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'Star Wars’ Actress and Author Carrie Fisher Dies at 60

The daughter of celebrities battled drug addiction and mental illness

Carrie Fisher

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Carrie Fisher signs copies of her new book ‘The Princess Diarist’ at Waterstones in London, England.

Actress Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" movie, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles at age 60. She had been hospitalized since Friday when she suffered a medical emergency on board a flight to Los Angeles.

Fisher made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit "Shampoo," and also appeared in "Austin Powers," ''The Blues Brothers," ''Charlie's Angels," ''Hannah and Her Sisters," ''Scream 3" and "When Harry Met Sally."

But she is best remembered as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" in 1977, with her now-iconic braided buns, in which she uttered the immortal phrase, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."

Fisher played a tough, feisty and powerful role, though at one point she was chained to Jabba the Hutt. (She reprised the role in Episode VII of the series, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015, and her digitally rendered image appears in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.")

The actress had long battled drug addiction and mental illness. She said she smoked pot at age 13, used LSD by 21 and was first diagnosed as bipolar at age 24. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy and medication.

In 1987, her thinly veiled autobiography "Postcards From the Edge" became a best seller. It became a 1990 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.

More books followed: "Delusions of Grandma," ''Surrender the Pink," ''The Best Awful," ''Shockaholic" and this year's autobiography, "The Princess Diarist," in which she revealed that she and co-star Harrison Ford had an affair on the set of "Star Wars."

Ever ready to satirize herself, she has even played "Carrie Fisher" a few times, as in David Cronenberg's dark Hollywood sendup "Maps to the Stars" and in an episode of "Sex and the City." In the past 15 years, Fisher also had a somewhat prolific career as a television guest star, recently in the Amazon show "Catastrophe" as the mother of Rob Delaney's lead, and perhaps most memorably as a has-been comedy legend on "30 Rock."

Her one-woman show, "Wishful Drinking," which she's performed on and off across the country since 2006, was turned into a book, made its way to Broadway in 2009 and was captured for HBO in 2010.

Little was off-limits in the show. She discussed the scandal that engulfed her superstar parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher (he ran off with Elizabeth Taylor); her brief marriage to singer Paul Simon; the time the father of her daughter left her for a man; and the day she woke up next to the dead body of a platonic friend who had overdosed in her bed.

"I'm a product of Hollywood inbreeding. When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result," she said in the show. At another point, she cracked: "I don't have a problem with drugs so much as I have a problem with sobriety."

In a 2009 interview with the Associated Press, Fisher wasn't coy about revealing details about her unusual life, whether it was about drug addiction, mental illness or her failed relationships. She hoped to destigmatize mental health problems.

"People relate to aspects of my stories, and that's nice for me because then I'm not all alone with it," she said. "Also, I do believe you're only as sick as your secrets. If that's true, I'm just really healthy."

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