Carrie Frances Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016) was an American actress, writer, and humorist. Fisher was the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. She was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series. Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The ‘Burbs (1989), and When Harry Met Sally… (1989).
Bipolar disorder and drug use
In appearances on 20/20 and The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive with Stephen Fry, Fisher publicly discussed her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and her addictions to cocaine and prescription medication. She said her drug use was a form of self-medication; she used pain medication such as Percodan to “dial down” the manic aspect of her bipolar disorder. “Drugs made me feel normal,” she explained to Psychology Today in 2001. “They contained me.” She discussed her 2008 memoir Wishful Drinking and various topics in it with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today that same year, and also revealed that she would have turned down the role of Princess Leia had she realized it would give her the celebrity status that made her parents’ lives difficult. This interview was followed by a similar appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on December 12, 2008, where she discussed her electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. At one point, she received ECT every six weeks to “blow apart the cement” in her brain. In 2014, she said she was no longer receiving the treatment.
Fisher revealed in another interview that she used cocaine during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. “Slowly, I realized I was doing a bit more drugs than other people and losing my choice in the matter,” she noted. In 1985, after months of sobriety, she accidentally overdosed on a combination of prescription medication and sleeping pills. She was rushed to the hospital, creating the turn of events that led to much of the material in her novel and screenplay, Postcards from the Edge. Asked why she did not take on the role of her story’s protagonist, named Suzanne, in the film version, Fisher remarked, “I’ve already played Suzanne.”