Actress and author Carrie Fisher was born October 21, 1956 in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Her parents divorced when she was two, after her father left to be with Elizabeth Taylor, and Carrie grew up with her mother in Beverly Hills, attending Beverly Hill High School.
After high school, Carrie studied at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, before making her film debut in 1975’s Shampoo, with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. But it was her next role, as Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, that propelled her to stardom. She reprised the role in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
“For years people have asked if I mind being remembered as Princess Leia. I used to say no. But now I will say that it sometimes bothers me, yes. It follows me around like a little smell,” Carrie told Esquire in 2002.
The 80s brought other film roles, including The Man with One Red Shoe, Hannah and Her Sisters, The ‘Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally. Carrie also became an author with the release of her first novel, Postcards from the Edge, a semi-autobiographical bestseller.
Both her acting and writing continued. She appeared in films like 1991’s Drop Dead Fred, 2000’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and 2009’s Fanboys. She also gives voice to Angela on the animated TV series Family Guy.
“I enjoy taking jobs that make fun of me—or me as Princess Leia, or me as the writer, or whatever, as some idea,” Carrie told the AV Club. “I have the ability, occasionally, of being able to step out and see who you think I could end up being. And I like to play with that.”
Carrie wrote several other novels, including Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, Hollywood Moms, and The Best Awful There Is. She has also written two non-fiction books, Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, about her struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder. “I have a mess in my head sometimes, and there’s something very satisfying about putting it into words,” Carrie told the AV Club. “Certainly it’s not something that you’re in charge of, necessarily, but writing about it, putting it into your words, can be a very powerful experience.”
In 2014, Carrie was cast again as Princess Leia, this time to appear in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, along with original cast mates Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. “It was a little like the first time, but we looked more melted this time. We’re known as the Legacy people, so I think of us as a tap-dancing troop,” she said at 2015’s Comic Con.
Carrie dated Paul Simon in the 70s and 80s, and the couple wed in 1983. They divorced a year later. Carrie was also engaged briefly to Dan Aykroyd, and had a long-term relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd. Carrie and Bryan had a daughter together, Billie Catherine Lourd, born in 1992.