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The Princess Diarist
Author:Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher

it was 1976 . . .

Charlie’s Angels, Laverne & Shirley, and Family Feud premiered on TV.

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded the Apple computer company in a garage.

The Food and Drug Administration banned Red Dye No. 2 after it was found to cause tumors in the bladders of dogs.

Howard Hughes died at age seventy of kidney failure in a private jet en route to a Houston hospital. He was worth more than $2 billion and weighed 90 pounds.

Anne Rice’s debut novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published.

Israel rescued 102 Air France passengers who were being held hostage at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

The Queen sent the first royal e-mail, London was bombed by the IRA and the Sex Pistols, and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” went gold.

Andy Williams’s ex-wife Claudine Longet accidentally, she claimed, shot her skier lover, Spider Sabich, to death.

A Pennsylvania congressman won renomination for a 12th term despite having been dead for two weeks.

Caitlyn Jenner, still Bruce then, won the gold medal in the Olympic decathlon, and the title “World’s Greatest Athlete.”

So many things were happening.

The first Ebola outbreak occurred in Africa, there was a panic over swine flu, and in a contaminated Philadelphia hotel, Legionnaires’ disease killed twenty-nine people.

A military coup deposed Argentina’s president Isabel Perón.

Sal Mineo was stabbed to death, and Agatha Christie and André Malraux died, though not together.

Saul Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for Humboldt’s Gift and the Nobel Prize for Literature for his body of work.

Son of Sam killed his first victim.

Riots in Soweto marked the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa.

The rock band that would become U2 was formed.

The United States Tennis Association barred transsexual Renée Richards from playing in the U.S. Open.

Network gave us Howard Beale’s iconic rant, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” and Paul Simon won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Still Crazy After All These Years.

Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford, even after saying in a Playboy interview that he lusted after women in his heart.

Ryan Reynolds and Benedict Cumberbatch were born, as were Colin Farrell, Rashida Jones, Alicia Silverstone, Rick Ross, Anna Faris, Peyton Manning, Audrey Tautou, Ja Rule, and Reese Witherspoon.

George Harrison was found guilty of plagiarizing “He’s So Fine” for “My Sweet Lord.”

Buffalo Bills running back O. J. Simpson had the best game of his career, rushing a then record 273 yards and scoring two touchdowns against the Detroit Lions.

Mao Tse-tung died.

The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, ruling that this punishment was not particularly cruel or unusual.

The Band played its farewell concert in San Francisco.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton separated after four months of marriage, which had been preceded by sixteen months of divorce.

America celebrated its bicentennial.

I think you get the picture. It was a year that, like all years, a lot of things happened in. People were on TV or in movies, they wrote songs that were liked more than other songs, while other people excelled at sports, and, as always, a lot of accomplished and famous people died. But through it all, one big thing that was beginning to happen—and that still, lo these many decades later, hasn’t stopped happening—is Star Wars.

We were filming Star Wars in London in 1976, and none of us in the cast had any idea how significantly our lives would be altered when the movie premiered the following year.

? ? ?

cut to: 2013. Much the same kinds of things were happening, only faster and more intensely. And George Lucas announced that the Star Wars franchise was starting up again, and that the original cast would be in it.

I was surprised. As surprised as you can be and still be so far over forty. I mean, I thought they might make more Star Wars movies—not that I thought about it all that much—but I doubted that I would find myself in them. And now it looked like I would! Hallelujah!

Not because I liked appearing up on a screen. I didn’t like it when I was the age one could like it, but now they had 3-D and high-def and such, so that all your wrinkles and withered puffiness need their own agents, so if I didn’t like it then, I’d never like it now, and going forward to eventually. The bummer was that I wouldn’t be able to watch the new sequel. Not with me in it. But to hell with that! Someone could tell me about it!

If I was going to do the new Star Wars, they’d have to pay me something, even though the cloud of doubt could easily and gradually be cast over that potential fact based on some of the history of the Star Wars company. (No merchandising! But maybe I’d get some this time!)

And they’d have us all over the barrel of our wanting to be in it. And they could just as easily write any of us out. Well, maybe not easily, but they could write us out if we wrangled too long over what we wanted to be paid. And by “we,” in this case, I mean “I.”

And as much as I may have joked about Star Wars over the years, I liked that I was in those films. Particularly as the only girl in an all-boy fantasy. They were fun to make. It was an anecdote of unimaginable standing.

I liked being Princess Leia. Or Princess Leia’s being me. Over time I thought that we’d melded into one. I don’t think you could think of Leia without my lurking in that thought somewhere. And I’m not talking about masturbation. So Princess Leia are us.

Bottom line, I was going to be able to pay some if not all of my overhead! Maybe not now, but soon. Sure, if it wasn’t very soon I’d be paying bills from an apartment, but at least I’d be able to buy stuff I didn’t need again. Stuff I didn’t need and in such unnecessary quantities! I’d maybe even have a charge at Barneys again soon! Life was good! Public life, that is . . . swimming pools, movie stars . . .

And this, ladies and gentlemoons, is how my whole new Star Wars adventure began! Like an acid flashback, only intergalactic, in the moment, and essentially real!

? ? ?

who do I think I would’ve been if I hadn’t been Princess Leia? Am I Princess Leia, or is she me? Split the difference and you’d be closer to the truth. Star Wars was and is my job. It can’t fire me and I’ll never be able to quit, and why would I want to? (That’s both a rhetorical and a real question.)

Today, while going through some boxes containing some old writing of mine, I found the diaries I kept while filming the first Star Wars movie forty years ago. Stay tuned.

life before leia

Two years before Star Wars I’d been in a film called Shampoo, starring and produced by Warren Beatty and directed by Hal Ashby. I played the part of Lee Grant’s angry promiscuous daughter, who ends up having sex with her mother’s lover/hairdresser—the starring role played, of course, by Warren. It was he, along with the screenwriter Robert Towne, who hired me for the pissed-off-daughter role.