actor literature mental health

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was an American actress and writer. She is best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars. She has written a semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge, as well as two autobiographical novels Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic which deal with her struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder. Fisher was outspoken in her views and heavily criticised the sexist body shaming comments about her following the release of the latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stating “Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.”

Fisher was born in 1956 in Beverly Hills, California to singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher followed her parents into a career in the entertainment industry, and appeared alongside her mother in Las Vegas at the age of 12. In 1973, Fisher appeared as a debutante and singer in the hit Broadway revival Irene, which starred her mother. Later that year, Fisher moved to the UK where she enrolled at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, which she attended for a period of 18 months. In 1795, she made her film debut in the comedy Shampoo, which starred Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn. Two years later, Fisher starred as Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope alongside Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Fisher felt that although she thought the script for the film was excellent, it was doubtful that many people would agree with her. The film made Fisher and her co-stars internationally famous and their faces were plastered on everything from posters and plastic dolls to duvet covers and fluffy slippers. Fisher then went on to star in the next two instalments in the Stars Wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983.

In the early to mid-1980’s Fisher struggled with an increasing addiction to alcohol and drugs, later realising that”I was doing a bit more drugs than other people and losing my choice in the matter. “ Later she would reveal that during the filming for The Empire Strikes Back she had been addicted to cocaine, and did coke on the set of the ice planet. Although initially diagnosed as being an alcoholic and drug addict, Fisher was later corrected diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 24, but it took her a further 5 years to accept the diagnosis. In 1987, Fisher published her first novel, Postcards from the Edge, a semi-autobiographical tale about an actor trying to put her life together after a drug overdose. It became a best-selling novel and Fisher won the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. In 1990, a film version of Postcards from the Edge was released for which Fisher had written the screenplay. The film starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, with Streep receiving an Oscar nomination for best actress for her role.

In 1989, Fisher returned to acting with supporting roles in films like When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Soap Dish (1991). She continued to work on her writing, and published the novels Surrender the Pink (1990) and Delusions of Grandma in 1993. She also worked as a screenwriter, helping to revise the scripts for Sister Act (1992), Outbreak (1995) and The Wedding Singer (1998). Fisher became one of the top script doctors in Hollywood, and was hired by George Lucas to revise the scripts for his 1992 TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as well as the dialogue for the Star Wars prequels Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). In 2005, Women in Film & Video – DC recognized Fisher with the Women of Vision Award.

In 2006, Fisher wrote and performed her one-woman autobiographical play ‘Wishful Drinking’ at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles from November 2006 to January 2007. In 2008 she performed it at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in April, San Jose, California in July, Hartford Stage in August, Washington D.C. in September and Boston in October. In December that year, she published an adapted version of Wishful Drinking which became a best-selling novel. The audiobook version earned her her a nomination for a 2009 Grammy Award in the Best Spoken Word Album category. Fisher took her play to the stage once again in May that year at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, followed by an extended run on Broadway in New York at Studio 54. In interviews to promote the novel, Fisher stated that she has her bipolar disorder under control thanks to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments which help to “blow apart the cement” in her brain. In 2010, HBO aired a feature-length Emmy-nominated documentary based on a special live performance of Fisher’s Wishful Drinking stage production. In 2012, she published her second autobiographical novel Shockaholic, a follow up to Wishful Drinking in which she details her positive experiences with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to help her deal with her drug addiction and depression. Fisher also has an emotional support animal, a small dog named Gary Fisher.

In 2015, Fisher reprised her role in Star Wars, appearing as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fisher was subjected to sexist, ageist comments following the films release and in both interviews and on social media she was outspoken in her disgust for the way she was treated and the fact that “Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.” Fisher took to Twitter to write “Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately, it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.” Fisher revealed that she had felt pressured to lose weight in order to reprise her role as Organa and that the film industry “treats beauty like an accomplishment”. Such attitudes, she said, were “insane” and “youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the TEMPORARY happy by products of time and/or DNA.” The film, directed by J.J. Abrams, opened in the U.S. on December 18, 2015 and broke an array of box office records, earning more than $247 million domestically in its opening weekend.

Sources here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Leave a Reply