Fisher had a close relationship with his mother, a pediatric nurse, who worked hard to raise her children in the low-income Patterson projects. Fisher’s father, however, struggled with dependence on alcohol and gambling. After losing the rent and grocery money to his addictions, he often physically abused Fisher’s mother and siblings. By the time Fisher was a teenager, his father had abandoned the family. Fisher grew protective of his siblings, and always looked out for his family.
Most children, suffering from a lack of parental supervision, wandered the neighborhood and fended for themselves on the streets. Fisher often found himself holding his own in fights on the block. His penchant for street fighting eventually landed him in Elmyra Reformatory, where he served two years on an assault charge as a teenager. He dropped out of high school shortly thereafter.
After he was released from Elmyra, Fisher began hustling for quick money. Guy Fisher (pictured above) started off selling cheese and cold cuts from a van on Harlem street corners. He soon became frustrated with the long hours and low wages. Fisher decided to change careers, he used his street contacts and the money he had saved to purchase heroin. Fisher’s profits increased significantly, despite this, Fisher was often seen in warm-up suits and sneakers. He made cash selling bags to people outside department stores, and often pedaling clothes at a discount. During this time, Fisher began dating a young woman named Olive MacDonald. She, in turn, put Fisher in touch with Leroy “Nicky” Barnes, by then a notorious drug kingpin. Barnes saw potential in Fisher, and took the young man under his wing.
In early 1978, using the money he had earned through the heroin trade, Fisher purchased and renovated the crumbling Apollo Theater in Harlem.