Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Remembering Carrie Fisher
2016, that horrible, horrible dumpster fire of a year, is not done with us yet, apparently. Today we lost Carrie Fisher, who suffered a heart attack on an airplane over the Christmas holiday. Today it was announced that she had died. Today it seems like the entire world is mourning Princess Leia. Maybe it's because of the success of the first stand-alone Star Wars movie, "Rogue One." Maybe it's just because Carrie was such a memorable icon, whether in her white dress and buns or her metal bikini and ponytail.
When I think of Carrie, though, I don't think of "Star Wars." I think of "The Blues Brothers."
See, back during my acting career (such as it was) I got to work as an extra on the Chicago set of "The Blues Brothers." I was in the crowd during the finale's concert, and I was in the crowd dodging the cars during the chase scene in the mall. I got to meet most of the principal actors at the craft table. John Belushi kept mostly to himself. Dan Aykroyd was very nice and very genial, always making sure that the little guys were doing OK. And Carrie was simply hilarious. She always had a story, and seemed to always be laughing. While I did not meet her formally, like I did with Dan, I was usually in the group she was telling stories to in between takes. There were a fair number of "Star Wars" nerds among the extras even then, and Carrie was always willing to oblige with a story, usually one at her expense.
I do remember that Dan gave her the Heimlich Maneuver one day when she was choking, and I heard that they became engaged shortly afterwards. I can't speak to the truth of the second part, but I know he saved her from choking. I also found out long afterwards that part of the craft budget went towards the purchase of cocaine for the principal actors. I couldn't say who indulged, but I'm sure most of my readers have their own opinions.
My favorite words from Carrie herself:
So in respect for her wishes, let me say that today Carrie Fisher drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
One of my daughter's Tumblr friends, who blogs under the name "princess-slay-ya" had this to say, and God, do I wish I had written it myself (but be warned, some language is not safe for kids/work) --
"It's hard to imagine moving foward without Carrie Fisher, but her legacy will remain even if she is not physically with us. She was someone who went through shit in life and still came out of it a princess. We all may never star in one of the most famous movies of all time, or be award-winning authors, or help write one of the most famous Star Wars movies of all time, or be able to tweet with emojis in witty and hilarious ways, but we can all still be like Carrie. She survived, she thrived, she owned who she was. She was just as much of a rebel as Leia is.
"We can carry on with Carrie's legacy by loving ourselves and fighting for ourselves and being the kind of people that Carrie would be proud of. Whether it be writing that story you've been dying to tell, or looking in the mirror and saying, 'this is my body and I fucking love it!' or just simply getting up in the morning again and again and keep moving forward. She would want to know that she is survived by a legacy of boys and girls who give no fucks and who fight for themselves and who were inspired by everything Carrie gave to the world.
"May the Force be with you."
I would like to end with this Tweet from K O'Shea: "Fight on the front lines. Strangle fascists with the chains they would have you wear. Be a motherfuckin' general."
And as for 2016 -- I hope you die, and it hurts, and you suffer while you die. For Carrie, and for Richard Adams, whom you also took from us today. Burn in Hell, 2016. You abomination.