Yesterday, the world lost a princess of the people, a talented actress, a prolific writer and an inspiring advocate for mental health. Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, passed away just days after suffering a heart attack onboard an airplane.
Catapulted to fame by her role in the sci-fi franchise, Carrie continued to capture the imagination of her fans long after her initial meteoric rise with her wit, charm and candour.
We celebrate her life with some of the unforgettable quotes from the actress, whose refreshing honesty and arresting personality will be sorely missed, in this galaxy and those far, far away.
1 “I’m a PEZ dispenser and I’m in the abnormal Psychology textbook. Who says you can’t have it all?”
Carrie and the rest of the cast in Star Wars may have expected that the movie would be a success, but none of them were prepared for the impact it would have on popular culture. It was only when her face started appearing on toys and socks that Carrie realised how famous she had become.
Carrie chose to use fame as a platform to talk about her personal struggle with bipolar disorder. She was an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and her openness about the subject helped to reduce the stigma around mental disorders.
2 “Most of my problems are high-class.”
When speaking about her stage show and memoir Wishful Thinking, in which she details her life down to some incredibly intimate moments, Carrie said: “The fact that I can make somebody laugh at this stuff—it can be very cathartic. If you claim something, you can own it.”
To be able to bear her soul to the world through her writing was empowering, but Carrie acknowledged that the troubles that she faced were “high-class” and that she was grateful for the hand she was dealt in life.
3 “I feel like I'm Minnie Mouse—the identity of Princess Leia so eclipses any other identity that I've ever had.”
Star Wars was a double-edged sword for Carrie’s success. It propelled her to stardom but also robbed her of her identity.
From her debut as the leading lady in the original trilogy, the image of Leia in that infamous metal bikini or with her iconic hairstyle – two big buns framing her face – would be etched in the minds of filmgoers for decades to come.
Still, Carrie liked the character. “She tells the truth. She, you know, gets what she wants done. I don't have a real problem with Princess Leia. I've sort of melded with her over time."
4 "Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.”
Mental illness drove Carrie to drug abuse. She battled addiction and went to rehab many times, even in the midst of filming Star Wars. Once, she overdosed on cocaine and had to be rushed to the emergency room.
After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 29, Carrie was eventually able to rein her life in with the help of treatment but she reflected that it was an extremely challenging and ongoing process. She continued to struggle with drug addiction for many years and she still had occasional manic episodes, including a bizarre outburst on a cruise ship in 2013.
When asked how she plans her life around her mental illness, her reply was matter-of-fact: “I don’t. You cross your fingers and hope you don’t get gobsmacked by it in the middle of something.”
5 "The only exercise I get lately is running off at the mouth and jumping to conclusions..."
Fans of the actress could not get enough of her Twitter feed. Carrie’s updates, like the above quote, were at times random and hilarious, but could also be sharp and political.
Followers were also regularly treated to pictures of Carrie with her loyal companion, a French bulldog named Gary.
6 “I've got to stop getting obsessed with human beings and fall in love with a chair. Chairs have everything human beings have to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience, and less response. The less the merrier. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture.”
This short passage from the diary Carrie kept during the time she was working on the original Star Wars films shows just how vulnerable she was back then at the tender age of 19. She published this along with the rest of her diary in her latest memoir, The Princess Diarist, in which she revealed that she had had a three-month affair with co-star Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo.
7 “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.”
George Lucas, the director of the original Star Wars movies, explained to Carrie that you couldn’t wear underwear in space because your flesh would expand whereas your clothing didn’t and would choke you.
Carrie was amused by the theory and proclaimed that she would like her obituary to reflect that her undergarments were the cause of her death.