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Fisher catches parts of her multiple selves

SUNDAY, DEC. 28, 2008

Director Mike Nichols once said of Carrie Fisher: “She has too much personality for one person and not enough for two persons.”

That pretty much describes Fisher, daughter of Hollywood stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. She starred in three “Star Wars” movies, has written several best-selling novels – and has been in and out of hospitals for substance abuse and other problems.

She calls her new memoir “Wishful Drinking,” which is also the title of her autobiographical road show that has occupied her for the past year or so.

“We put the book together quickly, because the publisher (Simon & Schuster) was eager to get it out before Christmas,” Fisher, 52, explains.

For most of the year, she’s been on the road with “Wishful Drinking,” and she told of singing with her father on stage in San Jose. Eddie Fisher, now in a wheelchair and living in San Francisco, is a pariah to her mother’s side of the family. The reason: In 1959, he left Reynolds and their two young children, Carrie and Todd, to console and later marry Elizabeth Taylor after the death of her husband Mike Todd.

Carrie Fisher became a star when George Lucas chose her to play Princess Leia in 1977’s “Star Wars.” She was thrilled to be the only prominent actress in the cast, “but my hair was terrible.”

Still, she said, “I was totally cooperative because I was afraid they would fire me. Whenever George asked me to do something, it was, ‘Whatever you say, master.’ ”

“Star Wars” was followed by “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” but by the time Fisher reached 27, the movies had stopped coming and she turned to writing. Her novels include “Surrender the Pink” and “Postcards From the Edge,” which concerned her relationship with her mother. She wrote the screenplay for the 1990 “Postcards” film, which was directed by Nichols and starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

Fisher was briefly married to singer-songwriter Paul Simon, and has a 16-year-old daughter, Billie, from talent agent Bryan Lourd.

Despite her success, Fisher took to alcohol and drugs. For 20 years she was in and out of hospitals to treat her addiction, bipolar disorder and other problems.

“Yes, I’ve been to a lot of places,” she said. “They’re not bad. You can find a group who can be very funny. You have to be; it’s the end of the line. You can’t get lower than that, unless you’re on life support.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Lou Jacobi is 95. Comic book creator Stan Lee is 86. Actor Martin Milner is 77. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 76. Actress Maggie Smith is 74. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 70. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 62. Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton is 58. Actor Denzel Washington is 54. Country singer Joe Diffie is 50. Country musician Mike McGuire is 50. Actor Chad McQueen is 48. Country singer-musician Marty Roe is 48. Actor Malcolm Gets is 44. Comedian Seth Meyers is 35. R&B singer John Legend is 30. Actress Sienna Miller is 27. Pop singer David Archuleta is 18.

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