Actress Carrie Fisher, whose grit and wit made “Star Wars'” Princess Leia an iconic and beloved figure to millions of moviegoers, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was 60.
Her death was confirmed in a statement issued by the publicist for Billie Lourd, Fisher’s daughter.
“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” Simon Halls said.
Fisher’s death came four days after she suffered a cardiac event on a flight from London to Los Angeles, according to a source familiar with the situation.
‘The family business’
The actress and advocate, who got her start in Hollywood as a seductive teen in the 1975 film “Shampoo,” was the daughter of screen legend Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher.
But her biggest break as an actress came just a few years after she dropped out of high school to appear alongside her mother on Broadway.
She beat out the likes of Jodie Foster and Amy Irving for the part of Leia in George Lucas’ original 1977 “Star Wars.” Her tough-as-nails princess was strong and independent — and the role positioned Fisher in the decades that followed as something of a feminist icon.
The film became a blockbuster — Box Office Mojo ranks it as the second highest-grossing movie of all time after adjusting for inflation, behind “Gone With the Wind” — and turned Fisher into an overnight star.
“I was trained in celebrity, so I did the only thing I knew,” Fisher once told Rolling Stone. “I went into the family business.”
Fisher went on to appear in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” She drew almost as much attention for Leia’s hair and wardrobe as she did for her performances in the movies. Her character wore her brown hair in two enormous swirly buns over her ears, and donned a revealing metal bikini as Jabba the Hutt’s captive in “Return of the Jedi.”
Tributes poured out Tuesday from her fellow members of the “Star Wars” universe.
“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original,” co-star Harrison Ford said in a statement. ” Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely … My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.”
Skywalker Ranch spokeswoman Connie Wethington issued this statement from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas: “Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In ‘Star Wars’ she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
Co-star Mark Hamill tweeted: “No words #Devastated.”