A remarkably candid biography of the remarkably candid—and brilliant—Carrie Fisher
In her 2008 bestseller, Girls Like Us, Sheila Weller—with heart and a profound feeling for the times—gave us a surprisingly intimate portrait of three icons: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon. Now she turns her focus to one of the most loved, brilliant, and iconoclastic women of our time: the actress, writer, daughter, and mother Carrie Fisher.
Weller traces Fisher’s life from her Hollywood royalty roots to her untimely and shattering death after Christmas 2016. Her mother was the spunky and adorable Debbie Reynolds; her father, the heartthrob crooner Eddie Fisher. When Eddie ran off with Elizabeth Taylor, the scandal thrust little Carrie Frances into a bizarre spotlight, gifting her with an irony and an aplomb that would resonate throughout her life.
We follow Fisher’s acting career, from her debut in Shampoo, the hit movie that defined mid-1970s Hollywood, to her seizing of the plum female role in Star Wars, which catapulted her to instant fame. We explore her long, complex relationship with Paul Simon and her relatively peaceful years with the talent agent Bryan Lourd. We witness her startling leap—on the heels of a near-fatal overdose—from actress to highly praised, bestselling author, the Dorothy Parker of her place and time.
Weller sympathetically reveals the conditions that Fisher lived with: serious bipolar disorder and an inherited drug addiction. Still, despite crises and overdoses, her life’s work—as an actor, a novelist and memoirist, a script doctor, a hostess, and a friend—was prodigious and unique. As one of her best friends said, “I almost wish the expression ‘one of a kind’ didn’t exist, because it applies to Carrie in a deeper way than it applies to others.”
Sourced by friends, colleagues, and witnesses to all stages of Fisher’s life, Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge is an empathic and even-handed portrayal of a woman who—as Princess Leia, but mostly as herself—was a feminist heroine, one who died at a time when we need her blazing, healing honesty more than ever.
Actress and author Carrie Fisher (1956 2016) is celebrated for her wit and strength in this comprehensive biography by journalist Weller (The News Sorority). Fisher daughter of actors Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher got her break at 19 when she was cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars, a role that Weller says turned Fisher into a "feminist action hero." The author does a fine job charting the light and dark aspects of Fisher's story, which includes a career as a bestselling author and battles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder. Weller discusses Fisher's cocaine use and her attempts to get sober; her marriage to singer Paul Simon; her codependent bond with her mother; and her creative process ("all of her books would be written by her sketching the words on a notepad while flopped on her bed, with editors often on the premises"). Along the way, Weller shares snippets of her interviews with Fisher's friends, including Richard Dreyfuss and Salman Rushdie, who lament Fisher's passing, and praises Fisher for her bold tongue, adding: "She died just before her brand of raunchily self-styled feminism, a candor she possessed all her life, swept over her town, her industry, America." Weller insightfully illuminates the life of a powerful performer and wordsmith who was unafraid to share her struggles with the world.