Carrie Fisher Died Having Figured Out How to Truly Be Carrie Fisher

David Edelstein in Vulture:

Carrie-fisher-narrative_w529_h352Carrie Fisher had the flukiest life, but ye gods, she made it her own. Relatively early, she realized that her fame and money had little to do with her. She had, she wrote in her final memoir, The Princess Diarist, “associative fame. By-product fame.” First, she had “celebrity daughter” fame, having been born to “America’s Sweethearts,” Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a year-and-a-half before Fisher became “America’s cad” by running away with Reynolds’s recently widowed pal, Elizabeth Taylor. Later, she’d have “celebrity wife” fame as the spouse of Paul Simon. In between, she had “happened-to-have-played-an-iconic-character fame.” The character was, of course, Prince Leia Organa of Alderaan, the leader of the rebellion against the Empire and an improbable figure even for a galaxy far, far away. There would be no way for Fisher to reconcile herself to a life of so many disparate parts, even with booze and pills and powders. It took courage and imagination and a big dose of exhibitionism to reinvent herself as a comic autobiographer and brassy Hollywood eccentric.

She began, of course, by telling us all about the ways in which she wasn’t Princess Leia. Before she arrived in London in 1976 to shoot Star Wars (now called, tiresomely, Episode IV: A New Hope), she’d spent a month at a fat farm in Texas to lose some of the baby-fat in her cheeks. Then came the application of the “hairy earphones” that she also dubbed, “the buns of Navarone.” As the only girl in a boys’ fantasy universe, she had to declaim terrible lines while trying to maintain her poise. As her recently published diaries (with bonus poems) make clear, her days were largely spent trying to figure out why the inhumanly gorgeous but married Harrison Ford — with whom she was having an affair — wasn’t falling in love with her the way she was with him. She walked away with a lot of confusion, a semi-broken heart, and (in lieu of a salary) a quarter of a percentage of what would turn out to be one of the most profitable movies ever made.

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