Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60
While the opening crawl and massive starship is credited with blowing away audiences who see Star Wars for the first time, it’s the appearance of a young woman who steals the show for me. She’s fearless, standing toe to toe with the imposing Darth Vader, misdirects his forces under extreme duress, and helps spell the downfall of the Empire with the destruction of the Death Star. Princess Leia joined the pantheon of incredible heroines in that film, and her portrayal by Carrie Fisher is one of the greatest characters ever put to film.
Last weekend, Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack while on a flight to LA last night, and was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center shortly after her flight landed. Earlier today, she passed away at the age of 60.
Fisher is the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds and landed her first role in 1975’s Shampoo. It was her next role that brought her to the world stage. According to his biographer, George Lucas found her “a big pushy for a princess,” but found an incredible chemistry between her and her co-star, Harrison Ford.
Fisher brought something new to the table: a heroine who pushed against the standard tropes of science fiction. Upon her rescue from Detention Block AA-23, she grabs a blaster and promptly escapes, her rescuers in tow. Fisher returned for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and appeared in a number of other films and television shows, such as When Harry Met Sally, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, before later appearing in such shows as Family Guy, Sex and the City, and 30 Rock.
There was more to Carrie Fisher than Princess Leia, however. She was a novelist and memoirist, penning books such as Postcards from the Edge, Wishful Drinking, and The Princess Diarist, for which Fisher just finished touring for. The memoir contained the revelation that she and her co-star, Harrison Ford, had an affair during the production of A New Hope. Fisher was also regarded as one of the industry’s best script doctors, helping polish up screenplays, working on productions such as Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, Sister Act, Outbreak, The Wedding singer, the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and numerous others. In recent years, she has been outspoken about the mental health and substance abuse issues that have plagued her life.
While she has had a rich and varied career, Fisher’s legacy will always be associated with the feisty Princess — and now General — Leia. Even later in her career, she never strayed far from her most famous role, filming cameo appearances in films such as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Fanboys and reprised her iconic role as Leia Organa in 2015’s The Force Awakens, as well as in next year’s Episode VIII.
While the pantheon of heroines has become crowded since 1977, with the likes of Hermione Granger, Ellen Ripley, Katniss Everdeen, Jyn Erso, and countless others, it’s Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia that serves as an inspiration for them all.
Leia has always been one of the most interesting characters from the Star Wars franchise. She was a princess that wasn’t content to sit and to be rescued, but often took matters into her own hands, whether it was escaping from the Death Star, attempting to rescue Han Solo from his captors, or helping to take down the First Order. When Fisher appeared on the screen in The Force Awakens, there were cheers. When her likeness appeared at the end of the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, I felt a lump in my throat, at seeing an old friend once again.
SOURCE: The Verge