Author and Actress Carrie Fisher 1956 – 2006
By Heidi Simmons
Most of us know Carrie Fisher as the brave and beautiful Princess Leia of Star Wars. It was a role that empowered and dignified women. Leia was made into an action figure that appealed to both boys and girls. Fisher’s character overcame obstacles with courage, charm and nobility. She was smart and resourceful.
Outside of her role as the Rebellion’s beloved princess, the real Carrie Fisher was not that different. Fisher’s parents were Hollywood elite, making her Royalty, and like her Star Wars character, she was smart, courageous and funny.
But Fisher’s private demons filled her with emotional challenges. My sincere appreciation and respect for her came when I read her books and saw her honesty.
Whether Fisher was writing a fictional character in first person or third, her characters were close to her heart, because they were from her heart. Her autobiographical novels are genius. Fisher’s Suzanne Vail is certainly Fisher’s avatar.
No doubt, Fisher’s writing helped her get a big picture view of her life, relationships, drug use and mental illness. She, and her character, suffered from severe manic depression. Through fiction, Fisher helped readers understand how incredibly difficult and emotionally challenging the disorder is – and how hard it is to survive.
Had Fisher only written a memoir, instead of fictionalizing her life, the reader might not have seen or felt the intensity of the illness and its effects on those around the afflicted individual.
With wonderful humor and self-deprecation, Fisher shared her insane and beautiful world.
A terrific writer and always entertaining, Fisher was a reliable narrator with a sincere desire to be honest and help others. Carrie Fisher was indeed a super hero! Rest In Peace.
The Princess Diarist – 2016, Wishful Drinking – 2008, The Best Awful There Is – 2004, Post Cards From the Edge – 1987, Delusions of Grandma – 1993, Surrender the Pink – 1990.
Author and Actress Debbie Reynolds 1932 – 2016
By Heidi Simmons
Before I read Carrie Fisher’s books, I read her mother, Debbie Reynolds’ memoir. Reynolds’ books are written with as much energy and enthusiasm as her singing, dancing and acting.
Honest, revealing and filled with fun gossip, Reynolds’ books are more than just her autobiography, they are filled with Hollywood history.
The beloved American sweetheart had three husbands, none of them very good to her. They cheated, stole, sued and left her and at times left her family bankrupt.
Reynolds was married to singer Eddie Fisher who fathered her two children, Carrie and Todd. Fisher left Reynolds in a huge Hollywood scandal for Reynolds’ best friend, Elizabeth Taylor.
With maturity and grace that comes with age and an ability to look back without being bitter and devastated, Reynolds shared her life with honesty, humility and courage.
Reynolds reconnected with her children, regained her fortune and found happiness.
Reynolds’ career began when she was 16. She was discovered in a Burbank beauty pageant. Put under contract at Warner Bros., Reynolds rode her bike to work at the studio after school. She was making more money then her father.
Regarding her beloved daughter, Carrie, Reynolds openly shared the horror and challenge of having a child with a mental illness and the awful decision to use electro shock therapy. (A treatment Fisher says significantly helped her.) Fisher wrote the forward to her mother’s book.
For years, Reynolds collected Hollywood costumes and memorabilia. The most exciting part of her story is after a court-order forced her to auction off her collection to pay back those who stole from her, Reynolds made enough money to pay the debts and start her life again.
Reynolds’ voice, humor and energy permeate the pages of her books. Her enthusiasm for entertaining, love of her family and life itself is so beautiful, it’s easy to see that she will always be remembered as one of America’s beloved sweethearts.
Reynolds died just one day after her daughter. The tie between mother and daughter was far more than just blood. These two women were courageous, smart and honest. They suffered and triumphed together. Rest In Peace.
Make ‘Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends – 2015, Unsinkable: A Memoir with Dorian Hannaway – 2013, Debbie: My Life with David Patrick – 1988.