Back in 1978, when playing with our Star Wars action figures, even boys never seemed to complain if they had to ‘be’ Princess Leia when we played out our homemade Star Wars adventures. And that’s because Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia was such a spunky, smart-mouthed, tough-talking badass — much like Carrie Fisher was in real life.
We were fans almost immediately, and we followed her wherever she went, whether she was corralling Munchkins alongside Chevy Chase in Under the Rainbow, harassing John Belushi’s Joliet Jake in The Blues Brothers, or, later, offering sage advice to Meg Ryan’s Sally in When Harry Met Sally.
Still, we knew her first as Princess Leia, and it was a mantle Fisher herself wore with both pride and some trepidation–after all, being an icon is no easy task. As Fisher wrote in her 2016 memoir The Princess Diarist:
I had never been Princess Leia before and now I would be her forever. I would never not be Princess Leia. I had no idea how profoundly true that was and how long forever was.
And yet, did anyone ever look like they were having as much fun on a movie set as she did?
But Fisher was more than an actress. She was a talented script doctor (she did uncredited work on movies like Hook and Sister Act) and a really terrific — and terrifically funny — writer. She also struggled for years with addiction and depression, and very publicly discussed those battles in hopes of de-stigmatizing them for others. Her novel Postcards From the Edge was both funny and personal, a thinly-fictionalized account of her own struggles with addiction, mental illness, and her lovingly complicated relationship with her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
Yesterday, George Lucas issued a statement in which he noted that Fisher had a “colorful personality that everyone loved.” Steven Spielberg has referred to her as “a force of nature.” Both descriptions are apt, but for the rest of us– and with all due respect to Diana — there really was only ever but one “People’s Princess.”
Thanks for being here, Carrie Fisher. We’ll miss you.