A long time ago. In a galaxy far, far away…
Carrie Fisher died. Such a final statement that can never convey the sadness that her close friends and family are going through in the wake of her too early passing. Fisher was on a flight from London to LA when she had a heart attack and was transported to Ronald Reagan Hospital in LA. She spent the last few days in stable condition until Tuesday morning. Fisher finally left us and rejoined the force. Although she wanted to be remembered this way…
Introduced to the film franchise that would imprint on me at so young an age. I was 7 when I saw Star Wars for the first time on a scrambled pay channel here in Canada. Only 2 scenes were ever visible during the film: Luke looking out over the Dune Sea at the beginning and the end during the trench run when Obi-Wan tells Luke to use the force. That’s all I ever saw when I watched it (Which I did about 8-10 times before finally seeing it on TV) but I was captivated. During all of those “viewings” I listened to the dialogue becoming aware of the characters, their motivations and quirks.
After I finally got to actually see the movie and the subsequent squeals, I fell even more in love with the series. As I grew older and started to like girls, Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa became one of those early boyhood crushes that we all have growing up. Fisher was tough as nails, beautiful and smarter than those around her. She was the total package. She also made clever quips and one liners. I later learned that in some cases she helped write for the character. This need to improve the dialogue continued throughout her career as she went on to eventually be an accomplished writer, screen writer and ghost writer.
Born to parents Debbie Reynolds & Eddie Fisher, she wasn’t always the best in school but still managed to eventually get into Sarah Lawrence College. Fisher would drop out due to commitments to Star Wars. She continued acting in various film, TV and stage productions. She started her career with 1975’s Shampoo, jumped over to 1977’s Star Wars and then on to Ringo Starr’s 1978 TV special, Ringo. And of course she appeared as Princess Leia in the 1978 TV production Star Wars Holiday Special, and sang in the last scene.
The 80’s saw her continue on with the Star Wars franchise with 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi. The Rolling Stone from summer 1983 with her on the cover in the bikini outfit Leia wears on Jabba’s sail barge continues to be a topic of discussion to this day. She also makes a brief but memorable appearance in 1980’s The Blues Brothers. 1987 saw the first of her forays into publishing with the release of Postcards from the Edge, a semi-autobiographical satirical look at her real-life drug addiction and her relationship with her mother, Debbie Reynolds. She closed out the decade with roles in 1989’s When Harry Met Sally and The ‘Burbs.
1990 opened with Fisher’s book Postcards from the Edge being optioned for a film at Colombia Pictures. Carrie Fischer wrote the screenplay based on her book, getting her her first credit as a screenwriter with Meryl Streep & Shirley MacLaine starring as the mother/daughter pair. The film was a critical and box office success also garnering several award nominations. Throughout the 90’s, Fisher continued to act in films like Drop Dead Fred and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. She also continued her novel writing with Surrender the Pink (1990) and Delusions of Grandma (1993). This also marked the beginning of her career as a usually uncredited script doctor for movies such as Lethal Weapon 3, Outbreak and The Wedding Singer.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 28, 2016
After hitting her stride in the mid 90’s as a script doctor, she continued in the 2000s with such properties as Scream 3, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,These Old Broads, and all 3 Star Wars prequels. This wasn’t the first time helping out George Lucas. She had done work back in the day on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. After joining Scream 3, Fisher was on set one day and learned how badly the shoot was going. Carrie jumped in and wrote much of the back half of the finished film.
She never stopped writing prose. In 2004 Fisher wrote the sequel to Postcards, The Best Awful There Is. Fisher went on to write a one woman play called Wishful Drinking in which she performed. Eventually she turned the show into a novel. Her audiobook recording of Wishful Drinking was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2009. In 2015, she returned to the big screen as General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance and had just finished filming Episode VIII.
In November 2016 she published The Princess Diarist, an autobiography in which Fisher claimed that she and Harrison Ford had a three-month affair during the filming of Star Wars in 1976. She spoke brutal honesty most of the time. Her later interviews at first seemed marred by her past addiction battles but soon she was becoming known for that honesty. Fisher started calling out interviewers for asking strangely sexist, misogynistic and degrading questions. In recent years, she took on the mantle of zero fucks given when discussing anything. This lead her to gain more fans that had not been familiar with her expansive body of work. That honesty and dedication was apparent when she openly talked about her personal addictions and mental health battles.
Be Princess Leia in 2017.
Fight on the front lines. Strangle fascists with the chains they would have you wear. Be a motherfuckin’ general.
— K O’Shea (@osheamobile) December 27, 2016
Carrie Fisher’s meteoric rise and subsequent fall with her personal health was something that wasn’t often discussed publicly. In a rare move for Hollywood, Fisher began to speak out. Fisher spoke plainly about having Bipolar Disorder in which many women & men are dealing with daily. She spoke to the world about how difficult it is to live day to day with an awful mental illness. Fisher never seemed to let it stop her from doing anything. She had a wicked sense of humour that got put to good use in Comedy Central’s Roast of William Shatner as well as this clip from 2005 George Lucas’ AFI Lifetime Achievement tribute where she roasts him… something fierce.
She lays into him so good. This is a woman with no fear and a killer sense of humour. It’s hard to argue with anything she says about the guy in any way.
Regardless of all of her success over the years, including her daughter Billie, she always strove for new challenges. To see what lay ahead for will never come now. Sure, we have her role int Episode VIII. But there will be no more new books or interviews showing off her singular strength of character or love for her dog, Gary.
Carrie, you were the dream fantasy of many boys, girls and adults. Showing us what a true Rebel Leader you were every day. Carrie Fisher, 60, “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.”
May the Force be with you!