Ad­mir­ers turn out in force to shine a light on Fisher

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Danika Worthington

A young girl lit a can­dle from another’s flame, a line form­ing be­hind her as dozens of lightsabers went into the air, their dis­tinct hums wash­ing over the sub­dued crowd gath­ered to honor “Star Wars” icon Car­rie Fisher.

Roughly 400 peo­ple col­lected around a replica of an X-Wing, a rebel starfighter from the “Star Wars” films, on Wed­nes­day night to pay re­spects to Fisher at Wings Over the Rock­ies Air & Space Mu­seum.

“Th­ese were my he­roes, so to see the death of Car­rie Fisher re­ally hit me,” mu­seum cu­ra­tor Matthew Burchette told the crowd. “2016 has just kind of been a bad year to be a celebrity, but I did not re­ally truly ex­pect Car­rie Fisher to be one of those peo­ple this year.”

Fisher, 60, died Tues­day af­ter hav­ing a heart at­tack on a flight Fri­day.

Although she gained in­ter­na­tional fame as Princess Leia, Fisher was also an ac­com­plished writer known for her wry hu­mor and hon­esty, par­tic­u­larly about her ex­pe­ri­ence with men­tal ill­ness and ad­dic­tion. Her work in­cluded “Post­cards From the Edge,” “Wish­ful Drink­ing” and “The Princess Diarist.”

Fisher was the daugh­ter of Ed­die Fisher and Deb­bie Reynolds, and the crowd gasped when it was an­nounced that Reynolds had passed away Wed­nes­day.

The group at Wed­nes­day’s vigil var­ied in age, rang­ing from adults who grew up with the films to kids who were in­tro­duced to the se­ries dur­ing the lat­est movies. Sev­eral girls and women, as well as some men, wore Princess Leia’s iconic hair­style with two buns hug­ging their ears. Oth­ers dressed as char­ac­ters from the films, and lightsabers were abun­dant.

“When I was a teen, she taught me to be strong,” said Lynelle Phillips, a fan who had met Fisher three times in the past. “As an adult, she taught me that re­gard­less of what men­tal ill­ness you might have, keep go­ing.”

Phillips showed up with a friend, Kim Folkins, and com­forted her when she strug­gled to talk about Fisher’s pass­ing.

“She was funny, bright, flawed,” Folkins said, “and she taught us that princesses can save them­selves.”

Many com­mented on Fisher’s will­ing­ness to talk about her ex­pe­ri­ence with bipo­lar dis­or­der and how that helped them with their own ex­pe­ri­ences with men­tal ill­ness.

“I ad­mire Car­rie Fisher not just be­cause of her act­ing but what she did as a per­son,” fan Téa Rea­gan said.

Rea­gan, 17, said she started watch­ing the films in preschool af­ter she was in­tro­duced to them by her dad, who liked “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”

“Star Wars” fans hold can­dles and lightsabers aloft dur­ing a vigil for ac­tress Car­rie Fisher at the Wings Over the Rock­ies Air & Space Mu­seum in Den­ver on Wed­nes­day night. Fisher died Tues­day af­ter suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack Fri­day. Photos by He­len H. Richard­son, The Den­ver Post

A ta­ble is set with can­dles and a pic­ture of ac­tress Car­rie Fisher as Princess Leia sits by an X-wing starfighter model.

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