She was a force of nature and a force for good.
New Yorkers, Hollywood stars and fans around the world mourned the death of Hollywood princess Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia of “Star Wars,” who died Tuesday at age 60 after suffering a heart attack Friday on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
As Princess Leia, Fisher “paved the way for strong, amazing female characters in the sci-fi blockbuster genre,” said Kuvonn Richardson, 21, a screenwriter and junior at SUNY Purchase who lives in Midwood, Brooklyn.
Born into Hollywood royalty as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Fisher was most famous for her iconic warrior role in Star Wars, but also appeared in “Shampoo,” “When Harry Met Sally,” Soapdish,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and dozens of other films.
Candid and droll about her own struggles with bipolar disorder, drug abuse and obesity, she received an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from Harvard College earlier this year for her activism and outspokenness on issues of addiction and mental health.
A prolific, dishy and witty writer, Fisher penned a slew of books, including “Postcards from the Edge,” “Wishful Drinking,” “The Best Awful There Is,” “Shockaholic” and “The Princess Diarist,” some of which became plays and movies.
Though not a typical femme fatale, Fisher had a love life to rival Cleopatra’s: Divorced from singer Paul Simon in 1983, she had a daughter by the talent impresario Bryan Lourd and most recently confessed to having had a three-month affair with Harrison Ford in 1976 while the two were filming the original “Star Wars.”
Ford described Fisher as “one-of-a-kind … brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely,” in a statement on Tuesday.
“Thinking of her as just Princess Leia really does her a disservice: She was an amazing script doctor,” punching up scripts for movies such as “Sister Act,” and “Hook,” until she wearied of it, Richardson points out.
Fisher once told WebMD that her cure for bad dialogue was “to make the women smarter and the love scenes better.”
Richardson said he planned to honor Fisher’s legacy by reviewing before-and-after versions of all the scripts she worked on.
Hollywood stars also took to cyberspace to voice their grief. “No words #Devastated,” tweeted Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars.”
“She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved,” George Lucas, creator of the “Star Wars” franchise, said in a statement in which he dubbed Fisher “our great and powerful princess — feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
“She was sassy — and all New Yorkers love sassy,” said Stephen Covello, 50, a fundraiser for a non-profit who lives in Chelsea. Fisher’s willingness to speak her mind and discuss the pros and cons of electroshock treatment to “blow apart the cement in my brain,” as she once told Oprah Winfrey, was brave, Covello noted.
No fan of the president-elect, Fisher frequently took to Twitter to share a jibe about Donald Trump. “Trump speaking his mind isn’t refreshing, it’s appalling. Coca Cola is refreshing,” she harrumphed on Nov. 6.
Fisher had a wild past, lots of personality, intelligence “and a good sense of humor,” unlike so many stars with carefully cultivated, bland brands, noted Freddy Vasquez, 54, a retail salesman from Williamsburg who said he “shed a tear” when he heard she died.
Richardson was consoled by the thought he has yet to see all of Fisher’s on-screen accomplishments. When he heard of her death, he remembered that “‘Star Wars Episode VIII’ finished filming a few months ago — so we will all get to see another complete performance from her. It will be nice to see her in her last hurrah.”