With Carrie Fisher’s passing on Tuesday, many fans are remembering her for her movie roles, especially “Star Wars” Princess Leia, but others can fondly remember her as a wonderful teacher who let us know not to be ashamed of our troubles or weaknesses.
Fisher was way ahead of her time in talking about her issues with mental issues shining a bright light on a subject many have kept firmly in the closet and still do. Our own country still can’t deal with the mental health issues here, and I have personally seen how big a mess it really is.
Having a family member who has suffered from bipolar, I was thankful that Fisher’s books were a sort of guidebook to help me understand what was going on after many of my family had given up on this person. It was also Fisher’s book about electroshock treatment (now given a less scary name, ECT) helped my family member finally have a solution that worked after years of going in one psychiatric ward after another. Her books helped me and my brother feel not so alone as mental illness can be very isolating not just for the person going through it, but also for the people advocating for them.
I was lucky to sit down and thank Fisher for her books a few years ago, and she made you feel like you had been friends for years and made sure I was aware of all the pros and cons of ECT for my brother and what to watch out for. To have someone take that time touched me, and I will always remember Carrie Fisher as the person who literally saved my brother’s life from a life of psych wards and doctors who had no clue what to do with him.
Below, we’ve reported on how Fisher’s books have shot up the best seller charts again, and I am so glad to hear that as they truly can be a help to many. While they are entertaining, they are very educational too which is how the actress knew was the best way to get more people to learn and understand.
Carrie Fisher, a princess onscreen and off, played both roles in her own gutsy way.
As Leia of the “Star Wars” franchise, she commanded the troops, enjoyed a fling with Han Solo – and, in real life, co-star Harrison Ford – and showed fledgling 1970s feminists what life as a liberated woman might be like in a galaxy far, far away.
As the offspring of Hollywood royals Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she drew on her painful family history and personal demons to forge a distinctively tart, unsettlingly funny style as a best-selling writer.
Fisher’s throaty voice and inviting delivery also told the tale: She’d lived through much and wanted to – needed to – share her journey that included drug addiction, mental illness and electroshock treatment.
“People relate to aspects of my stories and that’s nice for me because then I’m not all alone with it,” she told media outlets in 2009. “Also, I do believe you’re only as sick as your secrets. If that’s true, I’m just really healthy.”
Fisher, who died Tuesday at age 60, revealed her struggles before such confessionals became routine. Her vehicles included a 1987 semi-autobiographical novel, “Postcards from the Edge,” and a one-woman show, “Wishful Drinking,” that went to Broadway and TV.
She avoided few topics in the piece, including the scandal that engulfed her superstar parents (singer Fisher ran off with Elizabeth Taylor); her brief marriage to pop star Paul Simon; the time the father of her daughter left her for a man, and waking up next to the dead body of a platonic friend who had overdosed in her bed.
“I’m a product of Hollywood inbreeding. When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result,” she joked in the show. And there was this wisecrack: “I don’t have a problem with drugs so much as I have a problem with sobriety.”
Fisher had been hospitalized since Friday, after falling ill aboard a flight and being treated by paramedics at the Los Angeles airport. Her family gave no details on the emergency, while media reports said she had suffered a heart attack.
Her feature film debut was opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit “Shampoo.” She also appeared in “Austin Powers,” ”The Blues Brothers,” ”Charlie’s Angels,” ”Hannah and Her Sisters,” ”Scream 3″ and “When Harry Met Sally …”
But she is best remembered as the tough, feisty and powerful Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” films, making a statement with her character and no-nonsense braided buns.
She famously despised the latter and even had mixed feelings about her famous character. She knew it then, and audiences later figured it out: Playing Han Solo would have suited her better.
“When I first read the script I thought that’s the part to be, always wry and sardonic,” Fisher told a gathering in England in 2015. “He’s always that. I feel like a lot of the time Leia’s either worried or pissed or, thank God, sort of snarky.”
She reprised the role of Leia in Episode VII of the series, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, and her digitally rendered image appears in the newest installment, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Fisher kept telling her own story after “Postcards From the Edge” became a best-seller and was adapted into a 1990 movie starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.
Other books included “Delusions of Grandma,” ”Surrender the Pink,” ”The Best Awful,” ”Shockaholic” and this year’s autobiography, “The Princess Diarist,” in which she revealed that she and Ford had an affair on the “Star Wars” set.
Ever ready to satirize herself, she played Carrie Fisher a few times, as in David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood sendup “Maps to the Stars” and in an episode of “Sex and the City.”
Fisher starred with her mother in a documentary set to air on HBO in 2017. “Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Besides her mother, she is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her daughter, Billie Lourd.
Someone made sure Fisher would be thought of with a wistful smile: Her bulldog, Gary Fisher, had his own Twitter account that offered this message Tuesday: “Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher.”
Carrie Fisher’s Book Shoot Up the Best Seller Charts Again
There’s been a run on Carrie Fisher’s books since the “Star Wars” actress and humorist died on Tuesday.
Fisher’s book, “The Princess Diarist,” was on top of Amazon’s list of best-selling books on Wednesday, just ahead of “Zero Sugar Diet.”
“Wishful Drinking” and “Postcards From the Edge” were also in Amazon’s top 10, with “Shockaholic” ranked as No. 57.
Five of the top 10 books on Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” list, which measures titles that show the greatest upward movement in sales over a 24-hour period, were by Fisher. That list also included Courtney Carbone’s book, “I Am a Princess,” about Fisher’s Princess Leia character, at No. 11.
Meanwhile, comic Steve Martin found himself the topic of discussion online about a tweet that he posted, then deleted, that said: “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher … was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.”
Martin received some online criticism for initially focusing on her appearance instead of her work, which in turn drew backlash for being a too sensitive reading of his tribute.
Fisher, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, had been hospitalized since Friday, when paramedics responded to a report of a patient in distress at Los Angeles airport. Her family gave no details on the emergency, but media reports said she had suffered a heart attack.
HBO, which is airing a documentary “Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher” next year, added a New Year’s Day showing of Fisher’s one-woman stand-up special “Wishful Drinking.”
The network called Fisher “a great friend and a rare talent who left us with so many lasting memories with her wonderful sense of humor and unique and honest perspective on life.”
ny lasting memories with her wonderful sense of humor and unique and honest perspective on life.”