Carrie Fisher, ‘Star Wars’ Actress and Writer Who Rocketed to Fame as Princess Leia, Dies at 60

Carrie Fisher dead
20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm/REX/Shutterstock

Carrie Fisher, the actress, writer and daughter of Hollywood royalty who became internationally famous as Princess Leia of “Star Wars,” has died, Variety has confirmed. She was 60.

Fisher died Tuesday morning after suffering what was described as a massive heart attack on Friday while on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She had been in London filming episodes of the Amazon/Channel 4 comedy “Catastrophe.” Fisher was rushed from Los Angeles International Airport to UCLA Medical Center after the plane landed around noon PT.

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, confirmed the death on Tuesday: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” the statement reads. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”

Fisher was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, whose marriage famously broke up when Eddie Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor. She often remarked that she was born in the spotlight, and her life and career reflected the highs and lows of the entertainment business. Her mother’s career struggles after her 1950s heyday weighed heavily on Fisher.

“I grew up on the back side of show business. So I had no desire to go into it. It had beat up my mother,” Fisher told the New York Times in 2006. “I had a front-and-center view of how that hurt her. I understood that when they were done with you, they were done.”

Related Content Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

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.

After her parents divorced when she was 2, Fisher was estranged from her father for decades until she became his caretaker prior to his death in 2010.

Related

Carrie Fisher Chevy Chase

Hollywood Mourns the Loss of ‘Star Wars’ Actress Carrie Fisher

Fisher got her start in the family business at age 15, when she appeared alongside Reynolds in the 1973 Broadway revival of “Irene.” Two years later she made her film debut in the hit comedy “Shampoo” starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn.

But it was 1977’s “Star Wars,” later re-titled “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” that brought Fisher international recognition. Cloaked in white with her hair parted and tucked into two spiral side twists, the now-legendary character Princess Leia first appeared in the film as the fearless leader of the planet Alderaan, agent of the Rebel Alliance and member of the Imperial Senate.

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement, “Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence. Millions fell in love with her as the indomitable Princess Leia; she will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally. She will be sorely missed, and we join millions of fans and friends around the world who mourn her loss today.”

The film earned six Oscars and launched a franchise of epic proportions. Two sequels followed “A New Hope” — “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983 — to form what is now known as the original trilogy. Three prequels were released years later between 1999 and 2005, in which Fisher did not participate. Then, when a sequel trilogy was announced starting with 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” the actress re-joined the series.

Related

Carrie Fisher’s Life and Career in Photos

In November 2016, Fisher revealed that while filming the original “Star Wars” she had a three-month affair with her co-star Harrison Ford, who was then married to Mary Marquardt. “It was so intense,” Fisher said of the secret affair. “It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.”

Following the original “Star Wars” trilogy, Fisher had a steady career in Hollywood, consistently appearing in films and television, though never in roles with the same global visibility as George Lucas’ creation. Starting in the early 1990s, Fisher became a much sought-after script doctor for films.

Her performance in Nora Ephron’s 1989 romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally” opposite Bruno Kirby was a standout performance, as was her role the same year in “The ‘Burbs,” a black comedy starring Tom Hanks. More recently, her guest shot on NBC’s “30 Rock” earned her an Emmy nomination in 2008. Her guest role as the caustic mother, Mia, on “Catastrophe” also earned good notices.

Her other notable film performances include “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Garbo Talks” (1984), “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1990), “Soapdish” (1991), “Austin Powers” (1997) and “Scream 3” (2000). Her many TV appearances included guest shots on “Frasier,” “Sex and the City,” “Entourage,” “Smallville,” “Weeds,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.” Fisher was a semi-regular voice actor on Fox’s “Family Guy,” as the boss of the brewery where patriarch Peter Griffin works.

As a writer, Fisher wrote episodes of “Roseanne” and “Young Indiana Jones.” She co-wrote the 2001 ABC TV movie “These Old Broads,” which starred Reynolds, Taylor, MacLaine and Joan Collins as actresses enjoying a sudden career revival. Fisher’s stage show “Wishful Drinking” became a 2010 HBO special that earned an Emmy nomination for variety, music or comedy special.

Fisher’s personal life was also tumultuous. She began dating musician Paul Simon in 1977 and married him in 1983, but the union lasted less than a year. Fisher had one child, daughter Billie Catherine Lourd in 1992, with CAA managing partner Bryan Lourd. Fisher’s relationship with Lourd ended in 1994 and, although they were never married, Fisher frequently referred to Lourd in interviews as her second husband. She was candid in her writing and elsewhere about the emotional experience of having Lourd leave her for a man.

In addition to her mother and daughter, Fisher’s survivors include a brother, Todd.

Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 20

Leave a Reply

20 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. E says:

    2016, you are relentless.

    Farewell Princess Leia, bon voyage to the far away galaxy and beyond :'(.

  2. ---- says:

    Most human beings in the world die in their 70s. Over 90+ if you’re rich and famous.

    Zsa Zsa Gabor was the oldest living female celebrity in Hollywood, she was only two months shy of turning 100! So far Kirk Douglas has reached 100, he is the most famous centenarian in Hollywood!

  3. ralf tarifa says:

    when i saw you first in cinema as the most beautiful princess of the universe, i felt in love within seconds… i always thought that you could never die. and you didn’t. you will always be the most beautiful princess for me. and for generations. R.I.P. Carrie.

  4. dee says:

    I’m so sad for Carrie’s mother, brother, daughter, half-sister and her friends. They lost a beautiful, witty person. R.I.P.

  5. Ken says:

    Terribly sad news. Deepest condolences to her mother, her brother…and all of Ms. Fisher’s friends and colleagues.

  6. I know you’re reading this in the heavens, just know that you changed so many lives for the better and for that we all will miss you until we see you again in that Galaxy we love so much.

  7. loco73 says:

    REST Easy and in Peace Carrie Fisher my prayers and condolences to her family and friends! This woman’s face and image were a constant presence throughout my childhood and she was also a reminder of why I loved and still love movies! It is always that much sadder and painful after someone who in a way you have known for most of your life goes away especially at this time of the year…a year which has already shown enough loss and pain…

  8. JOE S HILL says:

    Many great condolences to Debbie Reynolds and her (and our) loss! Carrie Fisher will forever be known and remembered in the “STAR WARS” franchise. may the force truly be with her!

  9. Falconsnacks says:

    Heartbroken…I’m just heartbroken. Icon is just too small of a word to describe Carrie Fisher. As a STAR WARS fan since the 70s watching The Saga from now on will bring about even deeper emotions for me than ever before. R.I.P. Carrie. :(

  10. Phun says:

    RIP Princess Leia! You are now one with the Force. :(

  11. MrEguy says:

    Carrie was brilliant, in so many ways. Witty, tenacious, beautiful. I really hoped she would make it through… but, as usual, the Universe had other plans. F-U, Universe!

  12. lwmtem says:

    Grew up singing at home to her father’s voice on TV and her mom at the movies and enjoyed Carrie’s performances. Truly sad and heartbroken for her mother!

  13. Rudy Mario says:

    Very saddened.
    RIP.

  14. Caligari says:

    Pretty sure she did uncredited rewrites on the SW PREQUELS.

    RIP Carrie.

  15. WLee says:

    I was hoping she would pull through but I guess it was not to be. R.I.P. Princess Leia and 2016 get out of here already because you freakin SUCK…….

  16. michael says:

    You are now one with the Force

  17. victoriamemorial says:

    Heartbroken.

  18. She also has a half sister, actress Joely Fisher.

  19. Mason says:

    May the force be with her. So sad.

More Film News from Variety

Loading