Remembering Carrie Fisher, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas said, “She was our great and powerful princess — feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
The actress, who rose to fame as the intergalactic heroine Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise and went on to establish herself as writer with an acerbic comic flair, died at 60 on Tuesday after three days in intensive care in Southern California; she suffered a heart attack Friday during a flight to Los Angeles from London.
Her role in 1977’s “Star Wars,” the character of Leia Organa — smart, funny and fearless with hair buns on both sides of her head – inspired generations of girls to be bold, while inspiring crushes in generations of boys.
Fisher’s offscreen life was more messy, marked by drug abuse, a complicated family history and struggles with mental illness – all of which she would use as material for lacerating comedy in numerous works of fiction and nonfiction.
Born into Hollywood royalty on Oct. 21, 1956, to singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds (who divorced when she was 2), Fisher rocketed to fame in her own right when director Lucas cast her in his space opera while she was a teen.
In the wake of “Star Wars,” Fisher acted in films such as “When Harry Met Sally …,” but it wasn’t until she turned to writing with the semi-autobiographical 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge” that she began to define herself outside “Star Wars.” In that work, she satirized her own acting career, her struggle with drug abuse and bipolar disorder and her sometimes stormy relationship with her mother.
“I started reading really early. I wanted to impress my father, who is unimpressable” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2008. “My family called me ‘the bookworm’ and they didn’t say it in a nice way. I fell in love with words…. By about 16 I wanted to be Dorothy Parker.”
Fisher wrote several more novels, and again using her life as material, published a 2008 memoir called “Wishful Drinking,” based on a one-woman show she performed on Broadway. She also was one of the film industry’s most in-demand script doctors.
In her 2016 memoir “The Princess Diarist,” Fisher revealed she had an affair with co-star Harrison Ford.
Fisher – who was married to singer Paul Simon in the early 1980s and had a daughter, Billie Catherine Lourd (with talent agent Bryan Lourd) never shied away from intimate subjects. On social media, she cultivated a wise-cracking persona, posting droll one-liners or photos of her French bulldog Gary.
— Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times
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