Admirers turn out in force to shine a light on Fisher
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.