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Remembering Carrie Fisher On The Fifth Anniversary Of Her Death

by : Hannah Smith on : 27 Dec 2021 15:11
Remembering Carrie Fisher On The Fifth Anniversary Of Her DeathAlamy

It’s been five years since Carrie Fisher passed away, and her legacy has continued to live on.

The actor shot to fame thanks to Star Wars, through which she became a sci-fi icon and feminist hero for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original trilogy and subsequent sequels, which she sadly never completed filming.

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But if Star Wars is all you know her for, you’re missing out. As well as playing one of the most famous film characters of all time, Fisher was also an award-winning screenwriter, a bestselling novelist, a fierce advocate for mental health and addiction support and a feminist hero who made a point of always saying exactly what she thought.

In a tragic twist of fate, Fisher died shortly after completing a promotional tour for her autobiography The Princess Diarist, during which time she’d appeared on several talk shows and given interviews regaling readers with tales about her incredible life and career.

Carrie Fisher (Alamy)Alamy

So what better way to pay tribute to a Hollywood legend than to remember her in her own unique and hilarious words.

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Carrie Fisher… on Star Wars

Depending on who you ask, Star Wars was either a sure-fire success or shock cult surprise. Despite claiming at one point of the film’s potential that ‘we all knew. The only one who didn’t know was George [Lucas.]’

Fisher later wrote in her first memoir that she initially viewed the gig as the Hollywood equivalent of a gap year, recalling thinking ‘I’ll go hang out with a bunch of robots for a few months and then return to my life and try to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.’

…on feminism

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Never one to mince her words, Fisher spent the better part of half a century calling out sexism and ageism in Hollywood and society in general, flipping the ‘damsel in distress’ stereotype that her character, Princess Leia, could easily have been reduced to on its head.

‘My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places & in front of faces where there’s something to say or see,’ she tweeted once in response to criticism of her appearance, just one of an infinite number of solid gold quotes from Fisher about her rejection of society’s expectations of her as a woman.

Princess Leia (Alamy)Alamy

…on writing

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Despite being best known for her work on screen, Fisher often said her true calling was writing. A prolific and award-winning screenwriter, Fisher authored several semi-autobiographical novels, and a one-woman TV show and was even called in to help fix other people’s scripts, as was the case with Sister Act and The Wedding Singer.

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Fisher described writing as ‘therapeutic’ for her, saying ‘writing in a way saved me, kept me company. I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.’ Becoming an actor, she said, ‘was an accident.’

…on Harrison Ford

Perhaps the biggest bombshell from Fisher’s final press tour was the revelation that she’d had a brief affair with Harrison Ford while filming the original Star Wars trilogy. The pair, who reunited for The Force Awakens in 2015, had a fourteen year age gap, with Fisher admitting in her memoir that her love for the then-married Ford was ‘unrequited’ and caused her great pain (though she stressed that he didn’t take advantage of her). ‘I was shocked by the fact that he fancied me. I was a very insecure girl and had only had one boyfriend,’ she wrote, explaining that after finishing filming Star Wars ‘we never again acknowledged that anything of that nature had occurred.’

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Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford (Alamy)Alamy

…on her mental health struggles

Over the course of her life, Fisher struggled with addiction and mental illness, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a young age. The actor was never not frank about her experiences, telling Vanity Fair in 2009 ‘If you claim something, you can own it, but if you have it as a shameful secret, you’re f**ked.’

In a letter written to a fellow person with bipolar disorder shortly before her death, she wrote, ‘We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic…an opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder.’ For thousands around the world, she was exactly that.

…on her dog, Gary

In the last years of her life, Fisher was rarely seen without her beloved dog, Gary. Adopted from her daughter, Billie Lourd, the french bulldog acted as a companion and an emotional support animal for Fisher, who told The Today Show in 2016, ‘I live for Gary.’

The adorable dog had his own Instagram page dedicated to his adventures with his mum, who revealed ‘Gary is very devoted to me and that calms me down. He’s anxious when he’s away from me.’ Following Fisher’s death, Gary was re-adopted by Lourd, and in 2017 was seen in a heartbreaking Instagram post watching his late mother in The Last Jedi.

…on how she wants to be remembered

‘I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Featured, Film, Harrison Ford, Star Wars