Carrie Fisher, the influential Star Wars actress, has passed away at the age of 60, following a heart attack. Though she remained relatively quiet following her iconic appearance in the science fiction franchise, the writer-performer’s career recently started to again gain traction after reprising her role as Princess Leia in the recent reboot of the franchise.
Fisher was born into the spotlight by parents pop star Eddie Fisher, and actress Debbie Reynolds on October 21, 1956 in Beverly Hills, California.
At the ripe old age of 17, the actress made her first appearance on the silver screen in 1975’s Shampoo. Before landing her most famous role, the young dramatist took the route of a serious thespian, attending London’s famed Central School of Speech and Drama, where she studied classical theatre for 18 months.
Once back in LA, Fisher joined an elite group of about a half dozen actresses who were being considered for the Princess Leia role in George Lucas’ Star Wars. Though she worked steadily through her almost five-decade career, the actress had a hard time breaking out of the familiar role that audiences originally came to know her as.
In 2006, the performer put on a show at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles called Wishful Drinking, which chronicled her eclectic childhood and fabled career, as well as her well-reported issues with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. The one-woman-show was so successful that she spent the next four years performing the autobiographical play for audiences all across the nation, as well as for TV audiences in a filmed presentation for HBO.
Fisher had just recently released yet another memoir in November of 2016, called The Princess Diarist. The actress turned writer had been making headlines due to an excerpt from her book that claimed that she had, had an affair with a married Harrison Ford during the filming of Star Wars.
She was on her way back from a publicity tour for her book when, according to TMZ, she suffered the massive heart attack on a flight from London to LAX. Though medically-trained passengers on her flight were able to attend to her, she reportedly appeared “lifeless” when being transported to UCLA Medical Center. Fisher never recovered from the incident, and remained unconscious until her death on Tuesday morning.
Powerhouse director J.J. Abrahams tweeted his condolences in a message to her fans, shortly after news of her death broke.