I can’t believe it, either. Carrie Fisher, best known as the Star Wars femme fatale Princess Leia, died earlier Tuesday at age 60.
She was never a wallflower to be sure, and whether acting, writing and living in the spotlight, she was a powerful personality, enduring dramas and struggles both on the screen and behind the scenes.
(Though, through her personally charged writing and open disclosures, you really can’t say she hid much.) She maintained a biting wit both towards her co-stars Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and even the dark lord Darth Vader himself, as well as towards the “real”-life entertainment industry at large.
Through Star Wars alone, Fisher was a cultural icon, a leading lady in the midst of intergalactic war of self-empowerment, with her words (to Han Solo: “Well, I guess you don’t know everything about women yet”) as well as her actions (see also blaster pistols).
Even with her personal experiences with bipolar disorder and substance abuse, Fisher charged through these intensely personal struggles, and opening up about them, rather than shying away, perhaps the easier (but no less emotional) option, through her book Postcards From the Edge.
My own parents (particularly my father) would marathon-watch the three original Star Wars movies with me at a young age, a family tradition that still persists today (he has a framed original version of the Episode IV poster, I have a Star Wars pen with a flashlight that projects an image of Yoda.) Even if this does not match up with your own childhood, Star Wars (and thus, Fisher, if only by association) was in the background in the past few decades, with movie installments of Episodes I-III, focusing on Anakin Skywalker, the prologue to Leia’s heart-pounding sci-fi adventures.
And, of course, most recently there was the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a box office hit, or at the very least, a hot topic virtually no one could ignore.
Thus, you can’t ignore the movie icon Princess Leia.
And so, you can’t ignore the strong-woman icon of Carrie Fisher.