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Appreciation: Fisher found best material in her own troubles

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/28/2016 By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
FILE - This May 2, 1973 file photo shows Carrie Fisher, the 16-year-old daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, in New York. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This May 2, 1973 file photo shows Carrie Fisher, the 16-year-old daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, in New York. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carrie Fisher, a princess onscreen and off, played both roles in her own gutsy way.

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 1978 file photo, shows, from left, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill during the filming of the CBS-TV special "The Star Wars Holiday" in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 13, 1978 file photo, shows, from left, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill during the filming of the CBS-TV special "The Star Wars Holiday" in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)

As Leia of the "Star Wars" franchise, she commanded the troops, enjoyed a fling with Han Solo — and, in real life, co-star Harrison Ford — and showed fledgling 1970s feminists what life as a liberated woman might be like in a galaxy far, far away.

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FILE - In this Jan. 2, 1957 file photo, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds hold their baby daughter, Carrie Frances Fisher, as the pose for a photo in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 2, 1957 file photo, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds hold their baby daughter, Carrie Frances Fisher, as the pose for a photo in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo, File)

As the offspring of Hollywood royals Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, she drew on her painful family history and personal demons to forge a distinctively tart, unsettlingly funny style as a best-selling writer.

FILE - This May 2, 1973 file photo shows Carrie Fisher, the 16-year-old daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, in the back garden of the house on the East Side of New York where she lives with her mother. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This May 2, 1973 file photo shows Carrie Fisher, the 16-year-old daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, in the back garden of the house on the East Side of New York where she lives with her mother. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

Fisher's throaty voice and inviting delivery also told the tale: She'd lived through much and wanted to — needed to — share her journey that included drug addiction, mental illness and electroshock treatment.

FILE - This Sept. 14, 1990 file photo shows actress and author Carrie Fisher in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Julie Markes, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Sept. 14, 1990 file photo shows actress and author Carrie Fisher in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Julie Markes, File)

"People relate to aspects of my stories and that's nice for me because then I'm not all alone with it," she told The Associated Press in 2009. "Also, I do believe you're only as sick as your secrets. If that's true, I'm just really healthy."

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 1978 photo, from left, actors Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew take a break from filming a television special in Los Angeles to be telecast during the holidays. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 5, 1978 photo, from left, actors Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew take a break from filming a television special in Los Angeles to be telecast during the holidays. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)

Fisher, who died Tuesday at age 60, revealed her struggles before such confessionals became routine. Her vehicles included a 1987 semi-autobiographical novel, "Postcards from the Edge," and a one-woman show, "Wishful Drinking," that went to Broadway and TV.

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 1978 file photo, Harrison Ford talks with Carrie Fisher during a break in the filming of the CBS-TV special "The Star Wars Holiday" in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 13, 1978 file photo, Harrison Ford talks with Carrie Fisher during a break in the filming of the CBS-TV special "The Star Wars Holiday" in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist says Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)

She avoided few topics in the piece, including the scandal that engulfed her superstar parents (singer Fisher ran off with Elizabeth Taylor); her brief marriage to pop star Paul Simon; the time the father of her daughter left her for a man, and waking up next to the dead body of a platonic friend who had overdosed in her bed.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 16, 1983, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher and singer Paul Simon stand together at their apartment in New York during their wedding reception. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Mario Suriani, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 16, 1983, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher and singer Paul Simon stand together at their apartment in New York during their wedding reception. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Mario Suriani, File)

"I'm a product of Hollywood inbreeding. When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result," she joked in the show. And there was this wisecrack: "I don't have a problem with drugs so much as I have a problem with sobriety."

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2003 file photo, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher arrive at the "Runway for Life" Celebrity Fashion Show Benefitting St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and celebrating the DVD relese of Chicago in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jill Connelly, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2003 file photo, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher arrive at the "Runway for Life" Celebrity Fashion Show Benefitting St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and celebrating the DVD relese of Chicago in Beverly Hills, Calif. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Jill Connelly, File)

Fisher had been hospitalized since Friday, after falling ill aboard a flight and being treated by paramedics at the Los Angeles airport. Her family gave no details on the emergency, while media reports said she had suffered a heart attack.

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 20, 2004 file photo, author Carrie Fisher autographs her new book "The Best Awful" at a promotional event in London. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/John D. McHugh, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 20, 2004 file photo, author Carrie Fisher autographs her new book "The Best Awful" at a promotional event in London. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/John D. McHugh, File)

Her feature film debut was opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit "Shampoo." She also appeared in "Austin Powers," ''The Blues Brothers," ''Charlie's Angels," ''Hannah and Her Sisters," ''Scream 3" and "When Harry Met Sally ..."

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 file photo, actress and writer Carrie Fisher appears on the NBC "Today" television program in New York to discuss "Wishful Drinking," her autobiographical solo show on Broadway. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 file photo, actress and writer Carrie Fisher appears on the NBC "Today" television program in New York to discuss "Wishful Drinking," her autobiographical solo show on Broadway. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

But she is best remembered as the tough, feisty and powerful Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" films, making a statement with her character and no-nonsense braided buns.

FILE - In this Thursday, April 7, 2011 file photo, Carrie Fisher arrives at the 2011 NewNowNext Awards in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, April 7, 2011 file photo, Carrie Fisher arrives at the 2011 NewNowNext Awards in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

She famously despised the latter, and even had mixed feelings about her famous character. She knew it then and audiences later figured it out: Playing Han Solo would have suited her better.

FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 file photo, Carrie Fisher presents the life achievement award on stage at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 file photo, Carrie Fisher presents the life achievement award on stage at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, a publicist said Fisher has died at the age of 60. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File)

"When I first read the script I thought that's the part to be, always wry and sardonic," Fisher told a gathering in England in 2015. "He's always that. I feel like a lot of the time Leia's either worried or pissed or, thank God, sort of snarky."

She reprised the role of Leia in Episode VII of the series, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015, and her digitally rendered image appears in the newest installment, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Fisher kept telling her own story after "Postcards From the Edge" became a best-seller and was adapted into a 1990 movie starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep.

Other books included "Delusions of Grandma," ''Surrender the Pink," ''The Best Awful," ''Shockaholic" and this year's autobiography, "The Princess Diarist," in which she revealed that she and Ford had an affair on the "Star Wars" set.

Ever ready to satirize herself, she played Carrie Fisher a few times, as in David Cronenberg's dark Hollywood sendup "Maps to the Stars" and in an episode of "Sex and the City."

Fisher starred with her mother in a documentary set to air on HBO in 2017. "Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Besides her mother, she is survived by her brother, Todd Fisher, and her daughter, Billie Lourd.

Someone made sure Fisher would be thought of with a wistful smile: Her bulldog, Gary Fisher, had his own Twitter account that offered this message Tuesday: "Saddest tweets to tweet. Mommy is gone. I love you @carrieffisher."

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AP writers Lindsey Bahr and Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles and Mark Kennedy and Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

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