Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Our Princess Leia

Princesses can also hold their own, in a galaxy far, far, away...
There are only a few more days left in the year and it was very sad to hear the news that yet another celebrity who made an impression on my youth was gone.

Actress Carrie Fisher passed away this morning at the age of 60, a few days after she had had a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Actress Carrie Fisher died today at the age of 60
We all thought our Princess Leia had died.

Many of us remember when Star Wars came out in 1977, watching this beautiful brunette woman with these large buns around her ears and dressed in white.

Up until that point, my preconceptions of what a princess was was developed from watching Walt Disney movies, like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White -- how the princess or the beautiful woman was saved by a dashing prince and how they would live happily ever after.

Princess Leia shattered those old fashioned images for me -- and countless other little girls -- love her. While she might be a princess, she was very adept at shooting guns to kill storm troopers, knowing her way around the Death Star, wearing a long dress that covered her up and flat boots, and even having funny zingers to fend off the attentions of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.

Fisher in Star Wars with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford
The next Halloween I was Princess Leia though I remember it was very cold wearing that thin white outfit with a brown belt. But we all wanted to be Princess Leias and Luke Skywalkers.

Watching the original Star Wars trilogy again in my 20s made me see how the dialogue was much more wittier than my six-year-old brain could figure out, and I could see the sexual chemistry between Han Solo and Princess Leia.

She redefined for me the definition of a heroine -- that she could achieve things herself -- she didn't need to depend on a man. They seemed like tools she could use to achieve her means.

I didn't watch the thinly autobiographical Postcards from the Edge, but I later saw Fisher in When Harry Met Sally..., another favourite movie of mine, where she plays Sally's best friend Marie, who immediately clicks with Harry's best friend Jess and they soon get married.

Fisher with Bruno Kirby in When Harry Met Sally...
It was lovely to see Fisher again, and saying some funny lines.

Now I feel like I should read some of her books, where I am reading in obituaries that she was an even better writer than actress, writing about her life experiences as the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, growing up in Hollywood and getting into drugs, and being diagnosed bipolar.

Carrie Fisher, thank you. Thank you for telling an entire generation of little girls in the late 1970s that we too can be our own Princess Leias -- able to hold our own, witty, smart, strong and caring.


  1. Of all the celebrity deaths thus far this year, Carrie Fischer's is probably the one that has most affected me. She may have been 60 years old but there was the sense that this was an actress that still had a number of movies left in her (including a couple more Star Wars films!), and a woman with lots of brilliantly funny stories to tell too.

    1. Hi YTSL -- I have to agree with you too. I don't know if she would have done more movies, but she probably would have written more. It's been a sad year!