Fisher was on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23, and 15 minutes before landing a fellow actor seated near her said she wasn’t breathing. A passenger performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Fisher was put on a ventilator, placed in ICU, and reported to be in stable condition. She died four days later on December 27 at 8:55 a.m. She was 60 years old.
In addition to Star Wars, Fisher also starred in Shampoo, The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The ‘Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally. She is also an author and known for her semi-autobiographical novels – Postcards from the Edge (screenplay as well) and Wishful Drinking. Her most recent work was an autobiography published in 2016 titled, The Princess Diarist.
Suffering from bipolar disorder, Fisher said she took drugs as a way to self-medicate and handle the effects of the disease. She frequently spoke of the disease, subsequent drug use and her road to sobriety. She was one of the first celebrities to speak frankly about her struggles and turned into a life of activism. In 2016, Harvard College awarded Fisher with its Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism. The school noted “her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.”
Fisher is survived by; mother, Debbie Reynolds; daughter, Billie Lourd; brother, Todd Fisher; and half-sisters, Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.
It’s difficult for me to compose my thoughts when someone who is such a key figure in geek culture and my personal geek culture is gone. For women – young and old – Fisher broke ground as Princess Leia on how to fight, be a badass, and be a woman. For me, she showed me that women can get the job the done. We don’t have to just sit back and wait for a guy or someone else to come along. We can do it ourselves. I can also see how Fisher did that in her real life.
She battled drug abuse for a long time, as well as bipolar disorder. She was even hospitalized for her bipolar disorder as recently as 2013. But she never gave up, and she never gave in to the disease. Instead, she used what she went through to help others going through the same thing. She was open about her struggles and didn’t hide them away.
She was the realist person in Hollywood.
Who knows how many others who heard her story were helped by that?
I don’t know if we’ll ever know for sure, but I know there are many people out there who were helped by her sharing her story and will in turn do the same.
Until then, I’m thankful I saw Fisher as Princess Leia be completely badass in her purple bikini at the beginning of The Return of the Jedi when I was six years old.
I wouldn’t be who I am without it. I just wish I’d had the chance to tell her in person.
If I had, this is something I would have said, “Carrie Fisher. I’m so glad I ‘met you’ as Princess Leia when I was a kid watching The Return of the Jedi. You changed my life, and I’m forever grateful.”