“Carrie holds such a special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.”
Outside of Star Wars, Carrie gave memorable performances in The Blues Brothers (1980), Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1985), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and many more films and TV series.
But her gifts were not limited to the screen; Carrie also began a new phase of her career as a screenwriter and author in the 1980s. The semi-autobiographical 1987 novel Postcards from the Edge (later adapted into a movie starring Meryl Streep) and her one-woman show/2008 book Wishful Drinking were critically-acclaimed works, both acknowledging her struggles with depression and substance abuse. Diagnosed as Bipolar, she also became an unflinching mental-health advocate. “I outlasted my problems,” she once said. “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.” Carrie also worked as a script doctor (often uncredited), and earlier this year released a new memoir, The Princess Diarist, once again filled with her wit and honesty.
“It’s never easy to lose such a vital, irreplaceable member of the family, but this is downright heartbreaking,” Mark Hamill said. “Carrie was one-of-a-kind who belonged to us all — whether she liked it or not. She was OUR Princess, damn it, and the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined and tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her and want her to succeed and be happy. She played such a crucial role in my professional and personal life, and both would have been far emptier without her. I am grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness, and even the bratty, self-indulgent crap my beloved space-twin gave me through the years. Thanks, Carrie. I love you.”