The nit showed up in the AP report of Eddie Fisher's death:
His fame was enhanced by his 1955 marriage to movie darling Debbie Reynolds. They were touted as “America’s favorite couple’’ -- and the birth of two children.I tried to guess what was left out of that second sentence, but I wasn't even close. In fact, it was a tiny edit -- one sentence repunctuated as two --- that caused all the mischief. In other publications, the line reads this way:
His fame was enhanced by his 1955 marriage to movie darling Debbie Reynolds -- they were touted as "America's favorite couple" -- and the birth of two children.So what happened? It's possible that an editor, somewhere along the line, looked skeptically at that sentence -- did the arrival of two children really enhance Fisher's fame? -- and started to improve the wording. Or maybe a reflexive dash-hater attacked, not noticing that the edit left those two children grammatically unmoored. Either way, this is probably an example of the "editor, interrupted" syndrome, which often leaves crumbs on the pages of newspapers.
I also had a problem (though not a punctuation problem) with the next sentence in the obit, but I'll leave you to find it (or ignore it, as all the editors seem to have done). Me, I would add one little letter and make it all OK. You?
Their daughter Carrie Fisher became a film star herself in the first three "Star Wars" films as Princess Leia, and later as a best-selling author of "Postcards From the Edge" and other books.