Carrie Fisher Dead at 60 – A Life in the Limelight

Shot from Star Wars

The news of Carrie Fisher’s death aged 60 came as no surprise to many. When the public learned that the Star Wars star suffered a heart attack mid flight from London, Heathrow on 23 December this year, social media blew up with well-wishes and many telling 2016 to leave their Princess Leia alone.

2016 has been a bitter year for fans of David Bowie, George Michael, Mohammad Ali, Prince and John Glenn to name but a few of the celebrities, famous and infamous who left this realm for another.  Now Carrie Fisher has joined their ranks amid the cries of pain from her legion of fans.

Carrie Frances Fisher was born into the limelight. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds was a star as well as a household name and her father was Eddie Fisher, the man who spent so much time helping Elizabeth Taylor when her husband died that he left his baby and wife for “Liz.”

With such beginnings it was, perhaps, written in the stars that baby Carrie, who entered this world on 21 October 1956, would have an interesting life. The young Fisher started working in the world of celluloid in 1969, ironically in a Debbie Reynold’s made for TV film – Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.

Next up was the iconic Warren Beatty film Shampoo. A film role that was quickly overshadowed by “a little science fiction movie that should be fun” Star Wars: Episode IV – A New HopeThe rest, as they say, is history.

Those horrific double hair buns of Princess Leia did little to hide Fisher’s beauty or her acting skills and millions of young men and women fell in love with the character and in turn with Carrie.

Life was a constant struggle to control the drugs, her bi-polar disorder and the fame. It was as though her father’s departure all those years ago put a curse on Fisher. The star wrote a number of fictional books but it was not until she performed the cathartic act of writing her memoirs that Carrie became an author of note.

Postcards From the Edge  was her first autobiographical novel, turned into a film with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine in the leads, and it took some of the varnish off the image of Debbie Reynolds. Despite this rather unflattering portrayal of her mother, Reynolds and Fisher got on quite amiably.

In terms of roles other than those for the Star Wars franchise, Fisher seemed to pick parts that poked fun at her heroic image, or at least fell far from the role that made her a household name.

In the 2009 horror film Sorority Row, for instance, she played a rough talking, shotgun wielding sorority house mother. Wes Craven cast Carrie in Scream 3. She was a “Carrie Fisher” lookalike who managed the publicity vaults of a fictional film studio. The gag was that her career was ruined by the “one who slept with George Lucas.”

Away from the film screen, Carrie Fisher was an outspoken woman who took no prisoners. When there were complaints that Princess Leia had not aged as some of her fans thought she should have, Fisher set them straight on social media.

“Deal with it” was Fisher’s message and she meant it.  Now this strong woman who fought battles with her weight, mental illness, those drugs and, above all else, that famous upbringing, is gone.

Carrie died Dec. 27 in hospital with her daughter Billie Lourd attending. Lourd informed People magazine after it happened. Carrie Frances Fisher was 60 years old and an icon.

Alive she was a inspiration to generations of young women. She was also a pinup to a host of youngsters who thought her wardrobe in the 1983 sequel Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was the epitome of sexy.

Throughout her career she had 90 credits under her belt with roles so diverse it amazes. From playing a nun in The Blues Brothers to playing herself onThe Big Bang Theory, Carrie had range for days.

Actress, author, script doctor, mother and daughter, Carrie Fisher will be missed by some and her death mourned by all.  May a host of prayers be heard by her friends and family.

Carrie Fisher
RIP Carrie Frances Fisher

 

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Author: Michael Knox-Smith

World traveler, writer, actor, journalist. Cinephile who reviews films, television, books and interviews professionals in the industry. Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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