Carrie Fisher portrayed Princess Leia in each of the original Star Wars films and reprised the role for 2015’s The Force Awakens. In addition to her portrayal of the most bad-ass space princess to ever grace the screen, she was a world class script doctor who helped make many bad movies good, an acclaimed author and an activist for a better understanding of mental health issues. She suffered from bi-polar disorder herself.
She also, according to her own reports and the reports of others, knew how to party pretty hard. In interviews, she has spoken about not being able to remember much of the filming of Return of the Jedi, due to being too high. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed her now infamous “coke-nail” (a fingernail which is kept longer than others in order to administer cocaine) in various scenes throughout the original trilogy films.
Her death at the age of 60 caused shockwaves through the entertainment industry, and in the wake of the tragedy, praise was heaped on the actress and author’s skills and personality. Her long history of mental unrest and drug use was apparently still with her to the end, as the recently released details of her autopsy noted that cocaine, heroin and ecstasy amongst other substances were found in her system. She reportedly consumed cocaine as soon as three days before the flight on which she suffered a heart attack. It was soon after the heart attack that she passed away in the hospital.
Though none of these substances were the direct cause of her death (the official reason is sleep apnea complications) the corner overseeing the autopsy advised that they were a contributing factor. Fisher’s daughter Billy Lourd, who starred in The Force Awakens in a small role alongside her mother, had the following to say about the drug revelations.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby.”
R.I.P Carrie, and may the force be with you.