Wow. The year 2016 takes yet another from us.
“Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher died Tuesday, four days after she suffered a “cardiac episode” on a flight from London to Los Angeles, according to a statement released by family spokesman Simon Halls to People Magazine on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. She was 60.
Paramedics rushed Fisher to a nearby hospital after she went into cardiac arrest moments before the plane touched down at LAX, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Fisher famously starred in the “Star Wars” movie franchise as Princess Leia Organa, a whip-smart rebel diplomat whose tightly coiled “cinnamon buns” bookended her face. Openly defiant, Fisher’s portrayal of the spitfire princess became a 1980s feminist icon, decades before Buffy, Katniss and other adventure heroines appeared on the small and silver screens.
Her character, not afraid to use a blaster, was a force to be reckoned with. In a saga crowded with bounty hunters, alien riff-raff and scruff-looking nerf herders, Princess Leia stood out. Fisher presumably ignored the advice from her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, to “be careful of any weird hairdo” before she played the iconic character in George Lucas’ space opera.
In the opening scenes of 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope,” Fisher’s Princess Leia is the first major (human) character to stare down Darth Vader, perhaps the most formidable villain in film history.
“I like Princess Leia. I like how she handles things. I like how she treats people. She tells the truth,” Fisher told NPR in November. “I don’t have a real problem with Princess Leia. I’ve sort of melded with her over time,” she added.
On top of her roles in much more grounded fare like 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters,” 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally” and various television roles, Fisher mined her love-hate relationship with Leia for several autobiographical books, including her eighth and final book “The Princess Diarist.” Released in November, the memoir digs up diaries she kept while filming the start of the “Star Wars” trilogy.
However Fisher felt about her place in the galaxy, Leia provided a through-line in her career.
“I’ve always been in ‘Star Wars.’ I’ve never not been in ‘Star Wars,'” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 2015, weeks before her character reappeared as a high-ranking member of the rebellion in “The Force Awakens.”
“But I am eternally in ‘Star Wars,'” she added.
Carrie Frances Fisher was born in 1956 to Hollywood couple Reynolds and Eddie Fisher in Beverly Hills, California. At the age of two, her parents divorced after Fisher left Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, to whom he was married from 1959 to 1964.
One month ago, Fisher was asked in an interview with Rolling Stone if she feared death. This was her answer:
No. I fear dying. Anything with pain associated with it, I don't like. I've been there for a couple of people when they were dying; it didn't look like fun. But if I was gonna do it, I'd want someone like me around. And I will be there!
I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. I will miss our banterings. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 27, 2016
When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) December 27, 2016
Carrie Fisher has passed, she was funnier&smarter than anyone had the right to be. Sail On Silver Girl. Condolences Debbie & Billie— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) December 27, 2016