Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Carrie Fisher; actress, author, screenwriter and cultural icon…has passed away at 60.

Born Carrie Frances Fisher in Beverly Hills, she was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Surrounded by the lights of Hollywood from the start, she starred in the Broadway revival of IRENE alongside her mother at just age 15…and in 1973 would study at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. She would make her film debut in 1975 in SHAMPOO alongside Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, and Goldie Hawn.

In 1977, she would explode onto screens and into permanent cultural icon fame at just 19 years old when George Lucas cast her as Princess Leia Organa in STAR WARS. With her trademark hairstyle, flowing white robes and dedicated passion…Leia would instantly become the heart of the franchise; displaying a perfect balance of wide-eyed innocence and lion-sized bravery which would define the female hero for our age. She would reprise the role in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980), where her fiery chemistry with Harrison Ford would add new depth to the series. In THE RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983), the final film of the Original Trilogy, she would bravely don a revealing slave outfit while retaining her heroic poise; once again striking that balance which seduced men and inspired women. Over thirty years later, she would revisit the character in the 7th Episode, THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015)…this time adding a motherly instinct, and will appear one last time as Leia in Episode VIII in 2017. Her likeness was recreated for the spin-off film ROGUE ONE in 2016.

Outside of STAR WARS, her notable on-screen roles would include THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980), UNDER THE RAINBOW (1981), THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE (1985), HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986), THE BURBS (1989), WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989), HOOK (1991), CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE (2003), and FANBOYS (2009). Off the screen, she would find success as one of the top script-doctors in Hollywood, working on the screenplays of other writers. George Lucas would use her to polish scripts for his TV series THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, and on the big-screen she would work on the screenplays for Steven Spielberg’s HOOK, along with MADE IN AMERICA (1993), LAST ACTION HERO (1993), THE RIVER WILD (1994), OUTBREAK (1995), and THE WEDDING SINGER (1998), among others.

She would also find success as an author, where her sharp wit and unfiltered speaking would pour onto the pages and she would become another icon for speaking our minds. She would adapt her own novel, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, into a film in 1990…which was a critical and box office hit while earning two Oscar nominations.


Long-time readers and friends of Reel Speak already know the impact STAR WARS has had on this Blogger’s life; it was the film which put me on a career and life path…and Carrie Fisher’s character, Princess Leia, was a huge part of it. As a wee-lad, nearly every playtime would be STAR WARS, and in those backyard games with classmates and cousins, every boy was a Luke and every girl was a Leia. It was then this Blogger’s honor to meet and chat with Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration II in Indianapolis in 2002, get an autograph, and to even make her chuckle with a bad joke.

That day in 2005 was a great moment which capped a lifetime’s worth of admiration for the character and the actress who gave her life. We all knew even as kids that Leia was something different and special; where other characters cowered before Darth Vader, Leia spat back at him and stood her ground. Princess Leia could not only run with the boys, but pass them and blast them into oblivion. She was indeed the beating heart of STAR WARS, and saying goodbye to her is like saying goodbye to the last 40 years of the dreams and joy she brought to the galaxy…both fictional and real. The opening crawl of STAR WARS in 1977 referred to Princess Leia as a custodian of hope…and as Carrie Fisher now races home aboard her own starship, she does so as a custodian of our hearts.


  1. A beautiful tribute! would love to know what the bad joke was :-)

    1. Thank you for saying so, but the bad joke remains between me and the Princess ;)


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