As 2016 nears its end another beloved celebrity death has broken the hearts of millions of fans – Carrie Fisher.
The actress and writer whose iconic role as Princess Leia in Star Wars has died and with her passing has come an immense outpouring of emotion around the world.
Fisher was such a huge part of a generations childhood when she appeared as Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars. Everyone loved her. Princess Leia were the only girl action figures I had and they got they’re fair share of play time. She wasn’t a corny, dopey girl like Barbie – this was Princess Leia!
Not only was she so cool with her funky hair buns, shooting at Stormtroopers and giving attitude to anyone around, but she was also quite the looker. Fisher was one of those handful of women during my prepubescent years that taught me girls weren’t necessarily all that icky.
When she famously appeared in her gold bikini costume in Return of the Jedi….well needless to say she cemented her mark in my mind – along with millions of other kids. Heck, the reverberations are still being felt from seeing her in that bikini outfit.
Aside from her role as Princess Leia Fisher of course appeared in other films. I remember way back watching her in a television movie with John Ritter called Leave Yesterday Behind. I don’t remember much of it, but at the time I thought it was great that Princess Leia and Jack Tripper were in a movie together.
The same with Under the Rainbow, the 1981 comedy about the making of the Wizard of Oz starring Chevy Chase. Fisher was the one who was in charge of looking after 150 dwarfs in a hotel. It was a pretty bad movie. I don’t even think it’s ever been released on DVD. The one notable thing about it was Fisher getting stripped down to her undies in a freezer. I’m embarrassed to say that’s the one scene I recall vividly from that flick. I had never seen Princess Leia like that. It wouldn’t be until a few years later in Jabba’s palace when my mind would really be blown.
Then there was The Man With One Red Shoe from 1985. Again silly movie, but Fisher in leopard print underwear and Tom Hanks made me watch it a bunch of times. The ‘Burbs was a much better Fisher/Hanks movie.
Just to finish with recounting my adolescent gawking at Fisher in those years, there was a television appearance she had done that always stuck in my mind. She did a guest spot on Laverne & Shirley in the early 80’s where her and Laverne auditioned to be Playboy bunnies. I don’t remember much of it, only that I was once again dazzled by Fisher in her bunny outfit.
Obviously, I was completely enamored and infatuated by Fisher back then.
But it wasn’t just drooling over Fisher. Outside of Star Wars, my favorite Fisher performance is her role as The Mystery Woman in The Blues Brothers aka Jake’s jilted fiancé. Not surprising since it is one of my favorite movies. But her hysterical recurring appearances throughout the film and the final payoff to her character added even more comedy to a great movie. I still watch her confrontation of Jake and Elwood in that tunnel and the scene still makes me laugh.
In her later years Fisher seemed to focus more on writing. She got more recognition for her novel Postcards From the Edge and her script writing, a lot of it that was uncredited ironically.
She continued to act and remained busy, but they were mostly in supporting parts in a variety of films and television. There was nothing that was going to rival her success as Princess Leia. That’s a pretty impossible role to top. But she seemed like she had a good sense of humor about her association with Star Wars.
When it was announced she and fellow Star Wars alums Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill were going to return to the series in The Force Awakens it was welcomed by fans. I know it was their return that was a major reason why I was interested in seeing it. Getting to revisit with those characters was the big draw for me.
I’ve read that Fisher completed filming her role as Leia for Episode VIII already, so I imagine we’ll see her one last time onscreen as Leia. It will be a strange feeling though knowing she’s gone now. We’ll have to wait and see what affect Fisher’s death will have on the future of the films now.
One thing that I keep thinking about is not only the millions of fans who are mourning her loss, but what her mother Debbie Reynolds and her family must be feeling. This was very sad news to hear.