20 Questions for Carrie Fisher
The prolific performer talks about her experiences with bipolar disorder and addiction -- plus what it's like to reach a happier middle age.
Carrie Fisher burst onto the big screen in 1975, when she starred opposite the magnetic Warren Beatty in the hit Shampoo. Playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy -- the first film was released in 1977 -- sealed her claim to fame, but since then she has starred in a wide range of films (including Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, Hannah and her Sisters, When Harry Met Sally, and Wonderland).
A talented writer, Fisher's 1987 book, Postcards from the Edge hit The New York Times bestseller list and won her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel; she has published three bestsellers since. Most recently, Fisher has turned her memoir Wishful Drinking into a one-woman play, as well as an HBO special. Fisher took the time to sit down with WebMD the Magazine to answer questions about her experiences with addiction and bipolar disorder, her writing career, and how the character of Princess Leia will be with her forever.
Your hit Broadway show and best-selling memoir, Wishful Drinking, is now an HBO special airing in November. What's been toughest: living it, writing it, performing it, or watching it?
Living it. I haven't watched it yet. I don't like watching myself because I'm overweight. I'm an overweight over-sharer. But I'm not so immature or vain as to think watching it is worse than living it. So living it!
You're hilariously frank about your misadventures: the pills, the men, plus growing up a celeb-u-spawn of the Brad and Jen of their day, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. If you could change any of it, would you?
I always think those kind of questions are weird. It's implausible; it's not an option! Going through challenging things can teach you a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren't so challenging … The only regret [I have with] my difficulties is making my daughter go through them.
You were born into celebrity royalty, then married and divorced music legend Paul Simon. And you're an icon, too, famed for your star turn as an intergalactic princess. Was it tough to get past the infinite space of Star Wars?
Have I gotten past it? I wasn't aware that I had! I am Princess Leia, no matter what. If I were trying to get a good table, I wouldn't say I wrote Postcards [From the Edge, her best-selling first novel]. Or, if I'm trying to get someone to take my check and I don't have ID, I wouldn't say: "Have you seen Harry Met Sally?" Princess Leia will be on my tombstone.
Actor, writer, funny lady, bipolar disorder. Is it unsettling, empowering, or a bit of both to be considered a poster child for this condition?