How Carrie Fisher Influenced Today's Actresses

Actresses of all stripes are remembering the spunky, rebellious Carrie Fisher.

December 28, 2016, 12:28 PM

— -- When Carrie Fisher stepped into her iconic role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars," she forever changed what it meant to be a princess and paved the way for modern-day heroines like Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger and Tris Prior.

Fisher "defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday. "Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly."

Among those mourning Fisher's death at age 60 are the actresses who benefited from Fisher's portrayal of the feisty, rebellious, take-no-prisoners princess.

Daisy Ridley, who played Rey, the tough new heroine in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," wrote that she was "devastated" at the "monumental loss" of Fisher.

"How lucky we all are to have known her, and how awful that we have to say goodbye," Ridley said.

Last year, Ridley, 24, who was a relative unknown like Fisher was when she was cast in the original trilogy at age 19, spoke to her idol for Interview magazine.

"People have been asking me about crushes out of the original film, and I say you every time," Ridley told Fisher. "They were like, 'Is there anyone you particularly look up to?' And I'm like, "Well, Carrie, obviously."

"That's good. You didn't like Mark [Hamill] or Harrison [Ford]? This is the only time we'd ever have this conversation," Fisher replied.

"Of course, I like them both! But you're a kickass woman," Ridley said.

"I'm your predecessor, I think," Fisher said.

"Exactly. You paved the way for all the girls," Ridley responded.

When Fisher returned to the "Star Wars" franchise for last year's "The Force Awakens," Leia had been promoted to general and was joined by Rey. Now there's also Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, in the "Star Wars" spinoff, "Rogue One."

Jones never met Fisher but said she was nonetheless impacted by her.

"Such devastating news," Jones said in a statement. "I never met Carrie but consistently heard how profoundly sharp and witty she was. Her maverick spirit will be missed by us all."

That maverick spirit and wit influenced actresses of all stripes.

Here are responses from some of them following Fisher's death:

Tina Fey worked with her idol in an episode of her sitcom "30 Rock," in which Fisher played a difficult and legendary television writer.

"Carrie Fisher meant a lot to me. Like many women my age, Princess Leia occupies about 60 percent of my brain at any given time," Fey wrote in a statement. "But Carrie’s honest writing and her razor-sharp wit were an even greater gift. I feel so lucky that I got to meet her. I’m very sad she is gone."

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