When most people think of Carrie Fisher, they immediately remember her role as the iconic Princess Leia from the Star Wars film franchise. The white dress and buns she donned in those movies have practically become synonymous with her name.
Lesser known is that she had a career that spanned more than 4o years. Not only was she a talented actress, but she was a writer and humorist as well!
It’s safe to say that, even though she has since passed on, her body of work continues to influence people around the world every day. See below for 24 interesting facts about Carrie that even diehard fans might not know…
1. Carrie Fisher became an advocate for—and was outspoken about—her struggles with mental health and addiction. She chronicled her bipolar disorder and drug addiction in depth in her memoir, Wishful Drinking.
2. Carrie became engaged to comedian/actor Dan Ackroyd after he saved her while choking on a Brussels sprout. “He had to give me the Heimlich maneuver. He saved my life, and then he asked me to marry him. And I thought… wow, what if that happens again? I should probably marry him.”
3. Standing at just 5’1″, Carrie had to act out many of her scenes in the Star Wars trilogy with Harrison Ford while standing on top of a box. This was because she was roughly a foot shorter than he was and the framing would have been off otherwise.
4. Surprisingly, the budget for the Stars Wars films was so low that the American cast and crew had to fly to England in economy class. When Carrie’s mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, called George Lucas to complain, he handed the phone to Carrie, who told her, “Mother, I want to fly coach, will you f**k off?!” and then hung up.
5. There were two reasons that Carrie found it difficult to star against Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. First, she would struggle with the scene’s dialogue. Secondly, he was so nice to her on set that she found it difficult to be mean to him in their scenes.
6. Carrie once joked about drinking alcohol on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. She stated, “Mark Hamill was off on Dagobah while Harrison Ford and I were were getting drunk in Cloud City.”
7. While Carrie certainly had a lot of memories from the set and filming of the Star Wars trilogy, her fondest of that era may come as a surprise. She was on the record as having said that her favorite moments were during her scenes when she was arguing with Harrison Ford.
8. Carrie was perhaps most recognized for her “Leia Buns” hairstyle as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. What most people don’t know, though, is that she didn’t much like the hairdo. For fear of being fired, she neglected to ever mention that to director George Lucas.
9. Like mother Debbie, who starred in Singin’ In The Rain, Carrie became famous while starring alongside two male actors at the age of 19 in an iconic role. She went on to make note of this coincidence in her 2008 memoir, Wishful Drinking.
10. An obviously very talented actress herself, Carrie was the daughter of famous actors and singers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. They were, however, divorced when she was just two. It was later revealed that Eddie left Debbie to be with Elizabeth Taylor.
11. Carrie once joked, “As we all know, there is no underwear in space.” She wasn’t kidding! Carrie actually wasn’t allowed to wear any underwear under her Princess Leia costume, and she had to have her breasts taped down with gaffer tape for the films.
12. Carrie revealed in her memoir Wishful Drinking that she had previously had a relationship with U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut). Once, when questioned about it, he said, “it was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
James Atherton/Bill Snead/The Washington Post
13. While Carrie was known for being a writer herself, she was also a successful movie script re-writer, as she was renowned for her talent at polishing film dialogue. She’s credited with having worked on the scripts for some of the Star Wars prequels, as well as The Wedding Singer, The River Wild, Hook, and Sister Act.
14. The pop-punk rock band Blink-182 once paid homage to Carrie by immortalizing her in their song “A New Hope.” In both the song and in real life, she was said to be lead singer Tom Delonge’s dream woman.
15. Carrie’s first-ever film role came in the 1975 film Shampoo, where she starred alongside Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. Landing this particular role only served to further her interest in making a career out of acting.
16. The Star Wars trilogy isn’t the only set of films where Carrie co-starred alongside actor Mark Hamill. Both appeared in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, even though neither of them were aware the other would be starring!
17. Carrie was a fan of the arts from an early age. At 15, while attending Beverly Hills High School, she appeared in the Broadway show Irene as a debutante singer. (The show also, coincidentally, had starred her mother, Debbie Reynolds.)
18. Since Carrie had been an animal lover from an early age, and her French Bulldog, Gary, accompanied her practically everywhere she went. This included sitting on the couches of many talk shows.
19. Carrie was also a parent. She gave birth to her only child, Billie Lourd, with famed film agent Bryan Lourd. Billie made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo alongside her mother in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lieutenant Connix, and she’ll be reprising her role in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
20. Though Carrie didn’t continue school after starring as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, she did previously attend Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England.
21. Carrie knew from an early age that she was destined to be an actress. In fact, it’s all she ever wanted to do. “I always wanted to do what my mother did—get all dressed up, shoot people, fall in the mud. I never considered anything else,” she said in an interview.
22. Though she was a wildly successful and popular actress for several decades, it wasn’t until 2003 that she experienced her first European autograph signing appearance. The event took place in a hotel library in London and was limited to 500 fans.
23. Carrie understood the dark underbelly of show business. She once said, “Acting engenders and harbors qualities that are best left way behind in adolescence. People-pleasing, going on those interviews and jamming your whole personality into getting the job, ingratiating yourself to people you wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire.”
24. Carrie beat out many now-famous actresses to land the role of Princess Leia. These included such icons as Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Kim Basinger, Anjelica Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Glenn Close, and Jessica Lange, to name a few.
Wow! Carrie Fisher was one of those actresses who you adored and idolized, and whose brutal honesty made her endearing this world over. And to think, there’s still so much we didn’t know about her!