It wasn’t until Billie Lourd was in middle school that she finally sat down in front of the television, uninvited, to watch a little movie called Star Wars.
While her mother, the late Carrie Fisher, had been trying for years to introduce her to George Lucas’ sci-fi classic as a way to earn some cool points from her starring role as Princess Leia, Lourd, now aged 30-year-olds would typically ‘roll my eyes and scream, ‘That’s too loud.’ But when boys her age confessed how much they fantasized about Fisher, she decided to press play.
“I went home to investigate who this person they were talking about was. I finally watched the movie that I had always considered too strong, and I finally understood what it was about with the lady on television, ”Lourd said from the podium Thursday during the posthumous ceremony of the Fisher’s Walk of Fame. “I wanted to hate it so I could tell her how lame she was. Like any child, I didn’t want my mother to be hot or cold. It was my mother. But that day, looking at the screen, I realized that no one is or will ever be as hot or as cool as Princess Leia.
Later that same year, Lourd accompanied his mother to Comic-Con. There she learned that Fisher was also loved.
“People of all ages all over the world were dressed as my mother, the lady who sang me to sleep at night and held me when I was scared. Watching the amount of joy it brought people when she was hugging them or throwing glitter at them – sorry for that – was amazing to see People lined up for hours just to meet her People had tattoos of her, people were giving her name to their children. People had stories about how she had saved their lives. It was a side of my mother that I had never seen before, and it was magical,” Lourd recalled. I realized then that Leia is more than just a character. She is a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is intelligent. She is femininity at its best. She knows what she wants and she gets it. She doesn’t need anyone to rescue her as she saves herself and even saves the rescuers. And no one could have played it like my mother.
The ceremony, which began shortly after 11:30 a.m. near the El Capitan Theater on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, saw Fisher receive the 2,754th star on the famous Walk of Fame. According to Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Media Relations Ana Martinez, Fisher’s star “is just a few feet” from the one belonging to star wars co-star Mark Hamill (who was in attendance) and opposite mother star Debbie Reynolds.
Fisher, daughter of legendary performer Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, might be best known for playing Princess Leia in the original star wars trilogy, but she went on to have a long and varied career in showbiz. Fisher’s best-selling novel Postcards from the edge was adapted into a feature film, for which she wrote the screenplay. His other books include Grandma’s Delusions, Ditch the Pink, Best Awful, Wishful Drinking And Addicted to shock. She took the one-woman show drink a wish on Broadway and later on HBO, earning an Emmy nomination in the process. Except star wars franchise, Fisher appeared in Shampoo, When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Blues Brothers, Laverne & Shirley, Sex and the City And 30 Rock.
Fisher died on December 27, 2016, followed by Reynolds a day later on December 28. Lourd noted his mother’s death and said that in the years since, his love for star wars deepened. The actress also fought back tears as she shared that she passed the fandom on to her two young children.
“My mother passed away six and a half years ago, and ever since I fell deeply in love with Leia and all the star wars universe. I went from being a little girl who wouldn’t even look star warsobsessed star wars fan, who, if you haven’t noticed, I’m literally wearing a Princess Lea dress,” Lourd said, wearing a shimmering satin gown that featured Leia’s trademark face and buns. “I cried when I watched The Mandalorian. I have a lightsaber lamp in my living room, X-wing tiles in my bathroom, and I buy every piece of Leia merch I leia my eyes on. I have now passed the torch – or in this case, the lightsaber – to my two children, Kingston and Jackson. I feel so lucky that even though they won’t meet my mom, they will get to know a part of her from Leia. I’m going to tell them that little lady on TV is my mom, their grandmother.
Beyond the woman seen onscreen, Lourd said “one of the things I’m most proud of” is how her mother inspired people around the world to speak more openly about their struggles through to Fisher’s transparency about his own struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Take your broken heart and turn it into art.’ And that’s exactly what she did. And I hope to pass on this torch – or in this case, lightsaber – of wisdom to the next generation of fans. Take your broken heart and turn it into art.”
Hamill kicked off the ceremony, taking the podium from host and radio legend Ellen K., flanked by droids C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as a Stormtrooper. After declaring today, May 4, as Carrie Frances Fisher Day, Hamill detailed their first dinner date, which happened after they filmed star wars since more than a month. “Every expectation I had was just erased,” Hamill explained, describing her as “so lovely, so funny, so adorable, so wise beyond her years.” He was also surprised at how “brutally candid” she could be, telling stories about her family that he thought most people would only tell to close friends.
Hamill then produced a notebook containing a text he wrote following his death that he felt was just as relevant today. “She played a crucial role in my professional and personal life and both would have been much emptier without her,” he continued. “Was she a handful? Was she demanding? Without a doubt. But everything would have been so much duller and much less interesting if she hadn’t been the friend she was. I’m grateful for the laughs, wisdom, kindness, and even self-indulgent bullshit that my space twin has driven me crazy with over the years. Thanks Carrie. I like you.”
The day was not without a bit of drama. Earlier this week, Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, and half-sisters, Joely and Tricia Leigh, shared statements acknowledging they were hurt at not being invited to Thursday’s event. “For some bizarre and misguided reason, our niece chose not to include us in this epic moment in our sister’s career. It’s something Carrie sure wished her siblings had been present,” read one. Instagram post shared by the sisters “The fact that his only brother and his two sisters have been intentionally and deliberately excluded is deeply shocking.”
On Wednesday, Lourd shared a statement with THR defend the personal decision to keep the ceremony intimate. “A few days after my mother’s death, her brother and sister chose to address their grief publicly and capitalize on my mother’s death, doing several interviews and selling individual books for big bucks, with the death of my mother and my grandmother as a subject. I found out they did it through the press. They never consulted with me or considered how it would affect our relationship,” Lourd’s statement read. “While I recognize that they have every right to do whatever they want, their actions were very hurtful to me at the most difficult time of my life. I chose and still choose to deal with his loss of life. a very different way.
Back at the ceremony, Lourd noted how her mother used to say that “you weren’t really famous until you became a Pez dispenser.” But Lourd thinks having a star on the Walk of Fame is proof that someone has. Now Fisher has both. “My mom is a double whammy – a Pez dispenser and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, mom, you made it.