A WRITING LIFE

Carrie Fisher, the novelist and memoirist, also was an unsung genius script doctor

Carrie Fisher, who died today at the age of 60, will be remembered by countless fans for her turns as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series, but that was far from her only successful role. Fisher was a talented writer who could bring a script to life off-screen as well as she could as an actress in front of the camera.

After penning her successful semi-autobiographical novel about her struggle with drug addiction, Postcards from the Edge, she wrote the screenplay for the critically lauded movie of the same title in 1990. And it wasn’t just her own projects where she employed her skill and wit as a writer. For years she worked as an in-demand script doctor—a hired gun, frequently uncredited, called in to polish and rework a script, fix dialogue and address structural problems.

Fisher reportedly worked on the scripts for movies including Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, The Wedding Singer, and Sister Act, and she was said to have been involved in revising the scripts for George Lucas’s Star Wars prequels. In 1992, Entertainment Weekly referred to her as “one of the most sought after doctors in town.”

Among her talents were a gift for humor, which came through clearly in her own writing, and a knack for dialogue.

She went on to write more books about herself and her life, including a memoir about her struggles with bipolar disorder. Most recently, she wrote The Princess Diarist, based on diaries she kept during the filming of the Star Wars movies. Published just last month, it drew headlines for revealing that Fisher and her co-star, Harrison Ford, had an affair that neither had previously revealed.

In it, she described how she initially approached Star Wars as a “cool little off-the-radar movie directed by a bearded guy from Modesto. A thing like that wasn’t going to make people want to play with a doll of you, was it?” Time proved her wrong, and multiple generations of fans are grateful for her contributions.

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