The Culture

Actress, novelist Carrie Fisher 'was loved by the world' (+video)

Carrie Fisher, who portrayed the rebel hero Leia Organa in the 'Star Wars' franchise, died on Tuesday.

Carrie Fisher arrives at the 2011 NewNowNext Awards in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, publicist said Fisher has died.
Chris Pizzello/AP/File | Caption
  • Steve Gorman
    Reuters

Carrie Fisher, who rose to fame as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films, died on Tuesday, her daughter said through a family spokesman.

"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning," Lourd said in a statement issued by Simon Halls. "She was loved by the world, and she will be missed profoundly."

Fisher's friend and former Star Wars' co-star Mark Hamill said in a tweet: "No words. #Devastated"

William Shatner, best known for his role in the television series "Star Trek," said he would miss her. "A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished."

Fisher, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, who died in 2010, had been in England shooting the third season of the British sitcom "Catastrophe."

Fisher reprised her role as Leia in two "Star Wars" sequels, and then returned last year in Disney's reboot of the "Star Wars" franchise, "The Force Awakens," appearing as the more matronly General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance movement fighting the evil First Order.

Filming was completed in July on Fisher's next appearance as Leia in "Star Wars: Episode VIII," which is set to reach theaters in December 2017.

Shortly after news of her death was made public, her dog, Gary, who has his own Twitter account, said goodbye: "Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher."

Early showbiz start

Fisher also played a memorable supporting role in the 1989 hit film "When Harry Met Sally," as a friend of Meg Ryan's character who falls for and marries the best pal of Billy Crystal's character.

More recently, Fisher played the American mother-in-law on the British television comedy "Catastrophe," whose first two seasons Amazon Prime Video carried for US subscribers.

Born in Beverly Hills, Carrie Fisher got her showbiz start at age 12 in her mother's Las Vegas nightclub act. She made her film debut as a teenager in the 1975 comedy "Shampoo," two years before her "Star Wars" breakthrough.

But her life was also mired at times in substance abuse, mental illness and tumultuous romances with other entertainment figures, all of which she laid bare in her books, interviews and a one-woman stage show titled "Wishful Drinking."

She was once engaged to comic actor Dan Aykroyd, later married, then divorced, singer-songwriter Paul Simon, and had a daughter with Hollywood talent agent Brian Lourd.

After undergoing treatment in the mid-1980s for drug addition, she wrote the bestselling novel, "Postcards from the Edge," about a drug-abusing actress forced to move back in with her mother. She later adapted the book into a film that starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

She admitted in a 2011 interview with Reuters that tabloid exposure of her private life could be trying.

"'Carrie Fisher's tragic life.' That was one that hurt," she said, quoting a headline. "'Hey, how about Carrie Fisher? She used to be so hot. Now she looks like Elton John.' That hurt."

Fisher was promoting her campaign as a spokeswoman for the Jenny Craig weight-loss program at the time.

She also acknowledged being briefly hospitalized in 2013 due to a bout with mental illness.

Summing up the showbiz legacy she expected to leave behind in her 2011 memoir "Shockaholic," Fisher wrote in self-deprecating style: "What you'll have of me after I journey to that great Death Star in the sky is an extremely accomplished daughter, a few books, and a picture of a stern-looking girl wearing some kind of metal bikini lounging on a giant drooling squid, behind a newscaster informing you of the passing of Princess Leia after a long battle with her head."

(Additional reporting by Eric Johnson in Seattle and Daniel Wallis and Jill Serjeant in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Diane Craft)