I had a really bittersweet but genuinely wonderful opportunity recently. I was contacted by someone who helped put together the public memorial for actors Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. He wanted to create a limited run of memorial pins to sell at the public memorial to honor these two amazing women, and also raise funds for a a charity close to both: The Thalians. I was conversely thrilled to get to be a part of something like this, and also sobered by the loss of these two incredible performers, activists and philanthropists.
The pin itself is a beautiful piece of artwork created by a gentleman named Ricky LaChance and features Ms. Reynolds and Ms. Fisher from behind, wearing a raincoat and white robes respectively, depicting the characters they are best known for: Kathy Selden from Singin’ in the Rain and Princess Leia from Star Wars. It’s sweet and poignant and I was so proud to get to use it on a pin that would be sold to raise money for such a long-standing and important charity.
The Thalians, for those who aren’t familiar with them, are a charity founded in the 1950’s by movie stars of the time who wanted to change the world behind the screen as well as on it. They decided to dedicate the charity to helping children and adults with mental illness, and also to honor other actors and performers for their philanthropic work. Both Reynolds and Fisher have been honored by the Thalians for their charitable works.
After the memorial pins project had wrapped up and the pins were shipped out to the event, which was held on the 25th of March, I was, as I usually am, immediately distracted with a dozen other projects. But over that weekend I started to see images from the memorial on every news outlet you can think of, amongst them were pictures of Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher’s one time fiancee, wearing the pin I helped realize, while speaking at the event. It was such a cool thrill, I must admit.
Even cooler is that people can still purchase these pins on the Thalians website. The money all goes towards the charity and getting one of these pins is both a unique piece of memorabilia as well as a beautiful tribute to two women who changed the face of the entertainment industries in their own undeniable bold ways.