LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 The Associated Press 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.”
Reactions to Tuesday’s death of Carrie Fisher:
— “no words #Devastated” — Mark Hamill, on Twitter.
— “Carrie was one-of-a-kind.brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely…My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.” — Harrison Ford, in a statement.
— “There are no words for this loss. Carrie was the brightest light in every room she entered. I will miss her dearly.” — Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in “Star Wars,” on Twitter.
— “I’m deeply saddened at the news of Carrie’s passing. She was a dear friend, whom I greatly respected and admired. The force is dark today!” — Billy Dee Williams, on Twitter.
— “Carrie and I have been friends 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.” — George Lucas, in a statement.
— “Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother.” — Debbie Reynolds, on Facebook.
— “Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence. Millions fell in love with her as the indomitable Princess Leia; she will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally.” — Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, in a statement.
— “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.” — Steve Martin, on Twitter.
— “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher. I will miss our banterings. A wonderful talent & light has been extinguished.” — William Shatner, on Twitter.
— “She was a beautiful spirit and a light that has dimmed too soon. … What a sad way to end the year.” — SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, in a statement.
— “Carrie Fisher didn’t make it. I am so terribly sorry, and send my sincere condolences to her family, friends and fans all around the world.” — Bette Midler, on Twitter.
— “I thought I had got what I wanted under the tree. I didn’t. In spite of so many thoughts and prayers from so many. I am very, very sad.” — Anthony Daniels, on Twitter.
— “@CarriefFisher was a brilliant writer, actor, and friend. She was so much fun. I can’t believe she’s gone.” — Ellen DeGeneres, on Twitter.
— “Carrie Fisher has passed, she was funnier&smarter than anyone had the right to be. Sail On Silver Girl.” — Whoopi Goldberg, on Twitter.