2016 has been a tough year for many (many, many) reasons. There seems to have been an overabundance of celebrity deaths this past year. However, none have hit me so hard as the recent passing of Carrie Fisher. To say that I’m devastated is a complete understatement.
Like many, my first introduction to Carrie’s work was as the feisty and commanding Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I immediately connected with her character and saw a powerful, smart, and rebellious woman I could look up to. Princess Leia meant so much to me while I was growing up. She was one of my favorite Sci-Fi leading ladies and every time I rewatched the Original Trilogy I found something new to love about her.
It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that the woman behind the cinnamon buns was also just as incredible. While Carrie will always be known as the Alderaan Princess, she continued to have a lucrative career outside of the Star Wars universe. Besides acting, she also became Hollywood’s most sought-after script doctor during the 1990s. She also went on to pen multiple novels, both of the autobiographical and fictional variety.
It was in her memoirs that Carrie bared her soul to us. She had a lot to say, and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. That’s one of the many things I loved about her. She refused to take anything from anyone and decided that she wanted to be the one to tell her own story. Even if that meant revealing that her life was not always picture perfect. From drugs to family troubles, to struggling with mental illness. However, that only endeared her to me more. Being honest and making light of tough subject matters was her way of dealing with the situation. As she said herself: “If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
I was fortunate enough to be in the same room as Carrie Fisher in September of this year. I attended the Telluride Film Festival where she was promoting the film Bright Lights, which is a documentary about herself and her mother Debbie Reynolds. The screening took place in the town library and had room for only a select amount of people. I was able to get in by the skin of my teeth (they were down to letting the last 7 people in and I was number 6!) and I’m thanking my lucky stars that I did. After they showed the film and did a quick Q&A people began mingling. I was too star struck to introduce myself to Carrie, and now I wish that I had, if only to thank her.
Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for all that you accomplished during your time on Earth. Thank you for your wit and your tenacity. Thank you for being open and honest about your struggle with mental illness. Thank you for your many hilarious and heartfelt novels that you gifted us with. Thank you for bringing Princess Leia to life and becoming an iconic Sci-Fi heroine (even with all of the Hollywood double standards you had to endure over the years). Your legacy will live on and you will not be forgotten.
In closing, I leave you with a passage from Carrie’s 2008 novel Wishful Drinking:
Oh, and remember that white dress I wore all through the first movie? Unless you didn’t see Star Wars, in which case why are you still reading this?
Anyway, George (Lucas) comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, ‘You can’t wear a bra under that dress.’
So, I say, ‘Okay, I’ll bite. Why?’
And he says, ‘Because…there’s no underwear in space.’
I promise this is true, and he says it with such conviction too! Like he had been up to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties or briefs anywhere.
Now, George came to my show when it was in Berkeley. He came backstage and explained why you can’t wear your brassiere in other galaxies, and I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here’s why you cannot wear your brassiere, per George. So, what happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t – so you get strangled be your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit – so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.
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