Just as her “Stars Wars” character “Princess Leia” evolved from politician to revolutionary, Carrie Fisher excelled in a variety of fields.
Fisher, who died Tuesday at the age of 60 in Los Angeles, was an actress, author and Hollywood screenwriter. Others knew her as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, or the ex-wife of singer-songwriter Paul Simon or CAA’s co-chairman Bryan Lourd. Readers know her name from the cover of the acclaimed semi-autobiographical “Postcards From the Edge” about a champion drinker, which Mike Nichols directed and Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine starred in as a film. HBO turned Fisher’s stand-up confessional tales into “Wishful Drinking.” Fisher had recently been filming a new movie “Wonderwell” in Italy with Rita Ora.
Beyond her résumé’s numerous footnotes, Fisher was most recognizable by many for her “Star Wars” looks — the iconic metallic gold bikini, white flowy robes and hair buns. On or off the screen, Fisher’s most valuable selling point was her candidness.
In a 1994 interview with WWD, she sounded off about all sorts of peeves and persuasions. “You know,” Fisher said at that time, “everyone thinks I’m so witty, but I don’t think I’m a real wit. Robin Williams can do that — and must do it. It has to be critical to do it. It’s not essential to me. I’ll talk — forever — that’s critical — but not being witty, that’s not essential for me. Actually, what I am is eccentric. Which is hard in Hollywood, but since I’ve always been that, people expect it. I know I scare people a little bit. They don’t know if I’m weird, or loaded. Really, it’s just that I’m so self-involved.”
Frank about her battle with addiction and dealing with a bipolar disorder, the actress said, “People get tired of restriction, then tired of abuse. I always wanted to be the meditation queen and move to Santa Fe, but it ain’t gonna happen unless I’m on liquid morphine.”
“Then people hear me say things like that — which is a joke — and say I’m doing drugs again. And what drugs am I gonna do? Pot makes me think about death. Coke is a nightmare. Acid’s great, but who has time? I have a baby! I’m back in AA now. I don’t qualify for Prozac, unfortunately. It sounds nice, but it reminds of me of when all those people said they had Epstein-Barr. It was only people who had time to get Epstein-Barr who got it. It’s depression, that’s all it is. Well, I’ve been depressed. Now I don’t have time.”
Fisher also refused to let others’ views define her. “The rumors in this town aren’t always true, like they said in ‘The Player,'” she said snidely. “I sat next to Gore Vidal the other night and he politely told me my mother is really a lesbian. I don’t give a damn if she is one — but don’t you think she would have told me one drunken night?”
Fisher said of her breakup with her daughter Billie’s father, Lourd, which Newsday columnist Liz Smith attributed in a 1994 item that electrified Hollywood to Lourd’s liaison with another man. “You know I’d love to lie about it, but I can’t,” she says. “I didn’t see it coming. I was hit by a truck.”
Fisher also took Hollywood to task in WWD after being disillusioned with the town. “I don’t love it here anymore. I like the product of it, I like to be entertained, but the phony thing has gotten unpleasant. And then you see it mixed in with pleasant things and that’s even more disturbing. People say the stereotypes of this place can’t be exactly true. But they are. I think these days everyone in this town is on medication.”
“You know,” she adds, “by birthright I’m eccentric. My only role models were people who knew how to get attention. I have a really manic energy, so I talk it out. I take party hostages or evenings hostage, and one of the ways of getting the attention you need is to learn how to talk to entertain.”