Celebrity News January 31, 2022
Carleton Carpenter, Whose Duet with Debbie Reynolds Sold 1 Million Records, Dies at 95
Carleton Carpenter, an actor, dancer, and singer who cemented his Hollywood legacy with the mile-a-minute duet "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Debbie Reynolds, died Monday in his Warwick, New York, home. He was 95.
Born July 10, 1926, in Bennington, Vermont, he traveled to Manhattan by bus at 17 and landed his first Broadway show the same day he arrived. According to a 2017 interview, he saw a notice for a play looking for young men his age, so he figured, "I'll just go get that after lunch."
Though the play, "Bright Boy," ran for just 16 performances, it was a start. His career on the stage would last for some 70 years, and include appearing with Angela Lansbury in her 1957 Broadway debut "Hotel Paradiso," touring in "Hello, Dolly!" with Mary Martin in 1965, and his final Broadway appearance, in 1992's "Crazy for You."
Signed to MGM, he acted in the movie "Lost Boundaries" (1949), about a light-skinned Black family passing as white, then made rapid-fire appearances in "Father of the Bride" (1950) with Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire's "Three Little Words" (1950), and "Summer Stock" (1950) with Judy Garland.
But it was in "Two Weeks with Love" in 1950 that Carpenter tasted his greatest film success, singing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Reynolds, who became a lifelong friend. The song, which was in the film due to finagling on his part, was such a hit it led to the pair touring what was left of the vaudeville circuit to promote it, selling a million copies in the process.
They reunited to sing it at a benefit in 1971, and again at Cinecon in L.A. in 2012.
When Reynolds died in 2016, Carpenter said it was "awful" for him. "I had over a hundred messages on my machine when I got home, and I was very sick."
Other films include "Fearless Fagan" (1952) with Janet Leigh, "Sky Full of Moon" (1952), and "Some of My Best Friends Are..." (1971).
On TV, Carpenter was a regular on the NBC show "Campus Hoopla" (1946), acted in many anthology series, and guested on such series as "The Goldbergs" (1956), "The Millionaire" (1959), "Father Knows Best" (1960), "Perry Mason" (1963), and "The Ropers" (1979).
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In the '70s and '80s, Carpenter published mystery novels, including "Only Her Hairdresser Knew" (1973) and "Sleight of Hand" (1975). His 2016 memoir "The Absolute Joy of Work" (BearManor Media) detailed his relatively uncloseted bisexual romances, his encounters with A-listers, and his service in WWII, which included an unconsummated love for a fellow soldier.
He is survived by nieces, cousins, and longtime friend Alan Eichler.