RIP, Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (with Paul Simon), illustration for the New York Observer, 2006
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (with Paul Simon), illustration for the New York Observer, 2006

Carrie Fisher came along a bit too late to be the focus of my adolescent fantasies. By the time the first STAR WARS was released in 1977, I had already seen Sissy Spacek nude onscreen in PRIME CUT and CARRIE, as well as Cybill Sheperd in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, FAYE DUNAWAY in CHINATOWN and NETWORK, Carol Kane in THE LAST DETAIL, Shelley Duvall in THIEVES LIKE US, and Valerie Perrine in LENNY, not to mention any number of real-life and up close actresses in the Storefront Theater, both onstage and in the dressing room, so her chaste appearance as Princess Leia didn’t do much for me. Her harem girl outfit in RETURN OF THE JEDI might have made more of an impression, but that didn’t come out until 1983, by which time I was 24, and well past fantasizing about actresses.

David Chelsea is watching: 6 SOULS
starring Julianne Moore

2016 may have been a bumper year for celebrity deaths, but most of them were decades past their best work- I don’t know anyone who listened to the recent Bowie CD, or who was breathlessly awaiting the next Zsa Zsa Gabor movie. Even Dan Hicks, my personal favorite, had been recording excellent albums lately, but they were mostly remakes of old material. Carrie was different, and one might even say she went out at the top of her game. In recent years she had written a couple of well-received memoirs recounting her years of drug abuse, mental illness and bad romantic history, which she then turned into a one-woman show, and had also distinguished herself as a character actress on 30 ROCK and CATASTROPHE. I happened to be reading her latest book, THE PRINCESS DIARIST, (which incorporates the cringeworthy adolescent diary she wrote during the filming of the first STAR WARS film, while she was having an affair with the very married Harrison Ford), when I got the new of her death at 60 from a heart attack. One can easily imagine her turning the STAR WARS diary into another one-woman show, or doing the same, Spaulding Gray-like, with her recent heart attack. Alas, it was not to be.