Carrie Fisher was born in the spotlight, the Hollywood offspring of two stars, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, who were red-hot at the time their first child arrived on Oct. 21, 1956. That notoriety colored her life and career. But here are some things you might not have known about the actress, writer and advocate, who died Tuesday at the age of 60.
- Reynolds and Fisher had completed production on their first movie together — RKO’s aptly titled “Bundle of Joy” — just two months before Carrie was born. The cast and crew gifted the couple with a bassinet at the wrap party. Reynolds and Fisher gave director Norman Taurog a faux gold record with the inscription: “To Dr. Norman Taurog who delivered our first production, ‘Bundle of Joy,’ ahead of the Stork,” according to Variety.
- In the department of odd coincidences, about six weeks after she was born, Variety’s Army Archerd reported that “baby Carrie Fisher” received a gift of stock from producer Mike Todd — the same producer who was months away from marrying Elizabeth Taylor, and about 15 months away from dying in a plane crash. A year after that, Taylor wound up marrying Carrie’s father after an affair that scandalized Hollywood.
- In 1973, after dropping out of Beverly Hills High, Fisher moved to England to study acting. She failed her first entrance exam for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in February 1974. But the next month she was cited in Variety as the “talented youngster” who was set to make her movie debut in Warren Beatty’s “Shampoo.”
- In August 1974 Fisher was featured in her mother’s hit cabaret show at the London Palladium. Variety’s reviewer gushed: “The dramatic power and depth of her young pipes mark her as a strong bet in the immediate future. All-pro at 17 years of age, she appears to have all the ingredients for a powerhouse career.”
- One month later, Fisher enrolled in London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, which she attended for more than a year.
- Fisher still couldn’t escape the reference to her showbiz pedigree when when Archerd included this line to “Just For Variety” column for Feb. 23, 1976: “Carrie Fisher, daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, who was so effective as the nymphet in ‘Shampoo,’ next stars in George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”
- Although she never graduated high school, she was admitted to Sarah Lawrence College, but left school to film “Star Wars.”
- “Star Wars,” of course, changed everything for Fisher. But she maintained a sense of humor about herself and her career, as she demonstrated throughout her career. In 1978, Fisher hosted “Saturday Night Live.” The sketches included one in which she and Gilda Radner are sisters in the high decibel Loud Family (a riff on the public television show about the actual Loud family). “WOW, THIS IS GREAT POT!,” is one of her noisy declarations.
- Speaking of “SNL” sketches, Fisher had a small part in 1980’s “The Blues Brothers,” playing the vengeful lover of John Belushi’s Jake Blues. Behind the scenes, she was briefly engaged to the film’s co-star Dan Aykroyd, who proposed to her on the set.
- In her 2008 memoir, “Wishful Drinking,” she proposed that her own obituary be based on a conversation she had with George Lucas about whether there was underwear in space, and whether it should be seen under her Princess Leia gown. She thought it should read, “Carrie Fisher dies at 60, drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.”