American actress, writer, producer, and humorist Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60 on December 27, 2016, after going into cardiac arrest during a transatlantic flight four days earlier. Fisher was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series. Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The ‘Burbs (1989), and When Harry Met Sally… (1989). Fisher was also known for her semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and the screenplay for the film of the same name, as well as her autobiographical one-woman play and its nonfiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the show. In later years, she earned praise for speaking publicly about her experiences with mental health and drug addiction.
Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Fisher made her film debut in the Columbia Pictures comedy Shampoo (1975) starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, with Lee Grant and Jack Warden as her character’s parents. “Star Wars,” released in 1977, turned her overnight into an international movie star. The film, written and directed by George Lucas, traveled around the world, breaking box-office records. In April 1978, she appeared as the love interest in Ringo Starr’s 1978 TV special Ringo. Fisher appeared with Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward in the anthology series Laurence Olivier Presents in a television version of the William Inge play Come Back, Little Sheba.
Fisher appeared in The Blues Brothers film as Jake’s vengeful ex-lover; she is listed in the credits as “Mystery Woman”. While in Chicago filming the movie, her life was saved by Dan Aykroyd when she was choking on a Brussels sprout and he performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. She appeared on Broadway in Censored Scenes from King Kong in 1980. The same year, she reprised her role as Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, and appeared with her Star Wars costars on the cover of the July 12, 1980 issue of Rolling Stone to promote the film. She also appeared in the Broadway production of Agnes of God in 1982. In 1983, Fisher returned to the role of Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi, and posed in the Princess Leia metal bikini on the cover of the Summer 1983 issue of Rolling Stone to promote the film. In 1987, Fisher published her first novel, Postcards from the Edge. The book was semi-autobiographical in the sense that she fictionalized and satirized real-life events such as her drug addiction of the late 1970s and her relationship with her mother. It became a bestseller, and she received the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Also during 1987, she was in the Australian film The Time Guardian. In 1989, Fisher played a major supporting role in When Harry Met Sally…, and in the same year, she appeared with Tom Hanks as his wife in The ‘Burbs.
Fisher appeared in the fantasy comedy film Drop Dead Fred in 1991, and played a therapist in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). During the 1990s, Fisher also published the novels Surrender the Pink (1990) and Delusions of Grandma (1993). In the 2000 film Scream 3 Fisher played a former actress, and in 2001 she played a nun in the Kevin Smith comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She also co-wrote the TV comedy film These Old Broads (2001), of which she was also co-executive producer. It starred her mother, Debbie Reynolds, as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, and Shirley MacLaine. Besides acting and writing original works, Fisher was one of the top script doctors in Hollywood, working on the screenplays of other writers. She also appeared as General Leia Organa Star Wars: The Force Awakens and had completed filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII before her death. Fisher was survived by her daughter, her mother Debbie Reynolds, her brother Todd Fisher and her half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher.