ByChristina St-Jean, writer at
Mom to 2 awesome girls. Love teaching, love writing. Black belt recipient and always into Star Trek, Star Wars and Harry Potter!
Christina St-Jean

With every Star Wars fan sending every ounce they can of the Force to Carrie Fisher after her massive heart attack on Dec. 23, it's hard not to reflect back on her career, largely founded on the largest movie franchise in history. However, while Fisher will always remain everyone's favorite princess, she also made a name for herself acting in other movies and television roles. Here are some favorites:

1. 'Star Wars IV: A New Hope,' 1977

Certainly, this is the role that got Fisher widely recognized in Hollywood circles. Though she comes from Hollywood royalty — her mother is legendary musical actress Debbie Reynolds, and her father is noted crooner Eddie Fisher — it wasn't until she read the script aloud to her friend, actor Miguel Ferrer, that she actually decided to really lobby director George Lucas for the part of Princess Leia Organa. It's a good thing she did, as Leia would have been one of the earliest examples of a strong female in power featured in cinema.

Witty, sarcastic, and beautiful, she is more or less the lone female in a galaxy run by men in this movie, and it would be hard to imagine any version of Star Wars without her in it. She more than holds her own in this first Star Wars outing with her male co-stars and sets the stage for her return in subsequent Star Wars movies.

  • Fisher was reportedly dissatisfied with the "bagel bun" hairstyle she wore during the movie, but didn't say anything to Lucas because she didn't want him to get angry and fire her.
  • At 5'1", Fisher was almost a full foot shorter than her romantic interest for the series, Harrison Ford, and in some scenes had to stand on a box so she could be in the frame.

2. 'The Blues Brothers,' 1980

While this was not a starring role for Fisher, she offered further comic relief to this feature based on a Saturday Night Live sketch. As the Mystery Woman, a would-be bride of Elwood Blues, Fisher puts the pressure on the Blues Brothers with a hail of gunfire and just nicely gets further romanced by Elwood before Jake, his brother, tells him it's time to go and she's dumped, literally.

  • Fisher became engaged to Dan Aykroyd shortly after he saved her from choking during filming.
  • Fisher also hosted Saturday Night Live the night The Blues Brothers made their debut on the show.

3. 'Empire Strikes Back,' 1980

This is first flick in deli where that orgasm scene was shot, has a table with a plaque that says, "Where Harry met Sally... hope you have what she had!"dering if Luke and Han would make it back from being lost in the frozen wilderness that was Hoth or slowly succumbing to Han's charms while fighting for survival on the run from the Empire, Fisher showed that her alter ego was truly multi-layered and sensitive. It was a sign that women could be both empowered and sensual.

  • George Lucas invested $18 million of his own money (and a bank loan) to make Empire Strikes Back. He got back his investment, and then some, within 3 months.
  • Fisher's alter ego, Leia, is the one who utters the oft-repeated line, "I've got a bad feeling about this," in Empire Strikes Back.

4. 'Return Of The Jedi,' 1983

Princess Leia became a new woman of sorts in the final iteration of the original trilogy, and whether it was from wearing the iconic gold bikini or from shooting stormtroopers and other Imperial guards while at her lover Han Solo's side, women everywhere came to admire the inner strength of the character and the way she fought to protect her loved ones.

  • Leia was never intended to be Luke's sister, but Lucas wanted to tie things up with Return Of The Jedi. As a result, plans for a sequel trilogy where Luke hunts for his long lost sister were scuttled.
  • Leia strangling Jabba the Hutt was a scene done in homage to the strangulation of Luca Brasi in 1972's The Godfather, where George Lucas acted as assistant editor.

5. 'Hannah And Her Sisters,' 1986

Carrie Fisher did indeed have a life beyond Star Wars, and was pretty good at it, too. She was picked up as April for Woody Allen's classic film, Hannah And Her Sisters. As Hannah's catering partner, Fisher dishes up wry good humor and some serious competition for the same role that Hannah (Mia Farrow) is trying out for in a Broadway play. Fisher's part in Hannah's story doesn't last long, but her time on screen is memorable.

  • Carrie Fisher and Max von Sydow, who played the longterm lover of Lee (Barbara Hershey), one of the sisters, would work together again on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • In Hannah And Her Sisters, Carrie Fisher and Dianne Wiest walk beneath a Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre sign: "THE BEST PLAY 1984 Tony Award Winner." The play was The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard, and the director, the late Mike Nichols, won the Tony Award for Best Direction in a Play that year.

6. 'The 'Burbs,' February 1989

Fisher took on the role of slightly harried housewife to Tom Hanks in this dark comedy. While Tom Hanks' character Ray is trying to prove that their neighbors are part of a murderous cult, Fisher's Carol is trying to keep her husband calm and dissuade him from pursuing his "investigation" further.

  • Carol Peterson, the character Carrie Fisher played in The 'Burbs, notes that everyone should have a friendly talk at the Klopeks, "Before someone falls off a roof or sets themselves on fire..." Both of these incidents actually happen in the movie shortly after this; Rumsfield falls off his roof, and Ray sets himself on fire.
  • Fisher's character makes a macabre reference to Jonestown during the film when she says, "I wouldn't have missed this for the world. A week (vacation) in Jonestown," after Tom Hanks' character shows her the book on Satanic rituals he's discovered.

7. 'When Harry Met Sally,' July 1989

Most remember this iconic movie for the scene in which Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm, but it's hard to think of When Harry Met Sally and not think of Marie and Jess, the characters played by Carrie Fisher and the late Bruno Kirby. Fisher's and Kirby's characters are perfect counterpoints to the roles played by Ryan and Billy Crystal, and though several scenes are shot as homages to old movies such as Pillow Talk, Fisher's role as the practical and personable Marie shines throughout the film as Harry and Sally try to navigate their relationship.

  • The classic line, "I'll have what she's having," was said by Estelle Reimer, Rob Reiner's mom.
  • Katz's Deli, a New York deli where that orgasm scene was shot, has a table with a plaque that says, "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!"

8. Angela, 'Family Guy,' 2005-2016

Angela is Pete Griffin's boss from the Pawtucket Brewery. She tends to like Opie better than Pete, and Pete knows this. As a result, Pete has tried to endear himself to Angela in a range of crazy schemes, as one might expect. Pete has even gone so far as to save Angela's life when it was revealed that Angela had not had dated anyone for 10 years; he later disguised himself and had sex with her as a way to try and make her feel better.

  • Carrie Fisher has voiced Angela several times since 2005.
  • Her character, Angela, has also had sex with Pete Griffin's vestigial twin.

9. Herself, 'Big Bang Theory,' January 2014

In the episode, "The Convention Conundrum," Sheldon isn't able to score any Comic Con tickets and decides to hold his own convention. Carrie Fisher appears in the show when James Earl Jones, who takes a liking to Sheldon, suggests that they do "Knock Knock Ginger" on Fisher's door, and that leads Fisher to show up moments after they disappear.

  • This dual appearance of the two Star Wars stars mirrors their interactions on the set of the actual Star Wars movies. The actors had never met in real life on set, as Fisher's interactions would have only ever been with the physical presence of Darth Vader, David Prowse. Fisher only shows up on screen during "The Convention Conundrum" when James Earl Jones is not physically on screen.

10. 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' Dec. 2015

The appearance of Carrie Fisher in the next film in the Star Wars series, this time as General Leia Organa, is significant as it marks the return of one of the strongest women in cinematic history. Fisher as Organa has clearly allowed her character to mature as she has done. This is a general who carries far more weight than she once did as Princess Leia, and while she seems world weary, there continues to be a strength to the character that seems almost preternatural.

  • In an interview with Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, Fisher told her to keep fighting for her outfit; she thought Ridley should fight against the possibility of being placed in the same sort of slave outfit as she was, a reference to the infamous gold bikini she wore in Return Of The Jedi.
  • Fisher trained hard to get back into condition as Leia; she lost 35 pounds before filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

May The Force Be Strong With You, Carrie Fisher!

It can only be hoped that Fisher can channel the same strength for herself that she brought to so many other characters over the years. While her current condition following her massive heart attack Friday Dec. 23 can only be described as evolving, we can still continue to enjoy her prior work and continue to believe that she will overcome the latest health crisis as she has overcome the other obstacles she's endured.


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