The world is still mourning Carrie Fisher, who died at age 60 on December 27, 2016 after a heart attack on her way home from London to Los Angeles. Her mother, the iconic Debbie Reynolds, died not even 48 hours later after a stroke.
Carrie was best known for her role as Princess Leia in the 1977 Star Wars film, where she portrayed a woman who was tough enough to stand on her own, yet had a tender side as well.
The actress was born in Burbank, California to Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, a pop singer.
Her first notable role was in the Broadway revival of Irene, where she starred alongside Debbie. Her movie debut came with Shampoo, a comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Warren Beaty, and Lee Grant.
Two years later, she landed the role of Princess Leia at 19 years old.
The film’s creator and director, George Lucas, remembered Carrie after her passing: “Carrie and I have been friends for most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all.”
Carrie reprised her role as the princess in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), as well as the contemporary releases, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII. She completed her scenes in the latter film before her unexpected passing.
Her more recent movies include Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Scream 3, Charlie’s Angel: Full Throttle, and Sorority Row, as well as a number of cameo appearances and original roles on television.
The actress became well-known for her mental health advocacy, having struggled with her bipolar disorder over the years and an addiction to self-medication.
“I’ve never been ashamed of my mental illness; it never occurred to me. Many people thank me for talking about it, and mothers can tell their kids when they are upset with the diagnosis that Princess Leia is bipolar too,” she said during her speech when she was honored by Harvard College with their Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism in 2016.
Carrie was open and honest about her struggles, documenting them in two books, Postcards from the Edge (1987) and Wishful Drinking (2008).
May she rest in peace.