– By J. W. Fox and Paulie Spiceflow –
On December 27th, we lost another cultural icon, one that is especially painful to science fiction fans across the world. Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60.
Born to actress/singer Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she was set on a life in entertainment early on. She attended London’s Central School for Drama at age 16 for about eighteen months before getting her first movie roles. At age 19 she got a role in a space opera called Star Wars, a role that would change the world. From that point on, she would be known as Princess Leia, one of the first strong female characters and heroines in American popular culture. Fisher’s portrayal of Princess Leia became the blueprint for countless heroines in the decades that followed.
No single actor or actress can claim credit for making Star Wars the cultural phenomena it is. For some it is Harrison Ford’s portrayal of nerf-herding, pirate scoundrel Han Solo. For others it is the last of the Jedi Luke Skywalker. Some might say it was the Chewbacca, Lando, the droids, or the terrifying Darth Vader. Carrie Fisher’s role as Princess Leia deserves as much recognition as any for the record-smashing success of the franchise. Not only that, her role in the epic was indispensable. She helped in the escape from the Death Star, saved Luke on Bespin, helped save Han, killed Jabba the Hut, and fought in the Battle of Endor.
Life as an actress is not easy. Fame and fortune solve many problems but can create new ones. For someone as young as Carrie Fisher, it was a particular challenge. She struggled with drug addiction and bipolar disorder, yet managed to overcome to have a long and productive career. Along the way she had romances with several famous men including Paul Simon, Dan Aykroyd, Bryan Lourd, and Harrison Ford (revealed in her latest memoir The Princess Diarist).
Fisher starred in dozens of movies and TV shows spanning four decades. She would later become a writer of novels, screenplays, and several autobiographies. One of her screenplays, Postcards from the Edge, was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley McClaine. It would go on to be nominated for several Academy and Golden Globe Awards. Fisher wrote and performed in her one-woman play Wishful Drinking at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles from November 2006 to January 2007. Her show then played throughout 2008 at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, San Jose, the Hartford Stage,the Arena Stage and Boston. Fisher published her autobiographical book, also titled Wishful Drinking, based on her successful play in 2008. With endearing honesty and dry wit, she spoke of her personal struggles without holding much back. (thank you Wikipedia)
That isn’t all. For most of the past fifteen years she has lent her voice talent to the show Family Guy, as Peter Griffin’s boss Angela. Then, when it was announced in 2013 she would return to Star Wars as Princess Leia in The Force Awakens, millions of fans celebrated. The band was getting back together! Not only that, a CGI rendering of her was used for Rogue One but producers that it was done only out of absolute necessity. No other actress has ever played the role (unless you count the infant in Revenge of the Sith).
Carrie’s daughter Billie Lourd, has followed in her mother’s footsteps. She starred in the TV show Scream Queens and had a minor role in The Force Awakens.
Fisher touched countless lives through her work as well as the endless fan conventions, media tours, and other events over her long and remarkable career. Her memoirs, in particular their focus on the challenges of mental illness and drug addiction, have served as inspiration to so many it is difficult truly capture her impact in words. Thousands of Knights of the Old Republic players gathered online at the House of Organa on Alderaan to honor the actress and her essential role in the movie and game franchise they love so much (you can watch a short video of it above). Celebrities and fans from across the world have paid tribute to a legend both in real life and on screen.
While we have lost Carrie Fisher the woman, her work will stand the test of time. Below is a picture from comic-con with a quote she wished to have added to her obituary: