Carrie Frances Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016) was an American actress, writer, and humorist. Fisher is known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, a role for which she was nominated for three Saturn Awards. Her other film credits include Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The 'Burbs (1989), When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Soapdish (1991), and The Women (2008). She was nominated twice for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performances on the television series 30 Rock and Catastrophe. She was posthumously made a Disney Legend in 2017, and in 2018 she was awarded a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
Fisher wrote several semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and an autobiographical one-woman play, and its non-fiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the play. She wrote the screenplay for the film version of Postcards From The Edge which garnered her a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, and her one-woman stage show of Wishful Drinking was filmed for television and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special. She worked on other writers' screenplays as a script doctor, including tightening the scripts for Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), The Wedding Singer (1998), and many of the films from the Star Wars franchise, among others. In later years, she earned praise for speaking publicly about her experiences with bipolar disorder and drug addiction.
Fisher was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. She and her mother appear in Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a documentary about their relationship. It premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Fisher died of a sudden cardiac arrest on December 27, 2016, at age 60, four days after experiencing a medical emergency during a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles. Her final film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was released on December 15, 2017 and is dedicated to her.
After finishing the European leg of her book tour (her last TV appearance was on The Graham Norton Show recording four days before her death), Fisher was on a commercial flight on December 23, 2016, from London to Los Angeles when she suffered a medical emergency around fifteen minutes before the aircraft landed. A passenger seated near Fisher reported that she had stopped breathing; another passenger performed CPR on Fisher until paramedics arrived at the scene. Emergency services in Los Angeles were contacted when the flight crew reported a passenger in distress prior to landing. Fisher was taken by ambulance to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she was placed on a ventilator.
Following four days in intensive care at UCLA Medical Center, Fisher died on December 27, 2016, at 8:55 a.m. (PST); she was 60 years old. Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, confirmed her mother's death in a statement to the press. Many of her co-stars and directors from Star Wars and other works also shared their thoughts on her death.
On January 9, 2017, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a death certificate that stated "cardiac arrest/deferred" as the cause of death. More tests were expected. In a June 16, 2017, news release, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said that the exact cause of death could not be determined, but sleep apnea and the buildup of fatty tissue on the walls of arteries were among the contributing factors. A full report from June 19, 2017, stated that Fisher had cocaine in her system, as well as traces of heroin, other opiates, and MDMA. The report also stated that the investigation was unable to determine when she had taken the drugs, and whether they contributed to her death. Her daughter Billie Lourd stated that Fisher "battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases... I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles."