Wave Wire Services
HOLLYWOOD — Coinciding with the unofficial “Star Wars” holiday May the 4th, actress Carrie Fisher posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill, helping to unveil the marker on the nation’s most famous sidewalk.
Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, accepted the star on behalf of her mother, who died Dec. 27, 2016, at age 60.
“My mom used to say you weren’t actually famous until you became a Pez dispenser,” Lourd said, referring to the classic lift-top candy holder. “Well, people eat candy out of her neck every day. I say you aren’t actually famous until you get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Which I guess is kind of weird because people in most places tend to avoid people walking all over them, but in this weird little town, the pinnacle of fame is getting people to walk all over you.
“My mom is a double-whammy — a Pez dispenser and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame now. Momma, you’ve made it.”
The run-up to the ceremony was overshadowed by pre-event, public bickering between Lourd and her mother’s three siblings — Todd, Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, whom Lourd opted not to invite to the ceremony. But no mention of the dispute was made during the unveiling.
Hundreds of “Star Wars” fans packed around the unveiling ceremony near the El Capitan Theatre in honor of Fisher, who became famous portraying Princess Leia in the iconic film series. Lourd gave a shout out to the fans who braved the morning rain waiting for the event.
“I adore you. She adored you. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said.
Hamill recounted his first meeting with Fisher when she was 19 years old and he was 24, and the pair had dinner together during “Star Wars” filming.
“She was so charming, so funny, so adorable, so wise beyond her years, I just couldn’t believe it,” Hamill said. “And brutally frank. She started telling me stories, intimate stories, about her family that I was thinking, should I be hearing this? I mean, these were things that I would probably not tell friends unless I knew them for years. But that was Carrie.
“She also had a wisdom that seemed to be far beyond what a 19-year-old should be expected to have.”
Hamill read from a notebook that contained words he wrote shortly after Fisher’s death six years ago.
“Carrie was one of a kind, who belonged to us all, whether we liked it or not,” Hamill read from his notes. “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 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.
“Was she a handful? Was she high-maintenance? Oh ho ho, no doubt. But everything would have been so much drabber and less interesting if she wasn’t, if she hadn’t been the friend that she was.”
Fisher made her film debut as a teen in “Shampoo” in 1975, two years before becoming famous as Princess Leia in George Lucas’ classic film series.
Her other film credits included “The Blues Brothers,” “The Man With One Red Shoe,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “The ‘Burbs,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Fanboys.”
On the animated series “Family Guy,” Fisher was the voice of Peter Griffin’s brewery boss, Angela.
As a child of Hollywood royalty born in Beverly Hills, Fisher’s childhood was anything but ordinary. She was 2 years old and her brother an infant when their father, the late singer-actor Eddie Fisher, left her mother — actress Debbie Reynolds — to have an affair with actress Elizabeth Taylor, who was a close friend of Reynolds and the widow of Fisher’s close friend Mike Todd.
Fisher drew on her experiences in her semi-autobiographical novels, including “Postcards From the Edge,” which was made into a movie based on her screenplay.
Her struggles with cocaine and prescription medication abuse were memorialized in her memoir, “Wishful Drinking,” which was adapted from her one-woman stage play of the same name. Fisher, who was bipolar, also was open about her struggle with mental illness and became a powerful mental health advocate.
Fisher authored a total of eight books. Her latest, “The Princess Diarist,” made headlines when it was released in 2016 for its disclosure that she had an affair with then-married actor Harrison Ford during filming of the original “Star Wars.”
The actress was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in the 1980s. Her daughter was fathered by talent agent Bryan Lourd.
Fisher died after suffering a cardiac arrest aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was pronounced dead at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, with whom Fisher had a notoriously close relationship, died the following day at age 84.
Lourd acknowledged in a statement May 3 that she chose not to invite Todd, Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher to the unveiling ceremony, accusing them of trying to “capitalize” on Fisher’s death.
“The truth is I did not invite them to this ceremony,” Lourd wrote. “They know why. Days after my mom died, her brother and sister chose to process their grief publicly and capitalize on my mother’s death, by doing multiple interviews and selling individual books for a lot of money, with my mom and my grandmother’s [Debbie Reynolds] deaths as the subject.
“ … They never consulted me or considered how this would effect ourrelationship. The truth of my mom’s very complicated relationship with her family is only known by me and those who were actually close to her. Though I recognize they have every right to do whatever they choose, their actions were very hurtful to me at the most difficult time in my life. I chose and still choose to deal with her loss in a much different way.”
Todd Fisher issued a statement calling it “heartbreaking and shocking” that he was not invited to the ceremony.
“It’s obviously extremely hurtful and distressing as I was always a big part of everything my sister and mother did historically over their lifetimes, and continue to manage after their passing,” he said. “Carrie and I both attended the Walk of Fame ceremony for our mother as well as her handprint dedication in the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I was constantly my sister’s date and ‘plus one’ to every single ‘Stars Wars’ premiere and fan event right up to the end. I’ve supported Disney for years with providing anything they needed from Carrie Fisher.”
After Lourd issued her statement May 3, Fisher responded with a statement of his own, denying that he ever “capitalized on either Carrie or my mother Debbie’s deaths, and in no way meant to hurt Billie.”
Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher issued a joint statement May 3 on social media, saying they “adored” their sister and were mystified by the decision to exclude them from the event.
“For some bizarre, misguided reason our niece has chosen not to include us in this epic moment in our sister’s career,” they said in the statement. “This is something Carrie would have definitely wanted her siblings to be present for. The fact that her only brother and two sisters were intentionally and deliberately excluded is deeply shocking.
“We have all been grieving the loss of our favorite human for some years now. We have given Billie the space to do that in her own way. We have been nothing but loving and open, consistently. This isn’t about a photo opp on Hollywood (Boulevard). This is about celebrating the permanency of Carrie’s legacy in this industry, taking her place with a star on the iconic Walk of Fame alongside our parents. We thank the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for honoring our sister in this way.”
Todd Fisher and Joely Fisher have both published memoirs about their life with their sister and mother. Todd Fisher’s book is titled “My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie,” while Joely’s is titled “Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories and Misadventures.”
Fisher’s star is located near that of Hamill, and across the street from her mother’s star.
In her remarks at the star ceremony, Lourd — wearing a dress featuring a picture of Princess Leia — recounted that she had little interest in “Star Wars” as a child, and only became aware of its immense popularity when some of her male “Star Wars” fan classmates in school told her they “fantasize” about her mother.
“My mom died six and a half years ago, and every since I have fallen deeply in love with Leia and the entire `Star Wars’ universe,” she said.
“I’ve gone from little girl unwilling to even watch ‘Star Wars’ to obsessive ‘Star Wars’ fan. If you haven’t noticed, I’m literally wearing a Princess Leia dress.”