The entire world is mourning the passing of actress Carrie Fisher at age 60. Although she got her big break as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, Carrie transcended the role to become a cultural icon and activist. She also knew how to shut down body shamers, homophobes, ageists, and sexists like a boss, inspiring legions of fans in the process. Here are five ways we're remembering this Hollywood icon's role in history.
1. Carrie was the scion of Hollywood royalty: Although she became an A-lister herself, the lovely Ms. Fisher was herself born into a famous Hollywood clan. Her mother is Debbie Reynolds, who starred in Singin' in the Rain, among many other films, and was nominated for pretty much every industry award under the sun. But Debbie's most infamous moment came when her husband (and Carrie's dad), famed singer Eddie Fisher, left her for Debbie's close pal Elizabeth Taylor.
2. She was open about her bipolar disorder and became a powerful voice for mental health: For decades, Carrie worked to end the stigma placed on individuals suffering from mental illness. She was extremely candid about her struggles with addiction, bipolar disorder, and related episodes, stood up for mental health rights, and became an important advocate for psychiatric and psychological treatment.
3. Carrie improved some of your favorite '90s biggest films: Not content to star in films, Carrie went behind the camera as a screen doctor to some of your favorite movies. Did you love Hook, The Wedding Singer, or Sister Act? You've got Carrie to thank, in part, for their engaging, air-tight scripts. And she challenged sexism from the get-go.
4. She was a true multi-hyphenate: In addition to working on movies in front of the screen and behind the scenes, Carrie became a multimedia mogul in her own right. She penned a semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, which became a bestseller and was made into an Academy Award-nominated movie. Her Broadway show, Wishful Drinking, was a hit, as was her book of the same name, which hit The New York Times bestseller list.
5. She wasn't afraid to take on sexist Hollywood - even the very people who made her famous: Princess Leia was famously clad in a skimpy gold bikini 30 years ago, but Carrie rightfully criticized the very circumstances that helped make her character famous. She was candid about how she was forced to lost weight to fit in the swimsuit, and admitted she wished Leia got her own light saber (in a recent interview, she said, "Even in space, there's a double standard."). Princess Leia was a leader, a princess who bucked princess stereotypes, and a heroine.
Feature image via Riccardo Ghilardi/Wikimedia Commons.