Star Wars heroine Carrie Fisher dies at age 60
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Star Wars heroine Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

Best known for playing Princess Leia in massively popular space opera, iconic actress with Jewish father was also accomplished author

Actress Carrie Fisher attending the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, December 14, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images North America/Ethan Miller)
Actress Carrie Fisher attending the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, December 14, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images North America/Ethan Miller)

LOS ANGELES — Actress Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars,” has died. She was 60.

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, released a statement through her spokesman saying Fisher died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” read the statement from publicist Simon Halls. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”

Fisher had been hospitalized since Friday when she suffered a medical emergency on board a flight to Los Angeles.

From left, Star Wars actors Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) take a break from filming a television special in Los Angeles, October 5, 1978. (AP/George Brich)
From left, Star Wars actors Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) take a break from filming a television special in Los Angeles, October 5, 1978. (AP/George Brich)

A native of Beverly Hills, California, Fisher was the daughter of celebrity parents: singer Eddie Fisher, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and actress Debbie Reynolds.

The actress told J., the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California in 2008 that she frequently attended Friday night services and shared Shabbat meals with Orthodox friends.

Hopes had been raised for Fisher’s recovery after her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, told her Twitter followers on Sunday her daughter was in stable condition in intensive care.

But celebrity news website TMZ, citing unnamed sources, said Fisher never regained consciousness after collapsing.

She is best remembered as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” in 1977 with her now-iconic braided buns, who uttered the immortal phrase, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

Fisher played a part in which she was tough, feisty and powerful, even if at one point she was chained to Jabba the Hutt. She reprised the role in Episode VII of the series, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, and her digitally rendered image appears in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” She will also appear in “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” set to be released in 2017.

Tributes began pouring in soon after news of her death spread on social media, led by “Star Wars” co-star Mark Hamill — Luke Skywalker in the saga — who said he was “devastated” and had “no words.”

“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,” tweeted Billy Dee Williams, who played space smuggler Lando Calrissian.

Whoopi Goldberg, her co-star in 1991 comedy “Soapdish,” described her as “funnier and smarter than anyone had the right to be” while the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which runs the Golden Globes, tweeted: “May the Force be with you always, Princess Leia.”

She made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit “Shampoo.” Fisher also appeared in “Austin Powers,” ”The Blues Brothers,” ”Charlie’s Angels,” ”Hannah and Her Sisters,” ”Scream 3″ and “When Harry Met Sally …”

Fisher long battled drug addiction and mental illness. She said she smoked pot at age 13, used LSD by 21 and was first diagnosed as bipolar at age 24. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy and medication.

In 1987, her thinly veiled autobiography “Postcards From the Edge” became a best seller. It became a 1990 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.

More books followed: “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 co-star Harrison Ford had an affair on the set of “Star Wars.”

Ever ready to satirize herself, she has even 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.” In the past 15 years, Fisher also had a somewhat prolific career as a television guest star, recently in the Amazon show “Catastrophe” as the mother of Rob Delaney’s lead, and perhaps most memorably as a has-been comedy legend on “30 Rock.”

Her one-woman show, “Wishful Drinking,” which she’s performed on and off across the country since 2006, was turned into a book, made its way to Broadway in 2009 and was captured for HBO in 2010.

Little was off-limits in the show. She discussed the scandal that engulfed her superstar parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher (he ran off with Elizabeth Taylor); her brief marriage to singer Paul Simon; the time the father of her daughter left her for a man; and the day she woke 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 said in the show. At another point, she cracked: “I don’t have a problem with drugs so much as I have a problem with sobriety.”

“Hail Hail! A genius has vacated this realm-RIP Carrie Fisher,” Roseanne Barr posted on her Twitter account.

Besides her daughter, Fisher is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her mother.

In a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, Fisher wasn’t coy about revealing details about her unusual life, whether it was about drug addiction, mental illness or her failed relationships. She hoped to destigmatize mental health problems.

“People relate to aspects of my stories and that’s nice for me because then I’m not all alone with it,” she said. “Also, I do believe you’re only as sick as your secrets. If that’s true, I’m just really healthy.”

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