CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film News: Carrie Fisher of ‘Star Wars’ Fame Dies at 60
LOS ANGELES – The force was always with Carrie Fisher to the day she passed away…Tuesday, December 27th, 2016. The actress and writer died of the heart attack she suffered on a flight from London to Los Angeles four days ago. Best known for her role as Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” trilogy, she was 60 years old.
She was the daughter of show business royalty, her father being singer Eddie Fisher and her mother movie star Debbie Reynolds. But Fisher outdid both of them by landing the Princess Leia role in the original “Star Wars” movie in 1977. The unexpected breakthrough hit launched a new era of blockbuster movies and a religious devotion from audiences to the series, and Fisher even revisited the role – as General Leia Organa – in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She also wrote seven books, the latest being a memoir of her initial “Star Wars” days, “The Princess Diarist.”
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa in ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California, to Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, two years before her parent’s marriage fell apart when her father had a highly publicized affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Described as a “bookworm” as a child, she still had show business blood in her, making her stage debut at age 15 in the chorus of her mother’s Broadway musical, “Irene.” Two years later, she made her film debut as a seductive teenager in the movie satire “Shampoo.”
Her casting as Princess Leia came out of group auditions for both the film “Carrie” and “Star Wars” by the directors Brian DePalma and George Lucas. “Star Wars” struck a chord in the summer of 1977 upon its release, and the three principal actors – Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – would be linked together for the rest of her life (Fisher just revealed that she and Ford had an affair during the filming of the movie). She would star as Leia Organa in the next two films, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “The Return of the Jedi” (1983). The three original films would become the middle chapters (IV, V & VI) of the “Star Wars” film series. “The Force Awakens” of last year was Chapter VII of the official canon. She had also finished her work on Chapter VIII.
Fisher’s career was not just defined by Princess Leia. She was the featured “Mystery Woman” in “The Blues Brothers” (1980), worked with Woody Allen in “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986) and had a supporting role in “When Harry Met Sally…” (1989). Before reprising her Leia role, she made appearances in “Soapdish” (1991), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001) and “Sorority Row” (2009).
Fisher’s work as an author was also notable. Her barbed novels and memoirs were filled with her trademark wit, including the fiction “Postcards from the Edge” (later made into a film), “Delusions of Grandma” and “The Best Awful There Is,” in addition to her non-fiction “Wishful Drinking” (which she later developed into a one-woman show) and the aforementioned “The Princess Diarist.” Fisher was promoting that book in London, when she had the heart attack on the plane back to Los Angeles.
Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Her personal life was tumultuous, as she admitted a bi-polar mental condition and former addictions to alcohol, cocaine and prescription medication. She dated singer Paul Simon from 1977 to 1983, and while on a break from the relationship was briefly engaged in 1980 to her Blues Brothers co-star Dan Aykroyd, but broke it off to return to Simon. They married in 1983, but divorced a year later. She never remarried, but is survived by her daughter Billie Catherine Lourd, through her relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd.
Carrie Fisher was probably one of the most quotable movie stars that ever lived, including…”One of the great things to pretend is that you’re not only alright, you’re in great shape. Now to have that come true - I’ve actually gone on stage depressed and that’s worked its magic on me, ‘cause if I can convince you that I’m alright, then maybe I can convince me.” and “You can’t find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.” and finally, “Instant gratification takes too long.”