Today there was a sad followup of a genre news item from over the weekend, and a terrible disturbance in the force. Carrie Fisher died following the heart attack she suffered while traveling back from London where she was working on what has become the last role she filmed, on season 3 of Catastrophe. The name of the show is so fitting.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Carrie Fisher, the actress and writer best known for her iconic role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack four days earlier while onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60.
Family spokesperson Simon Halls confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning. She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” Halls’ statement read.
Rolling Stone has comments from many who worked with her, and quoted Fisher from past interviews talking about her most famous role, Princess Leia:
“She has no friends, no family; her planet was blown up in seconds – along with her hairdresser – so all she has is a cause,” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 1983 of the role. “From the first film [A New Hope], she was just a soldier, front line and center. The only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry. In Return of the Jedi, she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let’s not forget that these movies are basically boys’ fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.”
“Lucas always had to remind me to ‘Stand up! Be a princess!’ And I would act like a Jewish princess and lean forward, slouching, chewing gum,” Fisher once joked.
Fisher also saw parallels between Princess Leia, the lost daughter of the series’ villain Darth Vader, and her own unique childhood as the daughter of two Fifties superstars; Fisher endured both her mother’s highly publicized divorces as well as her father’s own issues with substance abuse (“He’s a little shellshocked from 13 years of doing speed, but he’s real friendly,” she said in 1980 of Eddie Fisher, who died in 2010.)
“Leia’s real father left her mother when she was pregnant, so her mother married this King Organa. I was adopted and grew up set apart from other people because I was a princess,” Fisher said. “A lot of parallels, me and Leia. Dad goes off to the dark side, and Mom marries a millionaire. My brother and I went in different directions on the Debbie and Eddie issue. He’s gotten involved with Jesus, and I do active work on myself, trying to make myself better and better. It’s funny.”
The New York Times had this to say about how Fisher played Princess Leia, along with her personal problems:
Winning the admiration of countless fans, Ms. Fisher never played Leia as helpless. She had the toughness to escape the clutches of the monstrous gangster Jabba the Hutt and the tenderness to tell Han Solo, as he is about to be frozen in carbonite, “I love you.” (Solo, played by Harrison Ford, caddishly replies, “I know.”)
Offscreen, Ms. Fisher was open about her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She gave her dueling dispositions the nicknames Roy (“the wild ride of a mood,” she said) and Pam (“who stands on the shore and sobs”). She channeled her struggles with depression and substance abuse into fiercely comic works, including the semiautobiographical novel “Postcards From the Edge” and the one-woman show “Wishful Drinking,” which she turned into a memoir.
For all the attention she received for playing Princess Leia, Ms. Fisher enjoyed poking wicked fun at the character, as well as at the fantastical “Star Wars” universe. “Who wears that much lip gloss into battle?” she asked in a recent memoir, “The Princess Diarist.”
Fisher demonstrated her skill as a writer with the best-selling 1987 novel “Postcards From the Edge,” about an actress struggling to rebuild her career after an overdose. Fisher wrote the screenplay for the 1990 film adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Fisher also penned the autobiographical 2008 book “Wishful Drinking,” based on her one-woman stage show of the same name. She had recently been promoting her newly published memoir of her “Star Wars” years, “The Princess Diarist.”
In her writing and in public, Fisher was revealing about her battles with drugs and mental health issues. Her outspokenness about addiction earned her a lifetime achievement award from Harvard College in 2016 for cultural humanitarianism.
While Carrie Fisher had roles in several other movies and television series, including Shampoo, The Blues Brothers, The Man with One Red Shoe, Hannah and Her Sisters, When Harry Met Sally, The ‘Burbs, The Big Bang Theory, Entourage, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, and Catastrophe, she will always be best known for her work on Star Wars. This launched her to fame, was the subject of recent romantic revelations to make the news, and she had the opportunity to return to this role late in her life–with scenes already filmed for the next installment. People reports:
Of returning to the role that launched her career – Leia – for The Force Awakens, Fisher told PEOPLE in 2015, “I knew that something enormous was likely going to impact my life from this film and that there was absolutely no way of understanding what that was or was likely to be.”
The film – which brought Fisher back into the spotlight – earned her a nomination for the 2016 Saturn Award for best supporting actress. She had already filmed scenes for the next Star Wars installment, Episode VIII, due out in December 2017.
Just last month, Fisher also revealed her surprising on-set affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford in The Princess Diarist, telling PEOPLE of the three-month fling during the making of the 1977 movie, “It was so intense.” The memoir, which drew from Fisher’s old diaries and notebooks, brought up mixed feelings for the actress.