It’s been a another sad week for many as science fiction and film icon Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60. She passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday according to the family’s spokesman, Simon Halls. Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in the Rain), a Hollywood icon herself, passed away a day later at the age of 84.
Fisher held many titles; actress, writer, and mental health advocate. Yet, she will be perhaps best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her character was known to be tough, witty, assertive and had some the most quoted lines in the series. What was brilliant about her character was that it was not trying to cater to audiences. It was a time when there were no committees deciding how to best write her so she came across as natural. On top of that, Carrie Fisher’s own sharp and straightforward personality exuded through the character making her feel organic. Even her attire was iconic as she was known for her hair buns in Star Wars: A New Hope and the controversial slave outfit in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Her character has become an archetype for many science fiction heroines by being an excellent balance of toughness and tenderness. Her most recent cinematic performance was a reprisal of her famous Princess Leia role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She will also be later seen in Star Wars Episode VIII.
Aside from acting, Fisher was also an accomplished novelist, having written numerous novels; The Princess Diarist, Postcards from the Edge, Shockaholic, The Best Awful, Delusions Grandma, and Surrender the Pink. Postcards from the Edge was adapted into a film that starred Meryl Streep in the lead role. The novel and film were both considered semi-autobiographical as they dealt with issues of drug abuse and mother-daughter conflict.
All of her books dealt with her personal life including her most recent one, “The Princess Diarist.” That book disclosed previously unknown details of her life like her private affair with co-star Harrison Ford. She was also an uncredited script doctor having polished various scripts from 1991 to 2005. In 2005, she wrote and performed her own play Wishful Drinking. That same year she was also awarded the Women of Vision Award by the Women in Film & Video – DC organization.
Aside from her acting and writing career, she was a major advocate for mental health, having struggled from bipolar disorder and substance abuse. She was very open and vocal about her condition and became a proud poster child for the illness. Her stance was the normalization of medication and the removal of the stigma that people with mental illness cannot live fruitful lives.
Carrie Fisher has always come off as blunt, funny, and strong-willed. Being a feminist and unafraid to express her mind even discussing her disdain of the slave outfit from the Empire Strikes Back. She constantly joked about her fame and status even creating an Instagram account for her dog Gary. There have been many tributes to her but the most heartfelt one has come from Mark Hamil who posted on Facebook, “Carrie was one – of – a – kind who belonged to us all – whether she liked it or not. She was our Princess, damn it, and the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined and tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her and want (sic) her to succeed and be happy.”
She is survived by her brother Todd Fisher, her daughter Billie Lourd, and her half-sisters Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher.