on December 25, 2012.[14] The couple has a home in Las Vegas and a ranch in California.[15]


Entertainment industryEdit

Fisher's involvement in the entertainment industry began when he was an infant with his appearance in documentaries and short films about his mother. During his youth, Fisher began showing an interest in the technical aspects of filmmaking and focused his efforts on shooting commercials, short films, and documentaries. He was one of the youngest members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) labor union.[citation needed] As an adult, his technical and creative experience in professional technical and creative experience began in the 1980s. Fisher is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.[citation needed]

In the early 1980s, Fisher worked with Trinity Broadcasting Network, where he wrote, produced and directed the comedy television program Nightlight, starring as satirical television evangelist, Reverend Hype. The show was modeled on the NBC program Saturday Night Live and featured actors and comedians such as Dan Aykroyd, Jerry Houser, Miguel Ferrer, Rene Russo, and Bernie Leadon.[11]

In 1991, he produced his first feature film, Twogether, starring Nick Cassavetes and Brenda Bakke.[citation needed]

Architectural design and sound engineeringEdit

In 1970, Fisher's mother began curating a large collection of Hollywood memorabilia starting with purchasing items from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer auction that same year.[16][17] She spent $180,000, which accounted for the purchase of thousands of items, serving as the beginning of her ownership of movie memorabilia.[18][19] In 1972, she established the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum (HMPM) as a federally tax-exempt corporation. The museum has been recognized as the largest individual collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world.[10][16][20]

In 1992, Reynolds and her husband Richard Hamlett bought the Paddlewheel Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip for $2.2 million at auction.[21] The purchase was made in anticipation of spending $15 million on renovations, which included plans for establishing a home for the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum. The Paddlewheel Hotel & Casino reopened in 1993, renamed The Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino.[16][22] In 1994, Fisher designed the hotel and casino's 500-seat showroom, where Reynolds performed her nightclub act, songs from her career of over 50 years in the entertainment industry.[23] The showroom also serves as a complete television production studio.[24] In addition to the showroom, Fisher also conceived and designed the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum. When Reynolds struggled with the financing to complete the project, she decided to take the company public in order to raise funds. When the museum celebrated its opening the following year, it was one of the first sites in the United States to exhibit high-definition video projection.[25]

Hotel, casino, and museum managementEdit

In March 1994, Fisher was appointed the chief financial officer and treasurer of the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino, joining his mother, who served as chairman and secretary with both holding seats on the board of directors. When he assumed the role of CFO, it became evident that the hotel and casino was losing money each month, due to the company's poor capital structure and unsuccessful lease with the casino operator. Debbie eventually won a $10 million judgment in court against her former husband Richard Hamlett, in part for spurious financial dealing with the hotel and her personally. Additional board members of the Hollywood Museum have included Carrie Fisher, director George Lucas, Shirley MacLaine, and Elizabeth Taylor.[26]

Upon assuming the role of CEO, Fisher began restructuring the company, in order to address financial mismanagement, diminished employee morale, and poor customer service and quality throughout the hotel, casino, and restaurant.[27] Prior to March 31, 1996, Jackpot Enterprises contracted with the company to lease space to operate the casino in the hotel.[21] The company gave notice of intent to terminate the lease agreement with Jackpot in February 1996, in accordance with the terms, owing to monthly loss of revenue on a consistent basis. Gambling operations discontinued as of March 31, 1996. By December 31, 1996, the company was in default, unable to make principal and interest payments on their mortgage. Payroll taxes of approximately $1,063,000, along with other accounts payable and accrued liabilities of approximately $3,643,000, were also in default.[27]

In 1997, Fisher began pursuing avenues to sell the property to timeshare developer ILX (now known as Diamond Resorts International) for $16.8 million. After the deal fell through, Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of a reorganization plan. The company entered into a $22.5 million merger agreement with CFI (Central Florida Investments), also known as Westgate Resorts, which would have saved the hotel and the public company. The unsecured creditors rejected the deal and opted to auction the property hoping for a better deal. Over the objection of Management, the property was put up for auction the following year, with the winning bid at $10.65 million, going to the World Wrestling Federation.[28][29][30]

By 1999, Reynolds and Fisher began preparing to move the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum to a new location near the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, which was scheduled to open in 2004. When the Los Angeles museum's lender could no longer fund the project, the museum was unable to complete construction on the property. In turn, they could not repay a $1.6 million bridge loan, which later became the center of a lawsuit filed against the museum by Gregory Orman.[31]

While the lawsuit between the museum and Orman dragged on in the courts, the museum signed a deal to anchor the proposed Belle Island Village tourist attraction, which was scheduled to debut in fall 2008, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When the developer of the Belle Island Village resort met with financial struggles of their own, the construction lender Regions Bank foreclosed on the unfinished property. In response, the museum itself sought Chapter 11 protection in June 2009.[26][32][33][34] The bank initially agreed to sell the resort property to Tennessee Investment Partners, which is partially owned by the real estate investment firm of Matisse Capital, the original developer of the proposed Belle Island Village. The purchase was scheduled to close by the end of March 2010, with assurances that the buyer intended to reinstate the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum as the centerpiece attraction of the new resort. The deal additionally called for agreements for the new investor to cover the lawsuit and financial claim made by Orman. When the sale of the property to Tennessee Investment Partners and subsequent plans to relocate the museum to Tennessee fell through, Reynolds and Fisher began making plans to liquidate the memorabilia collection.[31][35]

Hollywood memorabilia auctionsEdit

In 2011, Reynolds and Fisher contracted with Profiles in History to begin auctioning the collection of Hollywood memorabilia, until enough proceeds were generated to pay off their creditors.[35] In statements made to the press, Fisher announced that his mother was "heartbroken" to have to auction off her collection, which was valued at $10.79 million in the bankruptcy filing.[32][33] The collection was sold in a series of auctions from June to December 2011.[16]

On June 18, 2011, Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress", whose skirt is raised by the updraft of a passing subway train in The Seven Year Itch, sold for $4.6 million, far in excess of pre-auction estimates of $1–2 million. Another Monroe dress, worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, fetched $1.2 million; it had been expected to go for $200,000 to $300,000. Estimated at $60,000 to $80,000, a blue cotton dress Judy Garland used in test shots for The Wizard of Oz went for $910,000.[36] In total, the auction grossed $22.8 million.[37]

In the second auction, held on December 3, 2011, a still-functioning Panavision PSR 35 mm camera used to film Star Wars went for $520,000, breaking records for Star Wars memorabilia and vintage cameras.[38]


  • 1959: A Visit with Debbie Reynolds (short) – as baby
  • 1969: Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children (TV movie) – as Cub Scout
  • 1981: Nightlight (TBN series) – as Reverend Hype
  • 2001: These Old Broads (TV movie) – as Timothy
As himself
  • 1988: Find Your Way Back: A Salute to the Space Shuttle (video documentary)
  • 1989: Blue Angels: A Backstage Pass (video documentary)
  • 2002: Cinerama Adventure (documentary)
  • 2013: South Dakota
  • 1991: Movie Memories with Debbie Reynolds (TV series – 12 episodes)


  1. ^ a b "Debbie Reynolds Has Son". The New York Times. February 25, 1958. p. 24. Retrieved December 29, 2016. Miss Reynolds gave birth to the child at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank. Abstract; full article requires subscription.
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  3. ^ "Lothario raked up hits, missus". The Sydney Morning Herald. September 28, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Riley, John (September 25, 2010). "Eddie Fisher: Singer and actor whose career was overshadowed by his marriages and divorces". The Independent. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Gil (September 24, 2010). "Eddie Fisher, Singer And Ex Of Elizabeth Taylor, Dies". MTV News. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Byrne, James Patrick; Coleman, Philip; and Jason Francis King (2008). Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History: A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia, Volume 2, ABC-CLIO, page 804. ISBN 978-1851096145
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  12. ^ "Stevie Nicks: Reborn through marriage!", Evening Journal, March 21, 1983, page 18-C.
  13. ^ "Christi Fisher (1957 - 2008)". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Montana. August 27, 2008. Archived from the original on August 1, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  14. ^ "Family". Catherine Hickland official website. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  15. ^ "About". Catherine Hickland official website. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
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  18. ^ RHYS THOMAS (1988-03-13). "The Ruby Slippers: A Journey to the Land of Oz - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-01-07.
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  27. ^ a b "Annual Report (Small Business Issuers)". Retrieved 2013-01-07.
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External linksEdit