Celebrity Then And Now
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Star Wars Franchise, The Blues Brothers, Shampoo
The “Star Wars” movie franchise has been among the biggest in film history, thanks to more than $4.5 billion in box office sales in the United States alone. The original trilogy during the 1970s and 1980s helped to establish “Star Wars” as a global phenomenon, thanks to its interesting characters and great storytelling. Among these characters was Princess Leia, who was played by Carrie Fisher. Fisher made five appearances as the character, and although she’s remembered most for that role, Fisher’s life and career was filled with many other moments that made her a star for decades.
Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 to a pair of famous parents, with her mother being award winning actress Debbie Reynolds, and her father being actor and singer Eddie Fisher. The two would split when Fisher was very young, which caused her to spend a lot of time on her own. It wasn’t until her teenage years that Fisher became involved in acting, appearing with her mother on Broadway in the early 1970s. Because of an early career in entertainment, Fisher didn’t finish school, and she quickly made her way to the screen.
Fisher made her film debut in 1975 when she played a supporting role in the film “Shampoo” that starred the likes of Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. Then, at 19 years old, casting began for the role of Princess Leia on “Star Wars.” At the time, casting for the horror film “Carrie” had been taking place, and Fisher decided to go out for both parts. Upon meeting with George Lucas and Brian De Palma at the same time, Fisher was asked to record an audition on-tape.
Beating out some of the other actresses that were considered for the role, Fisher made her debut as Princess Leia in the 1977 “Star Wars” film that would be a striking success. After the film came out, Fisher had appeared in a handful of TV movies, and came back to the “Star Wars” universe for “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. Around this time, Fisher also appeared in “The Blues Brothers” and “Under the Rainbow.”
After the original “Star Wars” trilogy had ended, Fisher continued to make appearances on the big screen with films such as “The Burbs,” “Loverboy” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.” She’d also continue to appear in a slew of TV movies, adding around a half dozen to her resume in this time. With “Star Wars” being more of a distant memory once the 1990s came around, however, she wasn’t appearing in nearly as many movies. There were only a handful of cameo roles where she mostly played herself, and even on TV made just the occasional appearance.
Fisher remained very busy in the final years of her life, making guest appearances on several TV shows such as “Entourage” and “The Big Bang Theory,” She’d have a recurring role in “Catastrophe” starting in 2015, and continued her role working with Seth MacFarlane on “Family Guy.” Before passing, Fisher was able to film her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which was released in 2017. There’s still one more project that’s being released posthumously for Fisher called “Wonderwell” starring Rita Ora.
Sadly, Fisher was just 60 years old when she passed away right around Christmas in 2016. Fisher had been on a flight from London to Los Angeles, and the plane was only minutes from landing before Fisher stopped breathing and became unconscious. Those on the plane tried to revive Fisher, and she was rushed to the hospital when the plane landed. Fisher remained at the hospital for four days before she passed away on December 27. Many reached out to give their recollections of working with Fisher, and the latest “Star Wars” was released in her memory.
The reaction was widespread for those from the “Star Wars” universe in which Fisher was best known. One of her closest friends on set was Peter Mayhew, who wore the Chewbacca costume in the films. “There are no words for this loss,” he said. “Carrie was the brightest light in every room she entered. I will miss her dearly.” Co-star Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, simply said that he was “devastated” and that there were “no words” to describe her death.
Of course, people were interested to hear the reaction from her former on-screen love interest Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo. “Carrie was one of a kind,” he said. “Brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely...My thoughts are with her daughter Billie... her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.”
Fisher had been very open about her past drug use and battle with mental health issues, being an advocate for being able to talk about these problems. Because of this and her extensive film career, Fisher’s legacy will continue to live on. In Fisher’s words, “You know what’s funny about death? I mean other than absolutely nothing at all? You’d think we could remember finding out we weren’t immortal. Sometimes I see children sobbing at airports and I think, ‘Aww. They’ve just been told.’”