It is with great sadness that we report the death of Carrie Fisher, who passed away today at the age of 60 following complications of a heart attack suffered on Christmas Eve.
Born Carrie Frances Fisher in October 1956, she was the daughter of actors Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Fisher and Reynolds divorced when Carrie was two years old, after Fisher had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor (who he later went on to marry). A self-confessed bookworm as a child, writing poetry and reading classic literature, Carrie first appeared on stage at the age of 15 with her mother in a revival of the Broadway musical Irene. In 1973, she enrolled in the London Central School Of Speech And Drama which she attended for eighteen months.
She made her film debut in 1975 with a small role in the movie Shampoo, also starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. Two years later, she took the role that would make her famous: Princess Leia in Star Wars.
Originally describing it as a 'little science-fiction film', she thought of it as a bit of fun, little realising the cultural impact the film would have. As she described it, 'it exploded across the firmament of pop culture, taking all of us along with it'. She describes the process of making the film in her recently released memoir The Princess Diarist, where she also discusses the three-month affair she had with Harrison Ford during the filming of A New Hope.
She reprised her role as Princess Leia for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special (where she sings), The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi and also returned for The Force Awakens, thirty-two years later and still as badass as she ever was.
Away from the Star Wars franchise, she appeared in The Blues Brothers, The Man With One Red Shoe, Hannah And Her Sisters, Appointment With Death and The 'Burbs. She also appeared in When Harry Met Sally..., Drop Dead Fred and Soapdish. She also provided the voice for Angela in Family Guy and has appeared as a heightened version of herself in TV shows such as Sex And The City and a truly brilliant but blink-and-you-miss-her appearance in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
In 1987, she published her first novel Postcards From The Edge, a semi-autobiographical satire of her life and addiction issues (and the somewhat fractious relationship she had with her mother). This was adapted into a film in 1990 starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, for which she wrote the screenplay.
Aside from acting, she also became known as a script doctor, doing uncredited work on such diverse films as Sister Act, Hook, The Wedding Singer, Coyote Ugly, The River Wild, Lethal Weapon 3, Scream 3 (in which she also puts in a lovely cameo as a film studio archivist) and Last Action Hero to name but a few, as well as being hired by George Lucas to polish the dialogue for the Star Wars prequels.
She was always very honest about her years of addiction- with both drugs and alcohol- and her mental health issues (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spoke very candidly about it in the documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive). In 2007, she wrote and performed a one-woman show called Wishful Drinking which was published as a memoir in 2008 with a documentary of the stage play released in 2010.
She was married to Paul Simon for just over a year, although they dated both before and after the marriage. She then had a relationship with talent agent Brian Lourd and had a child together- Billie Catherine Lourd. Mother and daughter both appeared in The Force Awakens.
A true cinema icon and a truly brave and brilliant woman, she will be sorely missed in a year that has seen fit to take so many brilliant and iconic stars. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
(Rhys, Matt and Tez)