The book, which made news for revealing the details of the then 19-year-old Fisher’s affair with Harrison Ford through diaries she kept while on the set of Star Wars in 1976, is unique in that it is the first time she had ever written a book specifically about the film that launched her to worldwide superstardom.
Fisher actually lived a rather large life in show business outside of the character of Princess Leia, and though her books might deal with that experience directly or indirectly from time to time, most of her work had very little to do with the orphan from Alderaan.
That life is what this list is all about:
#1. She was born into show business
When asked by NPR’s Kelly McEvers how she got into the biz, Fisher revealed that she really didn’t have much choice:
“Well I don’t think I got into it. I was never out. I mean, my parents were in it. So… I didn’t have to go in. I was put in my mother’s nightclub act when I was 13…”
She’s 15 here, but you get the gist:
And, while many of us would be right to guess that playing in a Vegas nightclub as a teenager might be exciting, Fisher wasn’t quite as into it:
“I did not want to be in show business. I had stage fright. And, I would get very upset if I hit a wrong note and just sort of beat myself up.
It was not a fun sort of nightclub. I don’t know if people imagine nightclub as a fun way of spending time, doing nightclub work. It wasn’t fun.”
#2. She was also born into the celebrity news cycle
Fisher’s parents were both pretty big deals by the time she was born:
Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, is perhaps best known for playing Kathy Selden in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain.
And, when her parents divorced two years after she was born, her stepmother was none other than Elizabeth Taylor.
And all of this happened well before she ever got the part of Princess Leia.
#3. She turned that life into a novel and so much more
Life after Leia was rough but fertile.
Fisher’s fictionalized account her struggles with sobriety and her relationship with mother Debbie Reynolds became a best-selling novel:
The novel became a hit film with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine filling in the thinly-veiled roles of Fisher and Reynolds respectively.
Fisher also wrote the screenplay for the film.
And, that wasn’t some vanity title they gave her for being Princess Leia, and the author of the novel.
Jane Fonda was right when she said, “Boy can she write!”
#4. She was one of the best script doctors in Hollywood
Throughout the 1990s, Fisher, who was described as, “one of the most sought after doctors in town” in a 1992 Entertainment Weekly article about how she helped shepherd Sister Act to and through production, actually saved a good deal of scripts and productions from the scrap-heap.
She went without credit for almost all of the work, so it’s hard to say how many films she helped save.
But, if you’re a fan of The Wedding Singer, Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, Last Action Hero, or Outbreak, you can thank Fisher for punching that dialogue up, spotting potential plot-holes, and often mediating production squabbles to make sure those projects didn’t get cancelled.
“I haven’t done it for a few years. I did it for many years, and then younger people came to do it and I started to do new things. It was a long, very lucrative episode of my life…
Now in order to get a rewrite job, you have to submit your notes for your ideas on how to fix the script. So they can get all the notes from all the different writers, keep the notes and not hire you. That’s free work and that’s what I always call life-wasting events.”