Though she was a best-selling author and screenwriter, many fans will always associate Carrie Fisher with the role of Princess Leia from George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy. She was the daughter of movie stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and grew up wanting to follow in their footsteps. When Fisher was quite young, her father left the family to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds raised Fisher and her younger brother, Todd Fisher, alone, but then remarried. As a performer, she started appearing with her mother on Vegas nightclub stages at age 12. When she was 15, Fisher left high school to focus on her show business career. The following year, she was a dancer in the Broadway revival of Irene, which starred her mother. Soon after that, Fisher enrolled at London's Central School of Speech and Drama where she studied for 18 months.
Fisher made her film debut playing a sexy young thing who succumbs to womanizing Warren Beatty's seduction in Shampoo (1975). Next came the Star Wars films. Her feisty portrayal of the courageous young princess made Fisher a star. But with sudden stardom came a price. In November 1978, she hosted the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. There she met and became friends with John Belushi, and with him got heavily involved with illegal drugs. Fisher became romantically involved with singer/songwriter Paul Simon and married him in the early '80s. Due in part to her drug problems, the marriage lasted less than a year. A near overdose led Fisher to drug and alcohol rehabilitation. She detailed her experiences with drugs and recovery in her witty first novel, Postcards From the Edge (1987). Two years later, Fisher adapted the tale for Mike Nichols' charming and moving screen version which starred Meryl Streep as a drug-addicted daughter trying to make a comeback and compete with a glamorous movie star mother (Shirley MacLaine) who always outshines her.
Throughout the '80s, Fisher continued appearing sporadically in feature films, but made little impact as an actress. By the latter part of the decade, her acting career began perking up again with such films as When Harry Met Sally (1989), in which she played Meg Ryan's best friend. Fisher appeared in a few more films and also in the television series Leaving L.A. through 1992 and then abandoned acting for the next five years to focus on child rearing and her writing career. Subsequent novels include Surrender the Pink, a semi-autobiographical novel exploring her relationship with Paul Simon, and Delusions of Grandma. In 1997, Fisher returned to feature films playing a small role in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. She also experienced renewed fame when George Lucas released restored and enhanced versions of his Star Wars series in 1996. Although she became better known for her writing than her acting, she continued to appear in movies such as Lisa Picard Is Famous, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Fanboys, and the 2008 remake of The Women. In 2010 her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, in which she recounted her career and her life, was filmed. In 2015, she returned to her most iconic character, now General Leia, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fisher suffered a fatal heart attack in 2016, and died at age 60.