By the time the much loved 53-year-old singer and songwriter, George Michael, had expired on Christmas day, there had already been much comment on the apparently high number of stars and celebrities who had died during the year. However, there was still more sad news to come. Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher passed away on 27 December at the age of 60. She died in a Los Angeles hospital where she had been taken after suffering a heart attack in the latter stages of a commercial flight from London on 23 December. She had just appeared on BBC TV’s Graham Norton chat show.
Fisher performed in several films, but it was her starring role as Princess Leia in Star Wars (1977) – later called Star Wars IV – A New Hope and its successors that gained her the most fame and wealth. While her earphone hairstyle in the first film was made fun of, her feisty character was an early example of “girl power”. This feminist foot forward was somewhat reversed by her “gold bikini” outing in the following Star Wars VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), as she became a “sex object” for some.
Fisher most recently appeared in Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens (2015) and had finished filming for the follow-on Star Wars VIII which is due for release in 2017. However, she was also due to appear in Star Wars XI. Carrie Fisher’s non-availability for this was insured against by Disney with Lloyds of London syndicates for a reported US$41 million.
Carrie Fisher was a Hollywood child, being the daughter of the filmstar Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. She used this background for her books. For she was not just an actress but also an accomplished memoir writer and witty commentator on the ways of Hollywood. In her books she also admitted to periods of addiction to alcohol and drugs, which she partly attributed to the ups and downs of living with a bipolar depressive disorder.
In her latest book, Fisher also admitted to having love affairs including one with co-star Harrison Ford who was married with children at the time. She noted her painful disappointment that this short but passionate affair was really a case of unrequited love.
She later had one child, Billy Lourd, with Hollywood agent Brian Lourd, having been previously married, to singer and songwriter Paul Simon. The couple later divorced.
We at Seradata salute Carrie Fisher and give our condolences to her family, friends and fans.
Update on 29 December 2016: The sadness goes on. One day after hearing of her daughter’s death, Debbie Reynolds, whose starring roles included Singin’ in the Rain (1952), suffered a suspected stroke to which she later succumbed. It was as if the 84-year-old had died of a “broken heart”. Debbie Reynolds death was announced on 29 December.
Post Script: In the real world of stars and galaxies, US astronomer Vera Rubin, who proved the existence of dark matter in the universe, passed away on Christmas day at the age of 88. We salute her and give our condolences to her family, friends and fans also.