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Carrie Fisher, ‘Star Wars’ Princess and Prolific Writer, Dies at 60

by Antoinette Bueno 9:59 AM PST, December 27, 2016
Playing Carrie Fisher, ‘Star Wars’ Princess and Prolific Writer, Dies at 60

Actress Carrie Fisher has died after going into cardiac arrest on a plane last week, ET confirms. She was 60.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” family spokesperson Simon Halls said in a statement to ET on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, on Tuesday. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.” 

Fisher was on a flight from London to Los Angeles International Airport on Friday when she went into cardiac arrest. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Eric Scott told ET that they responded to LAX for a patient on an inbound flight in cardiac arrest at 12:11 p.m., and paramedics provided advanced life support and aggressively treated and transported the patient to a local hospital.

The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, Fisher was born into the industry, making her onscreen debut in 1975’s Shampoo. At the age of 20, she became an overnight sensation for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars IV -- A New Hope in 1977. 

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The original Star Wars films -- A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi -- would go on to define Fisher’s career, largely thanks to her iconic portrayal of a modern damsel in distress. Leia was a princess unlike any other. She didn’t need to rely on men -- Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) or Han Solo (Harrison Ford) -- to rescue her or coil in the presence of the dreaded Darth Vader. Sure, she found romance in the end, but it was very much on her own accord. 

Leia’s metal bikini -- which Fisher wore in Jedi and on the 1983 cover of Rolling Stone -- also made the actress a sex symbol of the ‘80s. She later refuted the status, telling Star Wars newcomer Daisy Ridley “that’s an opinion of someone” during a 2015 conversation for Interview magazine. Fisher even went so far as to warn Ridley not be forced to wear a similar costume. “You should fight for your outfit,” she advised. “Don't be a slave like I was.”

Fisher reprised her role as Princess Leia in The Force Awakens, the first film of Disney’s continuation of creator George Lucas’ franchise, reuniting her with Ford. In November, the actress opened up about an “intense” affair she had with the actor 40 years prior. In her new memoir, The Princess Diarist, Fisher reveals that she began an affair with the then-33-year-old Ford after a birthday party for Lucas, and their fling continued for three months during filming. "I looked over at Harrison. A hero’s face… How could you ask such a shining specimen of a man to be satisfied with the likes of me?" Fisher wrote in her memoir.

Fisher’s other notable film roles included The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally.

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In addition to acting, Fisher also became known for her writing, starting with the semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards From the Edge, about an actress dealing with drug addiction and coming to terms with her relationship with her mother, which she later adapted for the Mike Nichols’ film of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Fisher’s relationship with Reynolds would eventually serve as an undercurrent to her most autobiographical work, the revealing 2008 autobiography, Wishful Drinking

Based on her hit one-woman stage show, Wishful Drinking revealed what it was like growing up in Hollywood, becoming a cultural icon at such a young age, her battles with drugs and issues surrounding her mental health.

In the three decades after Star Wars, Fisher was very frank about her personal issues, publicly discussing her bipolar disorder on ABC’s 20/20 and opening up about electroshock therapy treatments on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Fisher also wrote the screenplay for the 2001 TV film, These Old Broads, starring her mother as well as Reynolds’ old rival, Elizabeth Taylor, in her final film role. Fisher and Reynolds also revisited their irritable but loving relationship in the new documentary, Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, which is scheduled to air on HBO in 2017.

While Fisher had a troubled relationship with fame and her success associated with Star Wars, she returned to the franchise in 2015 for The Force Awakens and will next be seen in the untitled sequel, Episode VIII. Her likeness as Princess Leia also appears at the end of the new Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One, forever cementing her fate as the damsel who redefined what it meant to be a princess. 

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