Mark Hamill has paid tribute to his co-star, friend, and space-twin Carrie Fisher in a moving essay on The Hollywood Reporter, writing that “making her laugh was always a badge of honour.”
Fisher, who passed away aged 60 on December 27, 2016, was renowned for her sharp wit and wicked sense of humour, so tbh it’d be a badge of honour for anyone to make her laugh.
But Hamill found himself in the particularly unique situation of knowing Fisher before either of them were famous, shortly before filming began on ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope‘ (or ‘Star Wars‘, as it was simply known then).
“We had no idea the impact Star Wars would have on the world,” he wrote. “I remember we were out on tour right before the movie opened. By the time we got to Chicago, there was a crowd at the airport. I said, ‘Hey look, you guys, there must be somebody famous on the plane.” I was looking around to see who it might be. And then in the crowd I saw a kid dressed in a Han Solo vest. Then I saw girl dressed like Princess Leia. I said, ‘Oh my God, look, Carrie, there’s somebody dressed just like you. She’s got the buns on her head!’”
He spoke about how they first met – him aged 24, her age 19 – at a dinner in London just before they started filming together.
“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. She was telling me stuff about her stepfather, about her mom, about Eddie Fisher — it was just harrowing in its detail. I kept thinking, ‘Should I know this?’ I mean, I wouldn’t have shared that with somebody that I had trusted for years and years and years. But she was the opposite. She just sucked you into her world.”
Fisher and Hamill backstage on ‘Star Wars’.
He wrote that he would do “crazy things” to amuse her on set, including once putting on her Princess Leia jumpsuit with a clown get up, including bald cap, Bozo hair, nose and glasses, and parading round the set.
“The lengths I would go to hear her laugh — there were no limits. I loved her and loved making her laugh. She would do these crazy things and make me do these crazy things, but I really don’t think they were crazy after all. In a way, it was a defence mechanism for her. She was so off the wall, she could use it as protection. Part of what was so poignant about her was that she was vulnerable, that there was this glimmer of a little girl that was so appealing and it roused the protective nature in my personality.”
Hamill also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, who died the day after her daughter aged 84, citing the outpouring of grief from fans as one of the reasons he chose to speak out.
“I felt like I didn’t want to do this, that it was too soon to talk about Carrie, and then came the double-whammy of Debbie Reynolds going as well,” he said. “It’s just unimaginable.”
“It’s still so raw. I feel so devastated. I can’t imagine what Carrie’s daughter, Billie, or her brother, Todd, or anybody who is that close to them is going through. I think that if I talk about her, maybe fans will not give in to despair, but I feel like a real hypocrite because I’m not okay with it at all. I’m angry and so sad.
Hamill also shared memories of Reynolds, saying that the iconic Hollywood legend was, like Fisher, “everybody’s mum”.
“If you were in her house, Debbie was your mother. She gave you advice and fixed your collar, and said, ‘Why did you wear a brown belt with black shoes?’”
Still not over any of it, tbh.
Photo: Getty / Twentieth Century Fox Pictures.