Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016. Universally loved – both in fictional universes and real ones – she leaves an unquestionably poignant legacy on a world that needs many more people in her vein. An actress, a writer and an activist, she was inspirational in her flouting of rules and evasion of conformity. In short, she was really, really cool.
Fisher’s iconic portrayal of the badass Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga is what most people associate her acting career with, but there were many other times she absolutely owned the screen too.
Here are the cameos, lead roles and damned hilarious Fisher features that you may have missed…
Shampoo – 1975
Hal Ashby’s 1975 political satire Shampoo was Fisher’s first move role. It’s a supremely funny film that takes place during the 24-hour period on election day in 1968, and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Fisher portrayed Lorna Karpf, the daughter of a powerful couple, and in one piece of early scene stealing acts far older and sage as she grills Warren Beatty’s womanising hairdresser. As the real-life daughter of a singer (Eddie Fisher) and actress (Debbie Reynolds), the role might not have been too far from reality, but it was clear she was a natural. Much like the real life Fisher we’d come to know and love, two years before she was saving the Galaxy as Princess Leia, she proved capable of holding her own against alpha males.
The Blues Brothers – 1980
“You contemptible pig [...] I must now kill you, and your brother [...] you miserable slug”, Fisher snarls at John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd whilst wielding and sporadically spraying a massive machine gun. Fisher, in her iconic role as The Mystery Woman, spends the whole movie trying to kill The Blues Brothers with flamethrowers, rocket launchers and a huge explosion. She never manages, but she’s an absolute unhinged joy to watch.
Under the Rainbow – 1981
A screwball mess of a movie, Under the Rainbow got absolutely panned. Fisher plays a studio casting director given the task of gathering small performers to play the Munchkins in the 1938 film The Wizard of Oz . As the film moves forward, the Munchkins, for no apparent reason, start to tear the hotel apart. They smash everything in the kitchen, swing from the ceiling and wreak general and ungeneral havoc. Its relentless ridiculing of small-people, stereotyping of the Japanese and not-quite-funny enough Nazi secret agents all make it very, very odd. Fisher and her co-star Chevy Chase have both called this one of the worst movies they ever made. It’s totally bizarre, but if anyone comes out of it OK, it’s Fisher. She makes it worth the watch. Just.
Fisher played Tom Hanks’ archetypal housewife, Carol Peterson, in this strange American comedy-horror from 1989. Fisher didn’t usually play the ‘straight’ character in films, but she embodies the voice of logic to counteract her absurd husband in The Burbs. The film derides preposterous nature of suburban living, something that Carrie Fisher herself found easy and satisfying to do IRL.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – 2001
Kevin Smith’s madness of a film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back sees two madness stoners discover that Miramax is making a madness movie about their alter-egos and go hell-bent on destroying it. It’s classic stoner-com territory, featuring a load of cameos from big-time actors – including Fisher and her Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill. Fisher absolutely nails her self-referential scene, which sees her take on the role of a nun who picks up Jay and Bob from the side of the road and accidentally makes them think she wants oral sex whilst driving. Carrie Fisher. As a nun. Claiming to “live by the book”. It’s sordid and indecent and absolutely great.