LOS ANGELES // Actor Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars, has died. She was 60.
Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, said her mother had died on Tuesday just before 9am. Fisher was “loved by the word and she will be missed profoundly”, Ms Lourd said.
Fisher had been in hospital since Friday when she suffered a heart attack on board a flight from London to Los Angeles.
The actor, who had been in England filming the third season of the British sitcom Catastrophe, was met by paramedics and rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre.
She made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit Shampoo, and also appeared in Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, Charlie’s Angels, and When Harry Met Sally.
But she is best remembered as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars in 1977 with her iconic braided buns, who uttered the immortal phrase, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
On screen, Fisher played a part in which she was tough, feisty and powerful. But in real life she 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 bestseller. It became a 1990 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.
More books followed including 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.
Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, which she had performed on and off across the United States 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.”
Besides her daughter, Fisher is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her mother.