Beloved Screen Heroine Carrie Fisher Passes Away at Age 60

15:04 December 27, 2016
By: Anthony O'Donnell
Carrie Fisher, an American icon of cinema and pop culture, has died at age 60. The news came Tuesday from a spokesman for the family. "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. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers." Fisher is survived by daughter Lourd, who she had with talent agent Billie Lourd in 1992, and her mother, famed actress Debbie Reynolds. Reynolds, 84, had this to say: "Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop." The news comes four days after Fisher reportedly suffered a heart attack Friday during a flight from London to Los Angeles. 

Fisher had an illustrious career as a screenwriter, author, and producer, as well as a consistently intriguing public figure, but she will undeniably be best remembered for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga. The epic space opera launched in 1977 with A New Hope, in which Leia, initially a captive of the evil Galactic Empire, ends up leading her bumbling would-be rescuers to safety, in a reversal of the damsel-in-distress narrative that made her an idol for many young girls. The film and its sequels had a cultural impact like no other movie series before (and arguably after). Fisher reprised her roles in the film's first two sequels, and continued to deliver iconic performances; the chainmail bikini she sported in 1983's Return of the Jedi took on a life of its own as a costume, and although many have since asked whether the skimpy outfit objectified Leia's character, it's important to remember that the bikini scene ends with her mercilessly strangling a gargantuan alien crime boss with her own chains. The romance between Leia and Harrison Ford's roughneck smuggler Han Solo was equally memorable and unconventional, and according to Fisher, extended offscreen; in her 2016 memoir The Princess Diarist, Fisher wrote that she and Ford, who was fourteen years her senior and married with children, had a passionate affair during the filming of A New Hope.
The type of unabashed confession was nothing new to Fisher, who was a prolific author, writing five novels (some of which bordered on autobiographical,) three books of non-fiction, and four screenplays. Many dealt with her struggles with bipolar disorder, cocaine, and prescription pill abuse; her novel Postcards from the Edge, which she adapted into a play and screenplay, directly dealt with these issues, in a way that was uncommonly honest for a public figure. She also had public dalliances with musician Paul Simon and actor Dan Akroyd. Fisher continued to give forthright, often hilarious interviews in the last years of her life, making her passing particularly tragic. She most recently appeared in Bright Lights, a documentary about her and her mother, and reprised her role as Leia alongside Ford in the long-awaited continuation of the original Star Wars Trilogy, 2015's Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Perhaps fittingly, her final screen appearance will be as Leia in the upcoming Episode VIII, which has yet to receive a subtitle, but is scheduled to be released in December of 2017.
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