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Joely Fisher reveals her family's drug abuse history

  • Joely Fisher has opened up about her famous parents Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens Fisher and their drug abuse in her new book
  • The 50-year-old said her legendary 1950s crooner father would ask her and her younger sister to ‘show me your t*ts’ and was hooked on speed and cocaine
  • Eddie was a known womanizer, marrying Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, before marrying Connie in 1967 – but that marriage ended two years later
  • Connie, an actress and sex symbol, was also hooked on speed and had a young Joely roll joints for her and party guests, including a pot-smoking Lucille Ball
  • Joely admits she knew that addiction was a ‘family trait’ when her half-sister, the late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, turned up to her home high one day
  • She writes: ‘You don’t get addicted to something just because you’re exposed to it. My father was predisposed to be an addict; so was my mother; so were we all’ 
  • Joely reveals her own struggles with addiction and her upbringing in her new book: Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures

Caroline Howe For Dailymail.com

Growing up in an iconic Hollywood dynasty, life wasn’t always easy for Joely Fisher, the daughter of ’50s pop singer Eddie Fisher and ’60s sex kitten Connie Stevens Fisher and the half-sister of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher.

Eddie was never around to be a father and never knew how to communicate with women, except sexually. So he’d ask his two young daughters – when he saw them: ‘Show me your t*ts’.

The crooner was a man consumed with his drug and sexual addictions, even fondling his caregivers in his later years. Connie, always the sex kitten, also developed a drug habit, enlisting the help of a young Joely to roll her joints.

The family’s drug problem also seeped into the life of her half-sister Carrie Fisher, and one day the late actress turned up to Joely’s home high, making Joely realize that addiction ‘would turn out to be a family trait’.

These pressures on Joely, now 50, morphed into life-long issues, as she reveals her struggles in her new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures.

Joely Fisher, 50, reveals her family's long struggle with addiction in her new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures. She admits that she knew it was a 'family trait' when her half-sister Carrie Fisher (pictured together in 2007) turned up to her home high

Joely Fisher, 50, reveals her family's long struggle with addiction in her new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures. She admits that she knew it was a 'family trait' when her half-sister Carrie Fisher (pictured together in 2007) turned up to her home high

Joely Fisher, 50, reveals her family’s long struggle with addiction in her new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures. She admits that she knew it was a ‘family trait’ when her half-sister Carrie Fisher (pictured together in 2007) turned up to her home high

The former actress admits that her sex kitten mother Connie Fisher (pictured together in 1990) was hooked on speed and had a young Joely roll her joints for her and party guests 

The former actress admits that her sex kitten mother Connie Fisher (pictured together in 1990) was hooked on speed and had a young Joely roll her joints for her and party guests 

The former actress admits that her sex kitten mother Connie Fisher (pictured together in 1990) was hooked on speed and had a young Joely roll her joints for her and party guests 

The mother-of-five said her famous 1950s crooner father Eddie Fisher, who was first married to Debbie Reynolds, would ask her and her younger sister to 'show me your t*ts' and was hooked on speed and cocaine. Pictured: Joely and Eddie Fisher in 1987 in New York City

The mother-of-five said her famous 1950s crooner father Eddie Fisher, who was first married to Debbie Reynolds, would ask her and her younger sister to 'show me your t*ts' and was hooked on speed and cocaine. Pictured: Joely and Eddie Fisher in 1987 in New York City

The mother-of-five said her famous 1950s crooner father Eddie Fisher, who was first married to Debbie Reynolds, would ask her and her younger sister to ‘show me your t*ts’ and was hooked on speed and cocaine. Pictured: Joely and Eddie Fisher in 1987 in New York City

Joely writes: ‘I had issues with addiction my whole life, but I also, for some reason, never succumbed to it…meaning, I am still alive. A personal victory of the most epic proportions’.

It was the Fisher DNA that passed on not only that ‘f**king’ velvet voice, but ‘also the genetic predisposition for addiction, infidelity and financial idiosyncrasy’.

Joely’s addictions were alcohol but she still indulges in a good wine. She writes: ‘I still continue to eat, or not eat in a weird, compulsive way. I spend money the way an addict does (a lot or not at all).

‘You don’t get addicted to something just because you’re exposed to it. My father was predisposed to be an addict; so was my mother; so were we all.

‘I think the reason you drink, smoke, eat, shop is that you’re trying to quiet that inner critic, that feeling of worthlessness, or lack, or inadequacy.’ 

So when Joely was disappointed with her acting career, she ‘dealt with that feeling by going home and having a bottle of wine’.

Rejection and loss motivated her to drink but she writes that it never impacted her ability to be a good mother to her five children or her 20-year marriage to cinematographer, Christopher Duddy.

But parents Eddie and Connie’s addictions were much different.

Connie Stevens was born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia on Coney Island in 1938. Her father, Pietro Ingolia, whose stage name was Teddy Stevens, played bass in big bands, such as Stan Getz. 

His family came from Messina, in Sicily. Her mother, Eleanor McGinley, was a band singer who had affairs with other men while her husband was on the road.

A divorce soon followed and Connie went to live with her grandparents in Brooklyn’s Rockaway Beach.

Joely's addictions were alcohol but she learned how to manage. She writes: 'You don’t get addicted to something just because you’re exposed to it. My father was predisposed to be an addict; so was my mother; so were we all'

Joely's addictions were alcohol but she learned how to manage. She writes: 'You don’t get addicted to something just because you’re exposed to it. My father was predisposed to be an addict; so was my mother; so were we all'

Joely’s addictions were alcohol but she learned how to manage. She writes: ‘You don’t get addicted to something just because you’re exposed to it. My father was predisposed to be an addict; so was my mother; so were we all’

Eddie Fisher was a womanizer and divorced Connie in 1969. Joely said she and her sister went to visit him and saw cocaine paraphernalia. 'I was definitely a kid who knew what it was and why it was there', she writes. Pictured: Connie, Tricia Leigh, Eddie and Joely Fisher in 1989

Eddie Fisher was a womanizer and divorced Connie in 1969. Joely said she and her sister went to visit him and saw cocaine paraphernalia. 'I was definitely a kid who knew what it was and why it was there', she writes. Pictured: Connie, Tricia Leigh, Eddie and Joely Fisher in 1989

Eddie Fisher was a womanizer and divorced Connie in 1969. Joely said she and her sister went to visit him and saw cocaine paraphernalia. ‘I was definitely a kid who knew what it was and why it was there’, she writes. Pictured: Connie, Tricia Leigh, Eddie and Joely Fisher in 1989

Connie eventually followed her father out to Los Angeles and they settled in Eagle Rock, an eclectic, old area northeast of downtown LA.

Connie immediately enrolled in classes at Hollywood Professional School and launched into a singing career, as well as pursuing roles as an extra in television and films.

She was soon ‘discovered’ and suddenly was under contract with Warner Brothers for the late 1950s television show 77 Sunset Strip.

Connie and co-actor Edd Byrnes released a single in 1959 that they sang on the show, which resulted in her first gold record – Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb!

Connie never looked back. Her sex kitten career was suddenly soaring and she was playing gigs coast to coast.

But she always chose losers in men and married actor James Stacy in 1963. He turned out to be a psychopath who burned Connie’s baby pictures, cut off her hair when she was sleeping and was physically abusive.

The marriage lasted three years. Ten years later, Stacy was convicted of child molestation.

Connie always had to be the controlling partner in relationships, according to Joely, so she went after weak men.

On the rebound from the divorce, she met Eddie Fisher, the pre-Elvis, pop singing star of the 1950s, who came with a truckload of salacious gossip.

Connie and co-actor Edd Byrnes released a single in 1959 that they sang on the show, which resulted in her first gold record - Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb!

Connie and co-actor Edd Byrnes released a single in 1959 that they sang on the show, which resulted in her first gold record - Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb!

Connie and co-actor Edd Byrnes released a single in 1959 that they sang on the show, which resulted in her first gold record – Kookie, Kookie, Lend me Your Comb!

Connie got hooked on speed in the form of Black Beauties – a popular form of speed in the 1970s. She found relief in the drug when she was crying in her trailer, worried she wouldn't look good in a pair of jeans. Pictured: Connie with Joely and Tricia Leigh in 1970

Connie got hooked on speed in the form of Black Beauties – a popular form of speed in the 1970s. She found relief in the drug when she was crying in her trailer, worried she wouldn't look good in a pair of jeans. Pictured: Connie with Joely and Tricia Leigh in 1970

Connie got hooked on speed in the form of Black Beauties – a popular form of speed in the 1970s. She found relief in the drug when she was crying in her trailer, worried she wouldn’t look good in a pair of jeans. Pictured: Connie with Joely and Tricia Leigh in 1970

It's a mystery to Joely just what her mother saw in Eddie but her mother always described him as 'delicious'. Rumor in Hollywood had it that Eddie was the most well-endowed lover

It's a mystery to Joely just what her mother saw in Eddie but her mother always described him as 'delicious'. Rumor in Hollywood had it that Eddie was the most well-endowed lover

It’s a mystery to Joely just what her mother saw in Eddie but her mother always described him as ‘delicious’. Rumor in Hollywood had it that Eddie was the most well-endowed lover

He had divorced America’s sweetheart, actress Debbie Reynolds to marry Elizabeth Taylor, just three and a half hours later in 1959 – after becoming close when Liz’s husband Mike Todd died in an airplane crash the year before.

With the divorce, he also ran out on his baby daughter by Debbie, actress Carrie Fisher.

But five years after their marriage, Eddie was kicked to the curb by Taylor, who was now in love with Richard Burton. 

The singer was on the prowl when he met Connie who ‘was popping pills, partying, and trying to stay one step ahead of the sadness’ following her divorce, Joely writes.

It’s a mystery to Joely just what her mother saw in Eddie but her mother always described him as ‘delicious’.

Rumor in Hollywood had it that Eddie was the most well-endowed lover in town which Joely’s half sister, Carrie Fisher confirmed in her autobiography, ‘Wishful Drinking’.

Eddie was a nice Jewish boy from South Philly who never graduated from high school but as a teenager he was already singing on the radio. It wasn’t long before record contracts came in and his fortunes skyrocketed.

He was called the Coca-Cola kid named after his musical variety television series, Coke Time that debuted in 1953 and gave him a million dollar contract.

He had 35 songs in the top 40 between 1950-1956. Women swooned over him and he loved it.’ He loved the fame, the feeling of being Eddie Fisher’, Joely writes. 

Connie thought she could change him and his wild sexual ways. 

Eddie had divorced America's sweetheart, actress Debbie Reynolds (pictured together in 1958) to marry Elizabeth Taylor, just three and a half hours later in 1959

Eddie had divorced America's sweetheart, actress Debbie Reynolds (pictured together in 1958) to marry Elizabeth Taylor, just three and a half hours later in 1959

Eddie had divorced America’s sweetheart, actress Debbie Reynolds (pictured together in 1958) to marry Elizabeth Taylor, just three and a half hours later in 1959

But five years after the lovebirds' marriage, Eddie was kicked to the curb by Taylor (pictured at their wedding ceremony in 1959), who was now in love with actor Richard Burton

But five years after the lovebirds' marriage, Eddie was kicked to the curb by Taylor (pictured at their wedding ceremony in 1959), who was now in love with actor Richard Burton

But five years after the lovebirds’ marriage, Eddie was kicked to the curb by Taylor (pictured at their wedding ceremony in 1959), who was now in love with actor Richard Burton

Connie got pregnant quickly but he wasn’t anxious to get married. After her second pregnancy, Frank Sinatra gave Eddie his private plane and told him to take her to Puerto Rico and marry her.

He did but it didn’t make him a good father and he didn’t stick around long.

Joely remembers her first exposure to drug use as a toddler.

‘I had a baby’s eye view of my own father tying off, prepping a needle and injecting drugs into his veins’.

Eddie first got addicted when he lost his voice but still had to perform. Someone suggested he get help from the infamous Dr. Max Jacobson, well known as Dr. Feelgood who had treated President Kennedy and Jackie, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and even Elvis.

The doctor described his mystery concoction of the best speed as a unique ‘energy formula’ and after shooting up, Eddie was hooked.

Eddie wrote her a letter when she was a child, ‘out of severe guilt and remorse, and of course, higher than a kite’. He wrote he was supposed to be the one to ‘clean things up’.

Years later when she came across the note, she felt compassionate.’I knew my father and I share some of the same demons’.

The letter was the first handwriting she had ever seen from her father – she only knew his autograph. 

Eddie’s marriage with Connie ended when she found him in bed with two Swedish women. He then married 21-year-old former Miss Louisiana Terry Richard. 

Joely (pictured with her father, mother and sister in 2007) said Eddie wrote her a letter some years later, 'out of severe guilt and remorse, and of course, higher than a kite'. He wrote he was supposed to be the one to 'clean things up'

Joely (pictured with her father, mother and sister in 2007) said Eddie wrote her a letter some years later, 'out of severe guilt and remorse, and of course, higher than a kite'. He wrote he was supposed to be the one to 'clean things up'

Joely (pictured with her father, mother and sister in 2007) said Eddie wrote her a letter some years later, ‘out of severe guilt and remorse, and of course, higher than a kite’. He wrote he was supposed to be the one to ‘clean things up’

Joely's accountant fudged the books and didn't pay their taxes for five years. All their money was gone and she and her husband are still trying to recover from financial devastation seven years later. She's now launched a new career as a director so she's working through her anxieties of her career not delivering her dreams 

Joely's accountant fudged the books and didn't pay their taxes for five years. All their money was gone and she and her husband are still trying to recover from financial devastation seven years later. She's now launched a new career as a director so she's working through her anxieties of her career not delivering her dreams 

Joely’s accountant fudged the books and didn’t pay their taxes for five years. All their money was gone and she and her husband are still trying to recover from financial devastation seven years later. She’s now launched a new career as a director so she’s working through her anxieties of her career not delivering her dreams 

Some time later, Joely and her sister Tricia Leigh Fisher went to visit their father at his ranch in Palmdale, California, in a plane piloted by his plastic surgeon and ‘possibly dealer’, Joely writes.

The girls saw an eyeful at the ranch: a round bed with satin sheets and cocaine paraphernalia everywhere.

‘I was definitely a kid who knew what it was and why it was there’, she writes.

But Eddie wasn’t the only parent indulging in drugs. Connie was as well but she was also ‘a full-time showbiz mom’.

Connie also got hooked on speed in the form of Black Beauties, a combination of Amphetamine (speed) and Dextroamphetamine – a popular form of speed in the 1970s that was often prescribed to treat ADHD and obesity in extreme cases.

She found relief in the drug when she was crying in her trailer, worried that she wouldn’t look good in the jeans that the studio wanted her to wear on camera.

The drug not only suppressed her appetite but also gave her a much-needed burst of energy when she was ‘dragging’ – as well as a feeling of euphoria.

‘So I bore witness to my mom’s reliance on a pharmacopeia of beauties through her life’.

Joely was out on the road and on stage with her mother at an early age.

She toured New England for weeks in the summer of 1980 when Connie was on a double bill with actor/comedian George Burns and realized then she was ‘beginning to develop my own relationship with the audience’.

As a teenager, Joely (pictured with Connie in 1979) went to nightclubs with her mother and stayed there until nine the following morning

As a teenager, Joely (pictured with Connie in 1979) went to nightclubs with her mother and stayed there until nine the following morning

As a teenager, Joely (pictured with Connie in 1979) went to nightclubs with her mother and stayed there until nine the following morning

After her first two marriages, Connie gave up believing marriage could work, despite having flings with Elvis, Bill Medley and Neil Armstrong. Joely writes: 'My mom never ended up with greatness. These serious relationships she had after my dad, well, none of the men were ever as successful as my mother. She didn't want to lose that upper hand'

After her first two marriages, Connie gave up believing marriage could work, despite having flings with Elvis, Bill Medley and Neil Armstrong. Joely writes: 'My mom never ended up with greatness. These serious relationships she had after my dad, well, none of the men were ever as successful as my mother. She didn't want to lose that upper hand'

After her first two marriages, Connie gave up believing marriage could work, despite having flings with Elvis, Bill Medley and Neil Armstrong. Joely writes: ‘My mom never ended up with greatness. These serious relationships she had after my dad, well, none of the men were ever as successful as my mother. She didn’t want to lose that upper hand’

She was feeling the love that she saw her mother draw out from audiences and she was hooked. She wanted to get in the same business.

As a teenager she went to nightclubs with her mom and stayed there until nine the following morning. Joely was getting hooked on the life that Connie was leading.

She also learned how to expertly roll joints for Connie who enlisted her to build up a stockpile.

And she replenished the silver cigarette box on the bar for guests. Joely remembers Lucille Ball smoking a joint from that cigarette box.

So when her older half-sister, Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia in the Star Wars film, came over to visit with John Belushi and her then-fiancé, Dan Aykroyd, she knew they were high on something.

‘From that point in my life, I was no longer naïve about what would turn out to be a family trait’.

After her first two marriages, Connie gave up believing marriage could work, despite having flings with Elvis, Bill Medley and Neil Armstrong.

‘My mom never ended up with greatness. These serious relationships she had after my dad, well, none of the men were ever as successful as my mother. She didn’t want to lose that upper hand’.

Connie reinvented herself in the 1980s when her bookings were diminishing.

One day, when her half-sister, Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia in the Star Wars film, came over to visit with John Belushi and her then-fiancé, Dan Aykroyd, she knew they were high on something. Pictured: Aykroyd and Carrie in 1978 

One day, when her half-sister, Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia in the Star Wars film, came over to visit with John Belushi and her then-fiancé, Dan Aykroyd, she knew they were high on something. Pictured: Aykroyd and Carrie in 1978 

One day, when her half-sister, Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia in the Star Wars film, came over to visit with John Belushi and her then-fiancé, Dan Aykroyd, she knew they were high on something. Pictured: Aykroyd and Carrie in 1978 

Pictured: Singer Eddie Fisher and daughter, actress Carrie Fisher

Pictured: Singer Eddie Fisher and daughter, actress Carrie Fisher

Pictured: Singer Eddie Fisher and daughter, actress Carrie Fisher

Carrie got to be Princess Leia 'but I am also a superhero when it comes to the way I dealt with my demons', Joely concludes. Pictured: Debbie Reynolds, Carrie and Joely Fisher in 2010

Carrie got to be Princess Leia 'but I am also a superhero when it comes to the way I dealt with my demons', Joely concludes. Pictured: Debbie Reynolds, Carrie and Joely Fisher in 2010

Carrie got to be Princess Leia ‘but I am also a superhero when it comes to the way I dealt with my demons’, Joely concludes. Pictured: Debbie Reynolds, Carrie and Joely Fisher in 2010

A friend introduced her to a line of beauty products and wanted to use her name. Connie was only game if the products were good.

If she was going to sell products, she wanted to be able to use them herself.

So she started experimenting with ingredients and came up with what was a winning formula, Forever Spring and she signed a lucrative deal at the Home Shopping Network.

For a while it was great and she was buying more real estate – a home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Mexico, a New York apartment.

On more than one occasion she told her daughter, ‘I’m not going to die the cream lady’, but she passed on the big offer from Revlon to buy her out but keep her on as CEO and figurehead.

Their plan was to put her products in every department store as well as in beauty supply stores like Sephora.

‘Well, if Revlon can do it, I’ll do it myself’, she foolishly said and parted ways with the Home Shopping Network as well as people involved as partners from the top who now demanded money.

She bought a building on Robertson Boulevard in LA, created a spa where the products were used and sold. But it didn’t fly. ‘The empire started to crumble’.

Connie had used her own money to get back into show business, financed a movie and Joely started hearing the word ‘foreclosure’ again.

Eddie's fifth wife, Betty Lin, was a Chinese businesswoman who lived in San Francisco. She sent him to Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic to clean up. Eddie died at age 82 in 2010

Eddie's fifth wife, Betty Lin, was a Chinese businesswoman who lived in San Francisco. She sent him to Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic to clean up. Eddie died at age 82 in 2010

Eddie’s fifth wife, Betty Lin, was a Chinese businesswoman who lived in San Francisco. She sent him to Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic to clean up. Eddie died at age 82 in 2010

Connie had bought five houses when she was flush and the total cost of monthly mortgages was $74,000. So she had to sell off some of her old jewelry to make the payments.

Eddie had spent money the same way. They had once played gin together for hours.

Eddie couldn’t pass a table in a gambling palace without betting. One night at the Sands Hotel in Vegas, he lost $750,000 in one sitting.

Joely connected with Eddie when she was older. They’d go shopping for things they loved in common – like matching velvet loafers and just hang out.

Joely Fisher's new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures, out on November 14

Joely Fisher's new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures, out on November 14

Joely Fisher’s new book, Growing Up Fisher, Musings, Memories & Misadventures, out on November 14

Eddie thought she had a great voice and that’s what Joely wanted to know from the man with the ‘velvet voice’.

As best he could, they developed a relationship trying to recapture the early years.

Eddie’s fifth wife, Betty Lin, was a Chinese businesswoman who lived in San Francisco. She sent him to Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic to clean up.

Betty left a trust for Eddie but it was contested when she died and Eddie ended up destitute.

He had nothing left – some old records, his eye glasses, dry cleaning, a box of bow ties and a large bag of empty prescription bottles.

When he died at age 82 in September 2010, Eddie was buried in a Chinese cemetery in San Francisco where some Hells Angels were also buried.

Connie doesn’t look like herself anymore after her stroke in 2016.

‘You’d have to really be a connoisseur of all things sixties to recognize her’.

She isolates herself and never goes out.

Joely’s accountant fudged the books and didn’t pay their taxes for five years. All their money was gone and she and her husband are still trying to recover from financial devastation seven years later.

She’s now launched a new career as a director so she’s working through her anxieties of her career not delivering her dreams.

Carrie got to be Princess Leia ‘but I am also a superhero when it comes to the way I dealt with my demons’, Joely concludes. 

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