Before Eddie Fisher took his place in history as Elizabeth Taylor's most famous cuckold, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the pop music pantheon with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. Been There, Done That is Fisher's own account of the meteoric rise and painfully long decline of his career.
Edwin Jack Fisher, the son of Russian Jews, was born in Philadelphia in 1928. Although his family was poor and his parents dysfunctional, Fisher found refuge and comfort in his remarkable singing voice. He began performing on radio when he was still in junior high, and by the time he was 15, he says, he was earning more money than his hard-working father. His radio shows and appearances in the Catskills quickly revealed Fisher as a talent to watch. He signed with RCA Records and, after a few false starts, had his first hit, Thinking Of You, in 1950, when he was 22 years old. He boasts that he had more consecutive hit records than the Beatles or Elvis Presley (which is demonstrably untrue) but he did rack up three No. 1's and 16 Top 10's during his 17 years on the charts.
As Fisher tells it, his attention to his career began faltering when he and Debbie Reynolds started dating. Their short and unhappy marriage was doomed, he insists, long before he began his much criticized affair with Elizabeth Taylor. He remains bitter and contemptuous toward Reynolds, but recalls with fondness his passionate marriage to Taylor. That marriage, also brief, ended abruptly when she dropped Fisher for her Cleopatra co-star, Richard Burton. Taylor's incessant illnesses, as well as her flagrant infidelity, took further toll on Fisher's work.
In spite of his outsized ego, Fisher is uproariously self-deprecating when he hits his story-telling stride a few chapters into the book. He is candid about his drug addictions, his failures as a father and husband, his indifference to the quality of songs he recorded, his ineptitude as an actor, and his appetite for beautiful women. On this last note, he claims affairs with Ann-Margaret, Marlene Dietrich, Connie Stevens (whom he also married), Kim Novak, Judith Exner, Juliet Prowse, Stefanie Powers, Mia Farrow, Angie Dickinson, and many more. Edward Morris is a book publisher and journalist.