Carrie Fisher has sadly died following a heart attack on 23 December. The actress-turned screenwriter is a Hollywood icon with a diverse career beyond her iconic ‘Star Wars’ role as Princess Leia.
While her time as the intergalactic pastry-haired heroine is a great way to remember her, we think the rest of her career has been sadly sidelined by Leia’s exploits.
A talented performer, comedienne and novelist, Fisher also had a formidable body of film and TV roles that had nothing to do with ‘Star Wars’.
The Blues Brothers
Following her spiky role interstellar princess, Carrie pitched up in ‘The Blues Brothers’, playing the jilted lover of John Belushi’s Jake Elwood. As they’re making their escape from a scrape at the Palace Hotel Ballroom in Chicago, they meet ‘mystery woman’ in the service tunnel, and find themselves at the wrong end of her rifle. Jake, flashing those big brown eyes, melts her with a snog. Oddly, it was Dan Aykroyd she was seeing at the time. He proposed to her on-set.
Hannah and Her Sisters
Every actor or actress worth their salt needs a Woody Allen on their CV, and Fisher’s is the fabulous ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’. In a solid supporting role, her character April competes with fellow Stanislavski Catering Company founder Dianne Wiest for the attention of a good looking architect.
Her first ever appearance on screen came in 1975, in Hal Ashby’s star-studded satirical rom-com ‘Shampoo’. In an extremely racy scene, the 18-year-old Fisher propositions Warren Beatty’s suave Beverly Hills hairdresser George Roundy.
Carrie played Tom Hanks’ wife Carol in Joe Dante’s underrated horror comedy that pokes fun at 80s suburbia. She was the comic foil that set up Hanks’ excellent performance.
When Harry Met Sally
Though the stars of sex comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally’ were ostensibly Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, threatening to upstage them at every point are their best friends Jess, played by Bruno Kirby, and Marie, played by Fisher. Denying their feelings, Harry and Sally try to set each other up with their respective best chums, but after a disastrous double date it’s Jess and Marie who end up getting together instead. Her last word in the Wagon Wheel Coffee Table scene is a cracker.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
She also memorably cropped up with a cameo in ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as the leader of a group therapy class including Doctor Evil and estranged son Scott.
Carrie’s semi-regular appearances as Peter Griffin and co-worker Opie’s supervisor Angela in the shipping department of the Pawtucket Brewery are always a highlight. She loves animals and is looking for love. Though lust would do very nicely too.
Appearing in the episode Rosemary’s Baby in 2007, Fisher scored an Emmy nomination (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series) for playing Rosemary Howard, Liz Lemon’s idol since she was a child. Liz soon discovers her idol is completely nuts, however. It generally accepted to be one of the best episodes ever of the long-running US sitcom, and rather brilliantly lampoons Princess Leia’s memorable line: “Help me, Liz Lemon. You’re my only hope!”.
Fisher was nominated for another Emmy for her HBO special ‘Wishful Drinking’, a documentary about her acclaimed one-woman show, which was adapted for the stage from her 2008 memoir of the same name. It’s a warts-and-all look at her career, her battles with booze, bipolar disorder and her dysfunctional upbringing.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
The heroes of Kevin Smith’s cult comedy are picked up on a dusty highway by a nun, in a fabulously rude cameo from Fisher. Without going into too much graphic detail, Jason Mewes’ Jay gets the wrong end of the stick rather spectacularly, and makes a pass at the woman of the cloth. The soon find themselves back on the dusty highway and in need of another ride.
Maps To The Stars
Fisher plays herself in this biting Hollywood comedy from David Cronenberg, helping Mia Wasikowska’s Agatha find a job as a “chore whore” for the royally effed-up Havana Segrand, played by Julianne Moore. It’s a delightfully playful and brutally honest send up of her public persona and she lights up the screen every time she appears. Which was rarely in her later years.