Carrie Fisher: 1956-2016

We look back at the life and career of Carrie Fisher

Well, this is pretty horrible news. Having initially been hospitalised after suffering from a heart attack, Carrie Fisher today passed away at the age of 60.

Born on 21 October 1956 to singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, Fisher first shot to fame as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars in 1977 – only her second film role, and aged just 19 at the time.

As readers of this website or readers of the magazine, none of you need to be informed of the impact she has had on the genre. Both an icon and a true star, she contributed to both the saga’s success and the resurgence of sci-fi cinema via the role.

Each reprisal of the role – Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return Of The Jedi in 1983 (we’ll ignore the Holiday Special) – brought about another iconic portrayal as we saw new sides to the character with every appearance. Luke may have been the hero and Han Solo the swaggering star, but Leia was the film’s true anchor, and it’s all testament to Fisher’s performance.

After Star Wars, Fisher continued to have an impact on the screen, both within the genre (The ‘Burbs, Drop Dead Fred) and outside of it (When Harry Met Sally, The Blues Brothers, Hannah And Her Sisters), not to mention turns in more low-key productions like White Lightnin, and far too many other movies and TV shows to mention here.

Carrie Fisher on Star Wars press duties alongside co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

But the saga was never far away, which she herself acknowledged with self-deprecating cameos in the likes of Fanboys and Jay And Silent Bob Strikes Back.

Through all this, she showed her versatility by turning her hand towards the page, penning seven fiction and non-fiction books, starting with Postcards From The Edge in 1987 (which she adapted for the big screen in 1990) and the most recent The Princess Diarist, which contained her private notes from the filming of Star Wars.

Always good value in interviews and on talk shows, her return to the role that made her name on 2015’s The Force Awakens had the added welcome effect of bringing her back into the limelight, and making us remember just why we fell in love with her all those years ago.

But she was important in so many other ways. Diagnosed as bipolar, she has been candid about discussing the issues that have impacted her life, and done so in a manner that can only be described as helpful to people with similar conditions. The stories of her dispensing useful advice are too numerous to list here, but it shows her importance to have gone beyond the level of being just a film star.

She is survived by her daughter Billie Lourd, who cameoed alongside her in the most recent Star Wars film.

A treasure in every sense of the word, she will be greatly missed.