2016 was a shitty, shitty year for celebrities. (It was shitty in other ways, but I won't get into that here.) Someone wrote an article about statistics and death that showed the math about how shitty 2016 was for celebrity mortality, and that it was in fact, far shittier than normal. If I can find it again, I'll post a link to it.
I can't remember the news organization who posted the statistics story because as I was reading it, the Breaking News icon flashed on my screen that Carrie Fisher had passed away. It felt like someone had ripped out all my internal organs.
To most people around the world, she was Princess Leia/General Organa. A beautiful heroine in one of the most popular movie franchises of all time.
But the roles I remember most fondly are the ones she seemed to have the most fun doing. Jake's homicidal ex-fiancée in The Blues Brothers. The neurotic, insecure Marie in When Harry Met Sally. Horny casting exec Betsy Faye Sharon in Soapdish. Dr. Evil and his son Scott's group therapist in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Or even a wacky version of herself in The Big Bang Theory episode, "The Convention Conundrum."
But Carrie Fisher was far more than the roles she played onscreen. To me, she was a smart, talented writer who produced so much incredible work despite her personal demons. She could be hilarious, maudlin and sharp-witted in the same sentence.
She followed Red Smith's advice that to write, you open up a vein and bleed on the page. And bleed she did. Carrie was open about her battles with addiction, her struggles with mental health, and her rocky relationship with her parents.
Maybe that's why her death affected me in ways that the others didn't. While I freely admit to worshipping Carrie as an eleven-year-old when Star Wars came out, it was the adult Carrie I admired even more. She was the type of writer I want to be: fearless and prolific.
And I have no doubt, wherever her soul is now, she still exists just as fearlessly as she did on this plane.
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