The hu­man­ity and hu­mor of Car­rie Fisher

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Ann Hor­na­day

“Some crappy dessert. Any­thing. I’ll take it all.”

That was Car­rie Fisher or­der­ing a midafter­noon snack at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in May, where she was do­ing in­ter­views for “Bright Lights: Star­ring Car­rie Fisher and Deb­bie Reynolds,” a doc­u­men­tary about her mother; Fisher con­fided that she had wanted to make the film for the past few years be­cause, as she ex­plained, “my mother had been sort of de­clin­ing, and I didn’t

Eknow how much longer she would be per­form­ing.”

In a cruel, cos­mic twist Fisher her­self would no doubt ap­pre­ci­ate with her dis­tinc­tive brand of gal­lows hu­mor, she wound up go­ing first — on Tues­day, ahead of the mother whose multi-hy­phen­ated gifts (singer-dancer-ac­tress) and mar­riage to Ed­die Fisher cat­a­pulted Car­rie into fame that never seemed to fit her en­tirely com­fort­ably.

Reynolds, it turns out, passed away Wed­nes­day.

Car­rie went into the fam­ily busi­ness as an ac­tress, vault­ing from off-screen

EHol­ly­wood roy­alty to the on-screen ver­sion as a gen­er­a­tion’s most revered space princess, along the way pick­ing up and drop­ping a drug habit, turn­ing it all into fod­der for one of the finest, fun­ni­est show busi­ness mem­oirs ever writ­ten, al­beit in the form of a semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal novel. Movie fans may con­sider “Post­cards From the Edge” a pi­quant Meryl Streep com­edy, but writ­ers wor­ship the book for the same tough, wry self­aware­ness Fisher brought to her script-doc­tor­ing work (in­clud­ing un­cred­ited im­prove­ments to mul­ti­ple “Star Wars” se­quels), her one-wo­man show, “Wish­ful Drink­ing,” and her ac­tual mem­oir, the just-pub­lished “The Princess Diarist.”

Hap­pily enough, Car­rie Fisher turned out to be, not an Im­por­tant Fig­ure or Tow­er­ing In­tel­lect but, of all things, a per­son — whose mix of forthright­ness and hu­mor were on full, dis­arm­ing dis­play as she nib­bled at a plate of pe­tits fours and shared a dish of vanilla ice cream with her beloved French bull­dog, Gary.

Fisher will be duly re­mem­bered for her wit, her in­tel­li­gence, her lac­er­at­ing self-aware­ness and her sta­tus as a pop cul­ture leg­end in one of the most piv­otal films of the late 20th cen­tury (and be­yond). But it’s her will­ing­ness to bring lac­er­at­ing can­dor to even her most pri­vate strug­gles that will be her most mean­ing­ful legacy.

“The great thing about it is when a 14-year-old comes up and says, ‘I found out I was bipo­lar, and my mom told me that Princess Leia is bipo­lar as well,’ ” Fisher said, adding that “any­one who has this ill­ness is heroic.”

Car­rie Fisher and a stormtrooper in May 1980. As­so­ci­ated Press file

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