Carrie Fisher, who has died aged 60, never intended to become a celebrity, yet from the moment she was born her often tumultuous life was lived in the public eye.
Fisher’s iconic roots were established early. She was born to 1956 to Hollywood starlet Debbie Reynolds and her first husband Eddie Fisher.
The couple’s marriage produced another child, son Todd, in 1958, but fell apart soon after when Eddie Fisher began a began an affair with screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, whom he married in 1959.
That marriage also soured, but in true Hollywood style, both Reynolds and Carrie Fisher mended bridges with Taylor, remaining friendly with the Hollywood icon up to her death in 2011.
In 2001, Reynolds and Taylor even starred together in television movie These Old Broads, which was written by Fisher.
In an op-ed published in 2011, Fisher said she had never intended to follow in the footsteps of her famous parents.
“I never wanted to be an actress, let alone a celebrity. I had grown up watching the bright glow of my parents’ stardom slowly dim, cool, and fade,” she wrote.Advertisement
Nonetheless Fisher did rise to fame, astronomically, as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Since donning her iconic cinnamon-bun hairstyle in 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Fisher has gained cult status as the headstrong and heroic sister of protagonist Luke Skywalker, and paramour of mercenary Han Solo.
The role hurtled her into superstardom around the world.
Her character became a pop culture icon and Fisher herself touted Leia as a “huge” feminist icon, dismissing the notion she was ever a “damsel in distress”.
“She bossed them around,” she said.
“I don’t know what your idea of distress is, but that wasn’t it! And I wasn’t some babe running through the galaxy with my tits bouncing around. So I wasn’t threatening to women.”
Fisher was widely lauded for her portrayal of a princess-turned-rebel, with Leia ranked the fifth-best Star Wars character by Rolling Stone in 2015.
Fans were delighted when Fisher reprised her role nearly 40 years later in The Force Awakens, alongside original co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
Her other film credits include roles in When Harry Met Sally, The Blues Brothers and Hannah and Her Sisters.
She also appeared in television shows including Family Guy, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock.
Her last line in the show was a spoof from Star Wars: “Help me Liz Lemon, You’re my only hope!”
‘Princess diarist’ an acclaimed writer, script doctor.
Film was not the only facet of Fisher’s career, with the multi-skilled artist later finding success as a writer and “script doctor” — fixing up problematic Hollywood scripts including Hook, The Wedding Singer and Sister Act.
In 1987, Fisher penned the semi-autobiographical book Postcards From The Edge — the story of an actress trying to pull herself together after a drug overdose.
The acclaimed novel was turned into a film of the same name starring Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid, for which Fisher wrote the screenplay.
Postcards From The Edge mirrored Fisher’s real-life struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.
Later in her life, Fisher revealed that at age 24, when she was at the height of her Star Wars career, she had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.
The actress said she did not seek help until she suffered a psychotic episode in the late 1990s.
Fisher often spoke frankly about her addictions to cocaine and other drugs, which she said she used in attempt to self-medicate her condition.
She gave several interviews about her battle with mental illness, opening up about her experiences to Diane Sawyer in 2000.
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that,” she said.
“I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”
Fisher reveals affair with Ford.
In 2016, Harvard College awarded Fisher its Annual Outstanding Lifetime Award in Cultural Humanism, noting that “her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy”.
Fisher also won plaudits for her revealing memoirs, including the best-selling Wishful Drinking in 2008, which she also toured as a one-woman show, and more recently The Princess Diarist, in which she revealed a three-month affair with co-star Ford while filming Star Wars.
Fisher was only 19 years old at the time, while Ford was a married 33-year-old.
“He was just so handsome. No. No. More than that. He looked like he could lead the charge into battle, take the hill, win the duel, be leader of the gluten-free world, all without breaking a sweat,” she wrote of the affair.
Fisher was on a publicity tour for The Princess Diarist when she suffered a cardiac episode on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
She was once married to musician Paul Simon and is survived by her daughter Billie with talent agent Bryan Lourd.
Billie Lourd is also an actress and starred alongside her mother in The Force Awakens.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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