Carrie Fisher died

CNN just announced that Carrie Fisher has died at 60. Given her serious heart attack on an airplane last week, this wasn’t unexpected. But it’s still sad; Princess Leia was too young.

This year really sucked. Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell—and now this. And I’m not even mentioning Trump.



  1. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Please, be polite. She departed this vale of tears.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we need a new euphemism. Something like “She took the flight to Alderaan.”

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        She became one with the Force.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          Vale of tears is the perfect metaphor for the fundamental Christian message: No matter your tribulations in this life, the next will be incomparably better. It appeals to the gullible, the uneducated, and the downtrodden. It may be the greatest meme ever. It’s pathetic that so many fall for it, enriching cynical men of cloth along the way.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I read it here first.

    I thought she was “stable”, and “made it” from the plane. I know nothing about heart attacks.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m… going through the same experience.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s tricky when you are a woman and you have a heart attack. Women have smaller hearts (or that would be really inconvenient for a smaller body) and therefore it is often very difficult to recover from a serious heart attack. Even a mild one is very dangerous for recovery.

  3. E.A. Blair
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I was in grad school when John Lennon was shot, and my girlfriend at the time said, “I always felt that I wouldn’t start feeling old until one of the Beatles died. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.” No, indeed, it’s not. We expect our icons to live forever. Ms. Fisher and I are of an age (I turn sixty on Inauguration Day – bleah! – making her almost exactly three months older than me), so her death seems closer for that reason. No, Star Wars wasn’t part of my childhood, but it still made and still has a big impression (even though a lot of the props and costumes are pretty cheesy by today’s standards). I have a new t-shirt that has “2016 SUCKED” in bold white letters on a black background. It looks like I’d better buy a few more, ’cause I’ll probably be wearing ’em out on a regular basis.

    • Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Despite the fact that I’m five years older than Carrie, when I saw Star Wars back in 1977 I did feel like a child. My children grew up on the original trilogy and my grandchildren and I went to see “The Force Awakens” at the IMAX last year with their cousins in Miami. My son still collects Star Wars memorabilia.

      I had a bad feeling when they announced she had had a “massive heart attack” while flying. Massive myocardial events have a poor prognosis even when they occur in the health care setting.

  4. Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 2016 sucked. OTOH, the Cubs won the World Series.

    • Ann German
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      My theory is that, in the great scheme of things, the fates decreed that, if the Cubs would win the Series, everything else would go to shit. Nate Silver infamously prognosticated, during the World Seris, that Trump had the same chance of winning as did the Cubs . . . when I heard that the Cubs had won, I thought, “oh shit . . . .”

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


      • bluemaas
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        My theory which is mine
        is that yours, Ms German, is totes* !


        * I loathe abbreviations, and this is the first time I have ever written, let alone, spoken that one.

        I heard Linguist McCarthy, some apparently famous dude at it, tell us all on happy talk – npr last Saturday morning that language is ever evolving soooo that that one, now in particular, is okay to use** !

        ** “I thought, ‘Oh shit ….'”

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink


  5. E.A. Blair
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard about Paul Kantner and Leon Russell until this post.

    • Carl
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Same here for the great Leon Russell. I’ll bet most here hadn’t known he was alive – he was “obscure” and never really made it “big.” But I listen to his music at least on a weekly basis.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        I also found out that Greg Lake, a founding member of Kin Crimson, died on 7 December. His colleague from that other band, Keith Emerson, died on 10 March. At least John Cale is still around.

        • Carl
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          JJ (not that John) Cale is also one of my weekly plays. Here are JJ Cale and Leon Russel together.

          • E.A. Blair
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            You are talking about John Weldon Cale, who called himself JJ Cale to avoid being confused with the Velvet Undergrounder John Davies Cale.

            • Carl
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

              Yes. JJ died in 2013.

        • George
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          John Cale was the person who made Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah a good song. He took the mess that Cohen had composed and reworked it. The version you usually hear should also credit Cale for his rework.

          When Cohen died, the song I thought of was Suzanne. Here is the Judy Collins version.

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    She had a rough life, despite the fame and fortune. Her death is another sadness of this year.

  7. Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


  8. Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Also sad, the great Vera Rubin died today at age 88, but with few headlines. So she did not live long enough to receive the Nobel prize she deserved for discovering dark matter.

    • bluemaas
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      As a fact that I have read, darwinwins, Ms Rubin died on 25 December 2016, per some reports including wikipedia … … so your statement re headlines is quite accurate.


      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. I should have said that I became aware of her death today.

  9. Janet
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    You are right, it is very sad. Makes one face one’s own mortality, as well. You are also right that lots of unfortunate events took place in 2016, however, Steven Pinker has a good article captioned “It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t.”

    • Carl
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      “It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t.”

      … And he is right.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Good ol’ Pinker always making you feel better about death, genocides, and grammar. 🙂

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I saw Star Wars on opening night with a woman I was very fond of with absolutely no advance idea of what on earth (or off of earth) it was about. Over the months I came to see Star Wars as having several dramatic flaws but I retain the fond memories of that first viewing. I was later delighted to discover Fisher’s writing is hilariously funny.

    She is the half of Paul Simon’s allusion to “one and one-half wandering Jews” in his song “Hearts and Bones”.


    JAC does not believe in apophatic theology but re Trump he has done “apophasis” (both from the Greek word “to deny”)

    An allusion to something by denying that it will be mentioned such as
    “I won’t mention your bad grammar”

    Here has been born apophatic Trumpology (or something along those lines).

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I still remember her saying, in response to an interview question about her divorce from Paul Simon, “Short man. Short marriage”. I found it funny how she handled that and deflected further discussion of it but I also felt bad for poor Paul Simon.

      • Filippo
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        “Short man. Short marriage”.

        I wonder by what percent taller he’d have to have been that it would never have occurred to her to make the statement.

        ” . . . deflected further discussion . . . .”

        Perhaps just as likely deflected further intrusive questioning.

        I put on my To Do List reading her writing.

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s not so much that Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX will have to be rewritten, but that it will be so obvious that the actress’s (?) real life is the reason, and there’s absolutely no way the writers would have wanted her character to die, and it will all happen off-screen, with no dramatization of the tragedy.

    Yes I like Star Wars and I don’t care who knows it.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I just realized this can be viewed as a selfish comment, so I meant of course that the new movies will on a fundamental level be a sad reminder that she died – not that the only thing about her death was that I’m going to be bummed out about my personal movie-going experience…

      “Don’t be sad that it happened – smile that it did.” <- Dr. Seuss I think?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        It’s more like “don’t be sad that it’s over ; smile that it happened.”

    • davidintoronto
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Fisher’s work on the upcoming Episode VIII was completed – so no re-write necessary. Episode IX is now a question mark.

  12. Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    CNN uses the term “cardiac event”. It’s not clear to me she suffered a heart attack (myocardial infarction)on the plane. She had a cardiac arrest which is not synonymous with heart attack but is often due to ventricular fibrillation or V tach caused by a heart attack. Cardiac arrests are due to lots of other things including pulmonary emboli(which riding in a plane puts you at risk of).
    CPR was performed by fellow passengers which everyone should know and be ready to perform because you never know when Carrie Fischer is going to drop dead next to you on a plane.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Having experienced both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest, I can attest that the two are very different.

      Media reports have reported both.

      If CPR was performed, as reported by some, I would guess that it was a cardiac arrest (heart stopped).

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        CPR should be performed on anyone who is unresponsive, not breathing and lacks pulse.
        However, you can have all 3 and the electrical activity of the heart not stopped (pulseless electrical activity,ventricular fib or tach).
        And both PEA and VF/VT can be due to things other than heart attack

  13. Christopher
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Of course Star Wars was a huge impact on my childhood, being that I was born in 1977, and may have been my first movie theater experience, sitting on my aunt’s lap for a viewing. So much of my childhood revolved around Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the toys, books, seeing them at the drive-in, acting out the scenes with friends, and the joy of sharing them with my own son as early as possible to relive it all over again. She was also in one of my non-Star Wars favorites, with Tom Hanks in The ‘Burbs. She was just on 8 out of 10 Cats Christmas Special, season 20, episode 7, and was wonderful.

    Richard Adams, author of Watershed Down, also died.

    I must include, however, that the regressive left are already bitching about people sharing pictures of Fisher as a young Princess Leia, which is apparently sexist, as is the much lighter coverage of Vera Rubin, of dark matter fame. Never let a tragedy go to waste, I guess, even though on 8 Out of 10 Cats Fisher said she prefers the old Star Wars because she was young then and had a great body (paraphrasing here).

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I was gonna say, I’m sure many aging celebrities, esp. women, would prefer the emphasis be on their earlier work, at least when images are employed.

      Digression–I’ve seen people complain when the obituaries of elderly people are accompanied by a photo of them in their youth/prime. I always think, first–whose business is it of anyone’s but the families, and second, who wouldn’t want to have a picture that represented more of their life than just the old, decrepit stage? (I can say that, as I’m getting near decrepit myself.)

      • BobTerrace
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        The image of a person is not the essence of a person. Those that know the person shouldn’t care which image is used.

      • Christopher
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        I suppose that for a celebrity, it makes the most sense to use a picture of them at the age that most people would recognize them. For Fisher, it was clearly going to be her as Leia. For Leonard Nemoy, it was always going to be as Spock. George Michael has been a mix of his early Wham! days and the mid ’90’s era.

        For the rest of us, I guess we should specify before we die, otherwise it’s up to our families to choose how they wish to remember us. I think I’d prefer to be remembered as whenever I’ll be when I die, unless I have a long, debilitating illness, then I’d prefer how I looked just prior to the major decline.

        • BobTerrace
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          I have notified my family to use no picture and to post no obituary anywhere. I have also specified no coffin, no funeral, no cemetery. Put my remains in a cardboard box and then cremate it.

          I specified that those who want to signify my death go to a restaurant and have a good meal and a stiff drink. (see what I did there?)

          • Christopher
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            shame it isn’t legal to will your body to scientist studying feeding behaviors of benthic organisms like osedax worms. I’d prefer to end my time giving back to the trophic cascade.

            • Filippo
              Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

              Perhaps also organisms like Denebian slime devils and Regulan blood worms.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

          Before my wife died, we went through all the pictures we had of her, and agreed a collage to represent her life, from birth to her final year, and this was posted in the crematorium for everyone to see. We felt it gave a good summary of her life.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Carrie Fisher often bemoaned that her appearance for the rest of her life would be judged against that damn bikini outfit when she was in her 20s in Star Wars.

        • Christopher
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          yes, I know she’d said she wished she’d fought harder against that costume, and she has said many times that she’d gotten rather tired of jokes about her hair, although in her last tv appearance she admitted to developing a fondness for that goofy bun hairdo of A New Hope, especially in comparison to the latest film hairdo, of which she said “Now they’ve given me hair that looks like a baboon ass!”

    • Carl
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Watership Down – great novel, haven’t thought about it in years, thanks for the reminder.

      • Christopher
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        It probably isn’t on required or suggested reading lists for high schoolers anymore. A pity. Now that I think of it, most if not all authors on my own high school reading list are dead now. Bradury, Asmiov, Arther C. Clarke, Harper Lee, Joseph Heller, now Richard Adams. I shudder to think what, if anything, students of the near future will be required to read.

        • Filippo
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Speaking for myself, I’m glad it occurred to no one to REQUIRE me to read Asimov and Clarke. I freely chose them myself. It would have deflated my enthusiasm had some academic required me to write an essay on Asimov. I suspect that Asimov would have frowned on the prospect of some academic “teaching” Asimov to undergraduates. Though I suppose that a writer “has arrived” when he is “taught.”

  14. Arno Matthias
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Her, I believe, last TV appearance:

    • Christopher
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      “Now they’ve given me hair that looks like a baboon ass!”

      At least her last appearance was a great one.

  15. bluemaas
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Another bit o’a mighty fine obituary
    by Ms Fisher’s own words:
    “drowned in moonlight … …
    … … and strangled by my own bra.” and elsewhere

    O’course. Why not ?


  16. zoolady
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’d have loved meeting her and having dinner. With wine. She was so VERY clever, witty and unusual in her thinking.

  17. veroxitatis
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    And also Richard Adams, writer of the multi layered novel, Watership Down. He was however, 96.

    Meanwhile, I understand “Keef” lives!

  18. somer
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes this year really did suck for America, Syria and music and other arts greats

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I feel sadder about Carrie Fisher being dead than anyone else this year and I think it’s because she was clever and funny and didn’t give a crap if people were offended. That is a rare quality in a famous female who spend a lot of their time trying to fit in and impress others.

    I also admired how candid she was about her life and her struggles with addiction and mental illness.

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh and even though she was famous for Star Wars, I loved her as Marie in When Harry Met Sally.

    Marie: I don’t think he’s ever going to leave her.
    Sally: Nobody thinks he’s never going to leave her.
    Marie: You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right.

    • George
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, Jess (Bruno Kirby), Marie’s love interest, died in 2006 at age 57 of leukemia. A great screen couple both gone too soon.

      Marie: Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again.
      Jess: You will never have to be out there again.

      When Harry Met Sally strikes a cord with University of Chicago people. The opening scene is set on the main quad, a short walk from PCC(e)’s office. The movie then cuts to them driving south on Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue, about 9 miles north of UofC. That would make sense if they started at Northwestern University in Evanston but not from UofC. I guess NU is simply not as scenic as UofC. So artistic license is un play.

      • Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I noticed that instantly. You can’t get from the U of C to NYC by driving south of Lake Shore Drive. Also, as I recall, they drive under the arch between my building and the Anatomy Building. That was never a viable way off campus, as there are only academic buildings in there–no dorms.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        I forgot about her on screen husband dying at 57. Way too young!

  21. Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    “And I’m not even mentioning Trump.”

    He’s died too?! :p

  22. Frank Bath
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget how stunning Star Wars was. Nothing that went before was anything so imaginative and visually convincing. Those like myself who saw it on release could not believe how marvellous and wonderful it was.
    And it had a heart warming and moral uplifting story too.
    Carrie Fisher was a huge and vital part of that film, and for that at least I respect and thank her. Goodbye Carrie, sorry you died.

    • Filippo
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      She struck me in her early 20’s as has having the liquid, burnished alto speaking voice of a more mature signorina.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      “Let’s not forget how stunning Star Wars was.”

      It was indeed stunning for me. I lived in Germany at the time and we had to wait a year or more for the movie to reach Germany all the while hearing about the amazing phenomenon that was Star Wars.

      It finally opened in a town near me, Landstuhl. I walked for miles into town and stood in a block long line to get a ticket. The theater was a beautiful old school theater with comfortable seating, gorgeous woodwork all over the place and multiple balconies of various sizes. By the time I got in the only available seats were in the front few rows.

      I was literally quivering with anticipation. The first thing to hit was the sound. The opening music was riveting. But then the opening scene. A big space ship coming from behind your point of view, running away from you towards the limb of a planet. And then a monstrously huge spaceship coming over top of you from behind, chasing the smaller ship, and the MASSIVE sound of it that made your internal organs jiggle.

      Somewhere about then I briefly realized that my face was slack and my jaw was hanging open. It was an epic experience.

      So long Carrie Fisher. Your death makes me sad for several reasons. I’ll remember you.

      • Posted December 29, 2016 at 3:14 am | Permalink

        I bet Landstuhl was chosen because of the U.S. joint military hospital, there. Lots of U.S. military members far from home would get to see the movie at its first overseas stop, that way.

        • darrelle
          Posted December 29, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Could be. Back then Landstuhl was the 2nd General Hospital of the US Army. Though it was run solely by the US Army, rather than jointly with other branches, it of course provided medical care for all military service members and their dependents. The only purpose of the base was the hospital and it was big, though the overall size of the base was moderate.

          Ramstein, a bigger civilian town and much bigger military base, was right next door too. Though the military bases had their own full size movie theatres I don’t recall Star Wars ever being shown in them.

  23. George
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    At the United Center in Chicago, before the Blackhawks play the Winnipeg Jets, the pregame music is all from people who died this past year. A nice tribute.

    • Jayinbmore
      Posted December 29, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Mose Allison also.

  24. Carl
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Gary Shandling star of the hilarious Larry Sanders Show can also be added to the 2016 list. I just learned he died today (or yesterday).

  25. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    I never warmed up to the Star Wars phenomenon, but Ms. Fisher’s one-woman play, Wishful Drinking was pretty damn good. Her Postcards From the Edge was some pretty fine writin’, too, book and screenplay.

    We could use a few more like her.

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