Carrie Frances Fisher (October 21, 1956 December 27, 2016) was an American actress and writer born in Burbank, California. She's most famous for starring as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga. She also starred in Shampoo, The Blues Brothers, Under the Rainbow, Amazon Women on the Moon, Hannah and Her Sisters, When Harry Met Sally..., and Drop Dead Fred.
Of course, she was Hollywood royalty well before Star Wars was made, being the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and the late actress Debbie Reynolds, whose late '50s divorce was one of Hollywood's most infamous scandals of the time, as her father had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Fisher herself was briefly married to Paul Simon.
In her later career, she was primarily focused on her work as a writer, having penned such books as Postcards from the Edge (which was made into a 1990 film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine), Delusions of Grandma, and Surrender the Pink. She also wrote and performed Wishful Drinking, a one-woman play about her life. Rounding it all off, Fisher was one of the most in-demand script doctors during the 1990s, being hired to punch up such films as Hook, Sister Act, and all the Star Wars prequels.
Oh, and she owned the only official copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special, which George Lucas gave to her in exchange for doing the audio commentary for A New Hope. She mostly used the video to evict house guests. By her own admission, she often gave no fucks about anything and spent life just living it.
Fisher died on December 27, 2016 at the age of 60, after going into cardiac arrest during a transatlantic flight four days earlier. Her mother died the next day, her last words being "I want to be with Carrie."
In her book Wishful Drinking, she wrote about her eventual obituary: "I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra." Sure enough, several obituaries and retrospectives featured the line. She was cremated and her ashes were placed in a giant novelty Prozac pill she'd bought a few years earlier.
Carrie Fisher's works provide examples of:
- Black Comedy: When it came to her novels, Fisher was renowned for being able to see the funny side of even the most horrible stuff that happened during her struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder. In fact, it's what made several people struggling with similar issues look up to her—that she was willing to laugh at herself no matter how bad things got.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: She discussed this in her final title, the 2016 The Princess Diarist, in relation to signing autographs and otherwise providing a celebrity encounter for fans at comic conventions, a practice she referred to as "lap dancing". For the fan, the experience is something they'll quite possibly remember for the rest of their life. For her, it was Tuesday, or another day on the job working to make some extra money to support herself.
- But I Play One on TV: On December 23, 2016, in the wake of Fisher going into cardiac arrest and being rushed into intensive care, dozens of media outlets posted the story carrying a headline that read as if it's "Princess Leia," not the actress who portrayed her, who had had the medical emergency.
- The Cameo: She half-jokes in Wishful Drinking that she had her first film roles before she was born, since her movie star mother was pregnant with her when she filmed them. One not only starred both her mother and her father but was, rather appropriately, titled Bundle Of Joy.
- Casting Couch: She joked in her books that this is how she got the role in Star Wars: "I slept with some nerd. I hope it was George". This is also a gag in her Scream 3 cameo. She later brought it up again in glorious fashion during AFI's tribute to George Lucas:Carrie Fisher: And in conclusion, your Honor! I hope I slept with you to get the job, because if not, who the hell was that guy!?
- Dying Moment of Awesome: How she wanted her obituary to read. "I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra." Her own defiant middle finger to both Hollywood sexism and death itself.
- Enforced Method Acting: Her famous slave bikini in Return of the Jedi was apparently just as uncomfortable to wear as it looked, and sometimes left her nether regions visible to people standing behind her. As such, she was likely just as miserable in the scenes as she looked.
- History Repeats: She and her mother both appeared in all-time classic films before the age of 21 which would cast a massive shadow over the rest of their careers: Singin' in the Rain in her mother's case, and (of course) Star Wars in her own.
- I Am Not Spock: Played With and Zig-Zagged with Star Wars.
- It's hard to tell if she was proud or embarrassed or both to have been in it. Her cover of Wishful Drinking has a woman resembling her with Leia buns with her head down and much of the stage show covered her love-hate relationship with it. She has stated that she wished she had turned down the role, though it's unclear if she regretted being in it or simply regretted agreeing to it.
- At some point, she decided to embrace it: she took up the mantle of General Leia in The Force Awakens and appeared in The Last Jedi, albeit posthumously. (Mark Hamill claims she immediately jumped at the opportunity — "I'm in!" — at a meeting between them and Lucas, and even asked if her daughter could have a part in the film as well). She was quite active on the press circuit for TFA as well, often travelling with her dog, who quickly developed his own fandom.Carrie Fisher: George Lucas ruined my life and I mean this in the nicest way possible.
- In a clip from Mark Hamill's tribute video to her, she said in an interview, "I think I am Princess Leia and Princess Leia is me, it's like a mobius strip tease."
- Pun-Based Title: The above mentioned books Wishful Drinking and Delusions of Grandma.
- Self-Deprecation: She used it a lot in her books and interviews, regarding her drug abuse and her acting in Star Wars.Carrie Fisher: You know how they say that religion is the opiate of the masses? Well, I took masses of opiates religiously.
- Again, the giant Prozac pill.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: She has said she was unprepared about being seen as a sex symbol, recounting one incident where a young man happily told her he thought about her "four times a day" from when he was fourteen until he was twenty-one.
- Tangled Family Tree: As detailed by the "Hollywood Inbreeding 101" segment of◊ Wishful Drinking, she has family connections to many Hollywood people. She started to compile them all once her daughter Billie asked Carrie if she could be related to a grandson of Elizabeth Taylor she dated. (in the show, Carrie's response is "you're related by scandal!")
- What Did I Do Last Night?: She was completely whacked out of her skull on drugs during the Star Wars Holiday Special. She's gone on record several times saying she was so high during filming that she has absolutely no memory of taking part in the special at all.
- Write What You Know: Fisher made a good part of her writing career from this, writing what critics called a series of "Fictionalized Autobiographies". Postcards from the Edge concerns her battle with drug addiction, Surrender the Pink dramatizes her first marriage to Paul Simon, Delusions of Grandma recounts her experience with motherhood and relationship with her movie star mother, The Best Awful There Is is roughly based on her relationship with her partner Bryan Lourd (father of her daughter Billie), and her final memoir, The Princess Diarist was an expansion of the diaries she kept while filming A New Hope, including the revelation of a months-long affair with Harrison Ford. (Although this had been an Open Secret for many years before.) It all came full circle in her film These Old Broads, two of whose main characters are partly based on her mother Debbie Reynolds and former stepmother Elizabeth Taylor, and they were played by Reynolds and Taylor themselves (they even share a not-so-subtle joke at the expense of their mutual ex-husband, Eddie Fisher, "Freddie").