Odd that I was jus’ recently thumbing through a 1983 People magazine I’ve kept, where ‘Return of the Jedi’ actress Debbie Carrington talked about wearing an Ewok suit, comparing it to a sauna, requiring the crew to continually hand out Gatorade. So it comes as a real blow to my heart-strings to learn she has passed away.
The last time I heard from her was in early July 2017, when she told me that she was making an appearance at a venue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The first time I met Debbie, we were on the set of ‘Return of the Jedi,’ being filmed in the redwoods, near Smith River, California, north of Crescent City.
She was having a difficult time climbing over, under and through the undergrowth of the forest because of the Ewok costume she had on, so I offered to help her by carrying her from one place to another. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
One evening, close to the wrapping up of filming, a bunch of extras, stand-ins and production crew gathered in a motel room in Brookings, Oregon (north of Smith River) and partied into the morning hours. Much debauchery that I cannot admit too, occurred that night.
She and I got so drunk that we went in the bathroom and fell asleep in the bathtub. When I woke up my left side was completely numb from where Debbie was sleeping against me, but that was okay – I drooled in hair, so we called it even.
Not many people know that aside from being an advocate for actors with disabilities (at 3-foot, ten-inches, she lived with dwarfism,) she had a degree in child psychology that she’d earned the University of California, Davis. She was good-natured unless you called her a ‘midget,’ or described her as ‘diminutive,’ then she’d politely educate you — because she was neither.
So once again I am feeling my age as I find that my friend, whose laughter and voice could carry over any size crowd, has passed away. God-speed, Debbie.