The tweet by her co-star Mark Hamill summed up Hollywood’s general reaction to the death of one of its most iconic and unconventional stars. Carrie Fisher died on December 27 after suffering a heart attack on a flight. She was 60, and leaves behind several films, books, television series, and a rich side career in script doctoring.
Fisher is best known across the world for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies. She was 17 when she was signed up by George Lucas to play the rebel princess who is the sister of Hamill’s Luke Skywalker character. In a 2011 interview, Fisher recalled that “this goofy, little three-month hang-out with robots did something unexpected”. Star Wars, the first in a trilogy and part of a larger continuing billion-dollar franchise, “exploded across the firmament of pop culture, taking all of us along with it”, Fisher noted.
Born on October 21, 1956, to the 1950s star Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher made her screen debut in Robert Towne’s political satire Shampoo in 1975.
Fisher became a global icon after the Star Wars films, in which she was paired with Harrison Ford’s dashing pilot Han Solo. The outspoken actress, who later battled addiction and mental illness, was critical of many aspects of the productions, from her hairstyle to her notorious metal bikini in Return of the Jedi (1983) to the often corny dialogue. A typical Fisher remark to Lucas: “You can type this stuff, but you can’t say it.”
Fisher was equally outspoken about her bipolar disorder, which she discussed in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge in 1987 and her memoirs. Fisher wrote the screenplay for the screen adaptation by Mike Nichols, starring Meryl Streep as Suzanne, an actress and a recovering drug addict.
Fisher’s other film credits include The Blues Brothers (1980), Garbo Talks (1984), Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) and When Harry Met Sally (1989). She made a comeback as Princess Leia in the 2015 blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Apart from doctoring numerous scripts and writing books and novels, Fisher also appeared on television, often as herself. In Catastrophe, she plays Mia, the acerbic mother of Rob Delaney’s character.
Her wit, intelligence and honesty animated her numerous public appearances, where she spared nobody, least of all herself.