I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016
In what is hopefully the final cruel act of an utterly awful year, Carrie Fisher has left us, drowned in moonlight and strangled with her own bra, just as she wished. She has been an icon to me, and many girls of my generation, from the moment we first watched Star Wars. Princess, rebel leader, sharp-shooter and sharp-tongued, she was the one we all wanted to be when we grew up. And she got Han Solo, which was another thing to aspire to as we developed hormones…
Way beyond a space princess in a bikini, she was the flamethrower-wielding Mystery Woman in The Blues Brothers, Tom Hank’s long-suffering wife and voice of reason in the very under-rated The Burbs, any number of nuns and therapists and best friends and cameos in dozens of other films, and well as working as a novelist, screenplay writer and uncredited script doctor for half of Hollywood. But her greatest role, her most inspiring role, was as herself. Wife and mum (and dog-mum), Hollywood survivor, recovering addict and fierce, passionate advocate for mental health. She did more to take the stigma from mental illness than any number of schemes and politicians, simply by being her ferociously honest self. She moved through the world casting an acerbic eye over the nonsense she saw around her, always ready with a cutting witticism or an upraised middle digit. In the shallowest place on earth, she was a beacon of common sense.
Throughout the years she was criticised – too unstable, too druggy, too fat (never too thin, what a surprise), too old. Carrie Fisher’s recent return to Star Wars in The Force Awakens as General Leia Organa was accompanied by a barrage of press written by people who seemed to think it was perfectly acceptable for her male co-stars to have aged 35 years, but somehow thought our rebel princess should have been preserved in aspic some time around the age of 26. How dare she, was the general and ridiculous consensus. How dare she have aged, how dare she have changed?
As always, Carrie Fisher had the final word :
“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.”
“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
Goodnight, our kick-ass general princess of Not Giving A Fuck. If I had a daughter, I’d want her to grow up to be Carrie Fisher too.