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Singer Eddie Fisher topped the charts in the 1950s and made headlines when he left wife Debbie Reynolds to become Elizabeth Taylor's fourth husband.
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Singer and entertainer. One the most famous singers of the 1950s, Eddie Fisher was born on August 10, 1928, the fourth of seven children growing up in a poor immigrant neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fisher's parents, Kate and Joe Fisher, were both Russian-born Jewish immigrants, and his father worked first in a leather factory and later peddling fruits and vegetables from the back of his car. Fisher's family was extremely poor, moving frequently to avoid eviction and subsisting for a time on welfare payments. Nevertheless, despite his impoverished childhood, Fisher always believed that he was destined for stardom. He recalls, "Somehow, though, somehow I knew I was going to get out of that world, and I knew that my voice was going to take me out of it."
Nicknamed "Sonny Boy," Fisher discovered his natural vocal talent at a very young age. He remembers, "When I was a small child-I couldn't have been more than three or four years old-I opened my mouth and this beautiful sound came out and, for me, the world was changed forever." Fisher's was a natural talent that required little training or polish. He never once took a voice lesson; "I didn't have to work at it," he says, "I didn't even have to practice." Fisher claims that this vocal gift was responsible for shaping the entire course of his life: "Everything that has happened in my life, the fame I've enjoyed, the fortunes I've earned, the marriages, the affairs, the scandals, even my drug addictions, everything I owe to the fact that when I opened my mouth this sound, this music, came out."
Eddie Fisher entered his first children's talent show at the age of 4 and won first prize-a large cake. After that, he says, "my mother entered me in every amateur contest she heard about and I usually won." As a young boy he tied for first place on the popular radio talent competition, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. Fisher began singing professionally as a 12-year-old in 1940, debuting on local Philadelphia radio station WFIL's program When I Grow Up. For the next several years, Fisher performed on local radio shows such as Magic Lady, Junior Music Hall and Teen Time, earning about $25 per week. Already a local star, Fisher dropped out of high school during his senior year to pursue a full-time music career. Fisher says his parents accepted his decision because the money he earned through his singing helped lift the family out of poverty. "It was not at all unusual for children of poor immigrants to quit school to help support their families," he recalls.
After dropping out of high school, Fisher also began peforming live stage shows.
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