If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go on a date with Carrie Fisher, Tom Coleman has the answer – and a story of one of the weirdest nights of his life.
Back in 1978, Tom was a 27-year-old filmmaker who had bagged a nomination for his French-language movie Madame Rosa. Star Wars was also up for an Oscar, but Princess Leia actress Carrie had no plans to attend the ceremony. Neither did Tom.
However, a persistent publicist hatched a plan to send them along together – and soon Tom found himself on a double date with Carrie, dressed up in a tux and heading to the Oscars in LA.
The film producer has now penned an account of that evening for the Hollywood Reporter, involving an encounter with Steven Spielberg, a waltz with Debbie Reynolds and a party at Richard Dreyfuss’s place.
He recalls: “As I got out of the car and approached her front door, Carrie burst out, saw me standing sheepishly in my tux and said, ‘Wow — this is just like prom!’ She twirled in her dress and added, ‘What do ya think?’
“Her smile lit me up, and I could only mumble, ‘You look great.’ She was a real-life princess.”
They all ended up at a Star Wars party with George Lucas, Madam Rosa won its Oscar, Star Wars won seven categories, and John Travolta popped by to say hello.
Revealing her classic sense of humour, Carrie even tried to kid her Singin’ in the Rain star mother Debbie Reynolds that she and Tom were an item – before persuading her to give Tom a dance.
“And that’s how it came to be that I waltzed with the extraordinary woman who had danced with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and other greats,” Tom writes. “She was lovely and made me feel like Astaire.”
The two only met again in 1984, when Tom recalls a “touch of sadness” about her. “I really did have fun that night,” she told him in parting.
Looking back, Carrie’s unexpected date writes: “My Oscar night with Carrie will always be one of my most cherished memories, a time when everything seemed possible. And I am so grateful for my brief moment with this wonderful woman.”