Carrie Fisher was one of the last celebrities to pass away in 2016, and also one of the hardest to lose. Her iconic role as Princess Leia, acerbic wit and mental-health advocacy all made her a singular presence over the last 40 years; the fact that her mother Debbie Reynolds followed her just a day later is almost too sad to comment on. Fisher’s “Star Wars” co-star Mark Hamill is even more devastated than most, and has written a guest column expressing his grief in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Carrie and I occupied a unique area in each other’s lives,” says Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the enduring sci-fi franchise. “It was like we were in a garage band together that somehow hit it huge.” He recounts his first meeting with Fisher, which took place in London shortly before “A New Hope” began filming. When he found out she was just 19 (compared to his “worldly 24”), Hamill thought the experience would be “like working with a high school kid.”
The reality was quite different, of course: “I was just bowled over. I mean she was just so instantly ingratiating and funny and outspoken. She had a way of just being so brutally candid. I’d just met her but it was like talking to a person you’d known for ten years.”
The result of this first meeting? “I was just in awe of her,” recalls Hamill. “She was so committed to joy and fun and embracing life. She had an Auntie Mame quality to her. I would do crazy things to amuse her on the set. Making her laugh was always a badge of honor.”
It wasn’t all fun and games, however, and their relationship seems to have had as many ups as downs. “We ran the gamut over the years, where we were in love with each other, where we hated each other’s guts. ‘I’m not speaking to you, you’re such a judgmental, royal brat!’ We went through it all. It’s like we were a family.” Read the rest of Hamill’s moving tribute here.