‘Shocking’ revelations color festival headliner’s new book

Carrie Fisher


If confession is good for the soul, Carrie Fisher’s soul is bright and shiny, repeatedly polished by her tell-almost-all stage play, “Wishful Drinking,” and her other best-selling books. OK, we don’t know for certain whether she already has spilled everything (pun intended) or has held back a bit, because Fisher, 56, was not available for an interview prior to her visit.

Still, confession clearly is Fisher’s specialty. She always delivers the goods in a chatty tone punctuated with plenty of hilarious self-deprecation. “Shockaholic,” Fisher’s new book, revisits moments that her fans already know about (including her appreciation for electro-convulsive shock treatments) and also serves up new stories, including one about a startling game of one-upmanship at a long-ago dinner party with Ted Kennedy. (The man, it must be noted, did not win the game.)

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The book also reveals tantalizing tidbits about Fisher’s family. You may recall that her mother is actress Debbie Reynolds, her father was singer Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor played a supporting role for a time as Fisher’s stepmother. Here, too, are tales about how Fisher’s iconic film role as Princess Leia allowed her to get her first apartment, why her relationship with Michael Jackson worked and what prompted her debt of gratitude to Jenny Craig.

In “Shockaholic,” Fisher writes that when she Googled herself recently, she found this: “Whatever happened to Carrie Fisher? She used to be so hot. Now she looks like Elton John.” She writes that this hurt her feelings, but admits she had let herself go. “Where did I go? Where all fat, jowly, middle-aged women go — to refrigerators and restaurants.” She also blames motherhood and anti-depressants. “I took medications that have the dual effect of causing water retention (think ocean, not lake) while also creating a craving for salad — chocolate salad.”

Before you knock Fisher for what she describes as her “seemingly endless blathering on about her nose-bleed, high-class problems,” know that her willingness to speak openly about addiction and bipolar disorder has made her a respected advocate, and she has received dozens of awards. Fisher also has lobbied in California for an increase in government funding for medication for people living with mental health issues.

Like that famous X-wing fighter, Fisher blasted into the pop culture consciousness when she played Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” trilogy. Men remember her metal bikini; women remember her bad hair – but we all do remember. Fisher has made other movies, among them “Shampoo,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Hannah and her Sisters.” She received an Emmy nomination for her appearance on “30 Rock” and also has appeared on “Sex and the City.”

Fisher writes for numerous national magazines and she is the author of five best-selling books, including “Surrender the Pink,” “Delusions of Grandma,” “The Best Awful” and “Postcards from the Edge,” which was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Fisher has performed her book “Wishful Drinking” as a one-woman show on Broadway and on stages across the country. In 2010, HBO made the show into an Emmy-nominated documentary. Currently, Fisher is adapting “The Best Awful” for Lifetime and Sony Television.

And most likely, Fisher also is mining her memory for more entertaining confessions.