The iconic Carrie Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 in Burbank, California, the launchpad for her decades of work not just as Princess Leia in Star Wars, but as a celebrated memoirist, film star, devoted mom to Billie Lourd, and courageous spokeswoman for struggles with mental illness and addiction. As we celebrate the late Fisher’s birthday once again, four years after her passing, we can find joy in knowing that her memory will live on not only with the public but with daughter Billie and newborn grandson Kingston Fisher Lourd Rydell. Billie secretly welcomed Kingston in September after a totally incognito pregnancy but we swear we can already see Carrie’s features on that barely-month-old face.
It was daughter Billie who broke the tragic news of her mom’s passing in 2016, confirming to People on Dec. 27 that her mother had suffered a heart attack during a flight. And while Star Wars fans lit the fuse that carried Fisher to stardom, it’s been heartening to see how the beloved actress’s complex legacy has been maintained. Like so many stars who become tied to an iconic role, Fisher must have worried that she wouldn’t be able to break out — but her raw 2008 novel Postcards on the Edge, and her later memoirs Wishful Drinking and The Princess Diarist showed just how much more Fisher had to say.
In the course of her career, Fisher’s frankness about her bipolar disorder diagnosis and drug abuse was a rare light for a community of people often afraid to make themselves known for fear of being rejected. Her firsthand accounts of prescription drug addiction, manic episodes, and more demystified an epidemic that thousands have been affected by and not had the language to address, and her fans adored her for it.
Above all else, Fisher was an artist — and a damn good one. From her many high-profile romances to her bombshell books, find out everything about the woman behind the gold bikini right here.