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Virtually everyone knows her as Princess Leia, the heroine of the most popular film series in history. At only 19 years old, Carrie Fisher became a superstar, with her cinnamon bun hairstyle and later, gold bikini, becoming legend. Now, presented on the unofficial “Star Wars” holiday May 4, Fisher has posthumously become a Hollywood Walk of Fame star recipient.
“My mom used to say, ‘You weren’t actually famous until you became a PEZ dispenser.’ Well, people eat candy out of her neck every day,” said Fisher’s daughter, actress Billie Lourd. “I say you aren’t actually famous until you get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Which I guess is kind of weird, because people in most places tend to avoid people walking all over them. But in this weird little town, the pinnacle of fame is getting people to walk all over you. My mom is a double whammy: a PEZ dispenser and has a star on the Walk of Fame. Mama, you’ve made it.”
But “Star Wars” was just the beginning of a long journey for Fisher, who openly struggled for many years with bipolar disorder and addiction. She wrote about her issues in bestselling memoirs like “Wishful Drinking” and “The Princess Diarist.” She also penned the semi-autobiographical novel “Postcards from the Edge,” which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. She was well-known as a “script doctor” in Hollywood, spiffing up screenplays uncredited for decades.
“She was a closeted quadruple threat. She could sing, she could dance and she was an absolutely beyond brilliant writer,” Lourd said.
It was laid out in the stars from the beginning for Fisher, who was the child of actress Debbie Reynolds, known for “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and singer Eddie Fisher.
The mother-daughter bond of Reynolds and Fisher was documented in the 2016 HBO documentary “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.” In later years, they lived next door to one another on what Fisher described as a “compound.” Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016, at age 60 following cardiac arrest on a plane flight. Reynolds died the following day. Reportedly “I want to be with Carrie” were among Reynolds’ last words.
Lourd appeared with her mother in the J.J. Abrams-led “Star Wars” trilogy between 2015 and 2019. Fisher died after the completion of “Star Wars VII: The Last Jedi,” and archival footage was used to include her in “Star Wars VIX: The Rise of Skywalker.” C-3P0 and R2-D2 were on hand to help present the star, as was Fisher’s on-screen Skywalker brother, Mark Hamill.
“She was so charming, so funny, so adorable, so wise beyond her years. I just couldn’t believe it. And brutely frank,” Hamill said, describing meeting her for the first time during the production of “Star Wars.” He went on to read aloud a tribute he wrote after her death in 2016.
“Carrie was one of a kind, who belonged to us all, whether we liked it or not,” Hamill said. “She was our princess, damn it. And the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined and tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her and want her to succeed and be happy. She played such a crucial role in my professional and personal life. They both would’ve been far emptier without her. Was she a handful? Was she high maintenance? Ho-ho-ho, no doubt! But everything would’ve been so much drabber and less interesting if she hadn’t been the friend that she was.”
Lourd discussed how, since her mother’s death, she has fallen “deeply in love” with Fisher’s most famous character, Leia.
“Leia is more than just a character,” Lourd said. She’s a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is wit. She is feminity at its finest. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. She doesn’t need anyone to rescue her, because she rescues herself. And even rescues the rescuers. And no one could’ve played her like my mother.”
Lourd referenced her own children, both of whom were born after her mother’s death.
“I feel so lucky that even though they won’t get to meet my mom, they will get to know a piece of her through Leia,” she said.
Lourd also talked about the pride she has in her mother’s openness with mental health and addiction problems, and especially how, through her writing, she was able to spin her struggles into works that helped and connected with others. In closing her remarks, Lourd quoted one of Fisher’s favorite sayings.
“Take that broken heart, and make it into art,” she said.
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