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Friends, Fans Pay Tribute to Carrie Fisher

  • Aline Barros

An impromptu memorial created on a blank Hollywood Walk of Fame star by fans of the late actress and author Carrie Fisher, who does not have an official star on the world-famous promenade, is seen in Los Angeles, Dec. 28, 2016. Paste-on letters spell out her name and the phrase "May the force be with you always. Hope."

An impromptu memorial created on a blank Hollywood Walk of Fame star by fans of the late actress and author Carrie Fisher, who does not have an official star on the world-famous promenade, is seen in Los Angeles, Dec. 28, 2016. Paste-on letters spell out her name and the phrase "May the force be with you always. Hope."

Movie fans, celebrities and friends have been paying respects to actress Carrie Fisher, who died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. She had been in a hospital since Friday, having suffered a medical emergency on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

On Hollywood Boulevard, movie fans gathered alongside Star Wars impersonators to honor the late actress, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original film from the series.

FILE - Carrie Fisher is pictured at the 2011 Silver Hill Hospital gala at Cipriani 42nd Street, in New York City, Nov. 3, 2011. The actor best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films died Tuesday, days after suffering a heart attack on a transatlantic flight.

FILE - Carrie Fisher is pictured at the 2011 Silver Hill Hospital gala at Cipriani 42nd Street, in New York City, Nov. 3, 2011. The actor best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films died Tuesday, days after suffering a heart attack on a transatlantic flight.

"I think it's really sad. I thought, too, that she was getting better in the hospital after she had a heart attack, so it feels really sad. It's a big loss," Melody Silveira, a Boston tourist, told Reuters.

"She was a huge star. Star Wars was an amazing film, she was an amazing part of it and it's a great loss that she's died so young," British tourist Lee Scott said.

Under a Yoda statue, outside the Lucasfilm campus in California, Fisher's fans left flowers and messages.

Her brother, Todd, told KABC in Los Angeles that the family had hopes she eventually would do better.

"Everybody is just a little bit in shock because she's so young and was doing so great, and to have her have a cardiac arrest at this age, to say the least, is unexpected," he said. "We've really been close our whole lives, and it's a very strange place to be looking at the world without her."

FILE - Carrie Fisher poses for cameras as she arrives at the European Premiere of "Star Wars, The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square, London, Dec. 16, 2015.

FILE - Carrie Fisher poses for cameras as she arrives at the European Premiere of "Star Wars, The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square, London, Dec. 16, 2015.

Author, host

Fisher published best-selling books, hosted a television show and played numerous characters in television series, including Entourage and 30 Rock.

Los Angeles-based film critic and historian Leonard Maltin spoke to VOA about Fisher's film legacy and said Star Wars overshadowed "everything that Carrie Fisher did for the rest of her life."

"She's been busy as a writer, as a performer, as a participant in documentaries, as a novelist, but all people know her for and cared about is that she played Princess Leia," Maltin said.

The film critic also said that in addition to writing novels and a recent memoir, the late actress was a well-known script doctor.

"Directors would bring screenplays to her to add humor, to add a love interest, and she became one of the most reliable script doctors in town," he said.

Maltin's favorite memory of Fisher is "her self-deprecating sense of humor."

FILE - Carrie Fisher, her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, and brother, filmmaker Todd Fisher, arrive at a luncheon hosted by the American Film Institute, Sept. 17, 1998.

FILE - Carrie Fisher, her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, and brother, filmmaker Todd Fisher, arrive at a luncheon hosted by the American Film Institute, Sept. 17, 1998.

The actress was the first to speak openly about her own struggles. She was a mental health advocate who endured cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder.

"She made the jokes before anyone else could," Maltin said. "She beat them to the punch — or beat them to the punchline, you could say. She did a one-woman joke, Wishful Drinking, about her problems with alcohol and with abuse and about her turbulent life growing up in the spotlight."

Berkeley Repertory Theater artistic director Tony Taccone, who directed Fisher's solo theater production of Wishful Drinking, called her a "comic genius."

Wishful Drinking played at Berkeley in 2008 and 2009, and also made its way to Broadway.

"It's a great loss. … I've never met anyone who could craft a comic line better than she could," Taccone said in a statement.

A 'lovely lady'

Former co-star Peter Mayhem, who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, said he remembered his friend as a "lovely lady" who was always glad to see him.

"A friend is gone, departed, and is hopefully happy where she has gone to," Mayhem said.

FILE - Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford attend Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" panel on day 2 of Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif., July 10, 2015.

FILE - Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford attend Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" panel on day 2 of Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif., July 10, 2015.

Actor Mark Hamill, who played Princess Leia's brother, Luke Skywalker, wrote a tribute on Twitter with the caption "#AFewWords."

"Carrie was one-of-a-kind who belonged to us all — whether she liked it or not. She was our princess," Hamill wrote. "I am grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness [and] even the bratty, self-indulgent crap my beloved space-twin gave me through the years."

Harrison Ford, another Star Wars co-star, with whom Fisher said she had a three-month affair 40 years ago, wrote in a statement that she was funny and emotionally fearless.

"She lived her life, bravely. … We will all miss her," Ford wrote.

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