Carrie Fisher: From Princess Leia to feminist icon, here's how she'll be remembered


The world lost a princess on Tuesday when actress Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60. But Fisher was more than Princess Leia, her beloved Star Wars character. She was a feminist icon who spoke her mind. 

We've compiled all of Mic's coverage following Fisher's untimely death. It includes her final column on living with a bipolar disorder, reactions from her Star Wars co-stars, some of her greatest quotes and more.

This is how she'll be remembered:

Carrie Fisher: Life beyond the big screen

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

Carrie Fisher was known for her iconic role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, but the actress — who died Tuesday at age 60 after suffering a heart attack last week — was not just beloved for her work in front of the camera. She was also a writer, activist and all-around bad-ass. 

Fisher was an in-demand Hollywood script doctor.

She was never credited by name for her work, but Fisher was one of Hollywood's most sought-after punch-up writers, according to a 1992 story in Entertainment Weekly. Some of the scripts she improved included Hook, Sister Act, The Wedding Singer and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Fisher was an acclaimed screenwriter and author.

Michael Buckner/gettyimages

Carrie Fisher didn't just improve other people's screenplays, she also wrote a few of her own, including the critically acclaimed 1990 adaptation of her debut novel, Postcards from the Edge.

Fisher wrote more novels and nonfiction books after Postcards. Her most recent, The Princess Diarist, was published this year. Additionally, she wrote and starred in the Broadway show Wishful Drinkingwhich was later broadcast by HBO

She also occasionally contributed an advice column for the Guardian. In her last piece, published in late November 2016, she drew upon her own experience with bipolar disorder to offer advice to a young person trying to balance the mental illness with work, school and life demands.

"You're doing more than I did at your age, and that's courageous," Fisher wrote.

"Now build on that," Fisher continued. "Move through those feelings and meet me on the other side. As your bipolar sister, I'll be watching. Now get out there and show me and you what you can do."

Fisher was an activist.

Fisher, who was outspoken about her struggles with drug abuse and bipolar disorder, worked to destigmatize mental illness.

On Tuesday, after news of Fisher's death was announced, the mental health advocacy initiative Stamp Out Stigma tweeted, "May the force be with you," in tribute to the actress and activist.

Fisher, who once described Princess Leia as the "beginning [of] girl power," was also a prominent feminist — perhaps most notably regarding issues of ageism and body shaming. 

"Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well," she tweeted in response to body-shaming critics. "Unfortunately, it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn't aged as well as I have. Blow us."

Fisher was a legendary, outsized personality.

"Maybe I shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares? My life is over anyway." So begins her 1987 semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge

The ever-quotable Fisher was an unfailingly interesting interview subject whose larger-than-life personality made her a prized cameo in a number of television shows, including Ellen and Sex in the City.

In Wishful Drinking, Fisher wittily joked about how she would like her obituary to read. "I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go," Fisher wrote, "I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra."

Carrie Fisher: A voice for those with mental illnesses

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

Multi-talented star Carrie Fisher was, among many other things, an advice columnist for the Guardian. In her final column before her death on Tuesday, she offered heartfelt advice to a person living with bipolar disorder who asked the actress how she was able to live through the illness. 

"Trying to deal with my mental illness and meet all of my responsibilities at school, work and home feels like a terrible balancing act," the advice-seeker, identified as Alex, wrote. "Sometimes, I let everything drop. It feels like only a matter of time until the things that I drop shatter irreparably." 

Fisher responded by saying that, by dealing with a bipolar diagnosis at such a young age, Alex was already far ahead of the curve. Fisher also stressed that Alex needed to find some kind of community of other people living with 0mental nullillnessnull. The actress spoke about her own experiences facing her alcoholism by going to meetings that she didn't like to attend. She eventually learned that she didn't have to like them, but she had to go.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"My comfort wasn't the most important thing — my getting through to the other side of difficult feelings was," Fisher wrote. "However long it might seem to take and however unfair it might seem, it was my job to do it." 

Fisher said that both she and Alex were facing a "challenging illnnullnulless," but there was "no other option than to meet those challenges" and to be an example to others who shared their diagnosis.  

"That's why it's important to find a community — however small — of other bipolar people to share experiences and find comfort in the similarities," Fisher said. "You're ahead of the game. You're doing more than I did at your age, and that's courageous." 


She closed the letter by saying, "You reached out to me — that took courage. Now build on that. Move through those feelings and meet me on the other side. As your bipolar sister, I'll be watching. Now get out there and show me and you what you can do." 

Fisher has been outspoken about her struggles with mental illness since the late 1990s. In a 1995 interview with Diane Sawyer, she spoke about her manic depression.

"I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital," Fisher said. "I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive." 

Carrie Fisher: A fearless woman

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

Carrie Fisher, actress and author, died Tuesday after having a heart attack while on a plane from London to Los Angeles on Friday. She was 60. Following news of her death, former co-star and onetime love interest Harrison Ford released a statement succinctly capturing the legendary life of Carrie Fisher:

Carrie was one-of-a-kind ... brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely... My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.

Fisher, who exploded into fame for her performance as Princess-turned-General Leia Organa in the Star Wars series, was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds, who starred in Singin' in the Rain (millennials might recognize her as Aggie Cromwell in Disney's Halloweentown) and singer Eddie Fisher, whose scandalous affair with Elizabeth Taylor resulted in the end of their marriage. 

Following her burst into stardom, Fisher became notorious for partying hard. She was open about her stints in rehab and struggle with drug addiction, telling reporters she did cocaine on the set of The Empire Strikes Back: "I didn't even like coke that much. It was just a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

In a 2000 interview with Diane Sawyer, Fisher disclosed her longtime battle with manic depression and bipolar disorder, telling Sawyer, "I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital." In the interview, Fisher addressed the convergence of her addiction with her mental health:

I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.

Fisher embraced her mental health and addiction struggles, detailing the roller coasters of her life in her one-woman-show-turned-book, Wishful Drinking

Throughout a 40-year career that spanned from acting to script doctoring to authoring, Fisher became a sort of quirky shoulder to lean on. She held hilarious interviews with her dog Gary, laughed off critics for their surprise that people age, gave loving, warm life advice and tenacious clapbacks and worked tirelessly to destigmatize mental illness. In Wishful Drinking, Fisher stated that for her obituary, "I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra." She really was a one-of-a-kind.

Carrie Fisher: A beloved mother

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

Scream Queens star Billie Lourd released a statement Tuesday afternoon announcing the death of her mother, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher. The 24-year-old was at her mother's bedside at UCLA Medical Center on Friday following her hospitalization after having a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. The mother and daughter were close, concluding filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII this past summer.

Fisher, who died at age 60, first portrayed Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope. She went on to play Leia on the silver screen three more times, most recently in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was the first time that Fisher played the character in a film since Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Lourd got to work alongside her mom when she joined the Star Wars universe as Lieutenant Connix in The Force Awakens. The two also got to film Episode VIII, which wrapped in July, together. However, Lourd never got to star alongside her mom on Scream Queens, despite expressing interest in having Fisher on as a guest star.

Lourd, who plays sorority-girl-turned-medical-intern Chanel #3 in the Fox series, revealed in an AOL Build event earlier this month that she was hoping to get her mom in an episode. "She could play someone who is convinced she's Princess Leia," she said. "That can be her disease. And then as a plot twist we could find out that she actually is Princess Leia."

The Scream Queens season two finale aired on Dec. 20, and a third season has not been announced, but Lourd at least got to pay tribute to her mother in season one. 

Fans of the series know that Chanel #3 wears ear muffs out of fear of an ex-boyfriend chopping off her ears. When the Chanels were arrested for the Red Devil's murder spree in the season one finale, Chanel #3 wasn't allowed to wear ear muffs in prison — so she used Princess Leia-like buns to hide her ears.

Carrie Fisher: A celebrated co-star

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

The passing of Carrie Fisher has spurred an outpouring of love on Twitter from fans and celebrities alike. From Ellen DeGeneres and Seth MacFarlane to William Shatner, Jon Favreau and many more, Hollywood is pressing pause on the holidays to remember a woman who brought joy and entertainment to countless Star Wars fans with her iconic role as Princess Leia. 

Star Wars cast members, too, are joining the chorus to raise up Fisher and her legacy, which has already stood the test of time and will serve to keep her memory alive for years to come.

Mark Hamill, who played the legendary Luke Skywalker, took to Twitter with a simple but powerful response to Fisher's death.

Anthony Daniels, the man who helped bring C-3PO to life, wished for Fisher's recovery following the announcement of her Dec. 23 heart attack and expressed his sadness after she passed.

Peter Mayhew, who played the part of the mighty Chewbacca, took to Twitter with a message and throwback photos.

Samuel L. Jackson, who played Mace Windu, left a fitting tribute.

Andy Serkis, the voice behind the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke, plans to see Fisher in another life.

Gwendoline Christie, who played Captain Phasma in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, simply said, "We've lost our Princess."

Saw Gerrera's portrayer, Forest Whitaker, posted a message to Twitter along with an iconic image of Fisher.

Fisher died Tuesday morning at the age of 60. She was hospitalized Friday after suffering a heart attack onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. After the plane landed, Fisher was rushed to the hospital and placed on a ventilator. 

Carrie Fisher: An all-around bad-ass

Story originally published on Dec. 27.

Days after experiencing a massive heart attack, iconic Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has died. She was 60.

While her role as Princess Leia brought her worldwide renown, Fisher was also known for being outspoken about mental illness and addiction — and for being an all-around bad-ass feminist.

Here are five quotes that have us already missing the actress.

On not being ashamed of mental illness

Fisher had long been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder and drug addiction.

In an interview with ABC News, Fisher said she isn't ashamed of her mental illness.

"I am mentally ill," she said. "I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I'm still surviving it, but bring it on."

On being strong through mental illness

In her book Wishful Drinking, Fisher discussed the strength it takes to deal with mental illness.

"At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you're living with this illness and functioning at all, it's something to be proud of, not ashamed of," Fisher wrote.

On ageism and body positivity

After some criticized Princess Leia for "not aging well," Fisher hit back with an epic tweet, saying, "My BODY hasn't aged as well as I have."

"Youth and beauty are not accomplishments," she added.

On being the bad-ass beginning of "girl power"

During the press tour for The Force Awakens in 2015, Fisher discussed what her iconic character meant for "girl power."

 "I am the beginning with 'girl power' — deal with it," she said.

On Donald Trump

Two days before the election, Fisher had some strong words for president-elect Donald Trump.

On death

In a recent Rolling Stone interview following the release of her memoir, The Princess Diarist, Fisher said she did not fear "death," but "dying."

"I fear dying," Fisher told the magazine. "Anything with pain associated with it, I don't like. I've been there for a couple of people when they were dying; it didn't look like fun. But if I was gonna do it, I'd want someone like me around. And I will be there!"