New York Pizzeria Owner Pays Tribute to Carrie Fisher With Free Slices

Fisher died on Tuesday morning.

ByMichael Rothman, Charli James and Jason Chervokas
December 28, 2016, 4:13 PM

— -- Before Hakki Akdeniz moved to America from his native Turkey years ago, the entrepreneur said he learned English by watching "Star Wars."

So when the owner of Champion Pizza in New York City heard of Carrie Fisher's passing on Tuesday at the age of 60, he said he knew he had to do something for his fellow Jedi faithful.

Akdeniz told ABC News he wanted to make a "special" event for "Star Wars" fans and patrons of his restaurant, so anyone who stops in today or tomorrow at 17 Cleveland Place in the NYC neighborhood of Soho dressed as a "Star Wars" character gets a free slice. Furthermore, if you dress as Princess Leia, Fisher's character, you get a free pie. The promotion began Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

This isn't about promoting his store, Akdeniz said, explaining that he is a lifelong fan of the galaxy far, far away.

"She was a true hero," he said of Princess Leia.

"In 1996, we started watching 'Star Wars,' and at that time, we don't even speak one word of English, we watched that movie and we learned English," he added of his family. "Obviously I don't speak good English, but what I've learned, I learned from that movie a bit."

At that time 20 years ago, Akdeniz hadn't yet moved to the U.S. but said he picked up easy English phrases like "let's go" from the film.

Akdeniz also said he met Fisher by chance at a pizzeria where he was working back in 2005. "I told the waitress 'Would you please say hello to her?'" he said, adding that the waitress pointed at him to let her know he was a fan. He said she waved back.

"When she left, she dropped $100 tip for the waitress," he added.

New York isn't the only city recognizing the late actress.

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, a Star Wars-inspired New Orleans Mardi Gras marching group, is planning a second line-style march in New Orleans in honor of Fisher.

The Leijorettes -- a group of marchers who dress as Princess Leia -- will lead the parade, Krewe leader Ryan Ballard told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Although Ballard said he's still working on getting permits for the event, the plan currently calls for the parade to set off at 4 p.m. Friday.

At the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a fan even created a makeshift star for Fisher, who never received an official one. The Walk of Fame's policy dictates that Fisher will be eligible for nomination on the fifth anniversary of her death with the permission of her family and/or estate.

Stick-on silver lettering was used to make one for Fisher with the phrase, "May the Force be with you always."

"Our princess didn't have a star, so I gave her one... now she lives amongst them..." the fan, Jason "Grimlock" Thomas, wrote on Instagram about his work.

Fisher died Tuesday morning. A family spokesman, Simon Halls, confirmed the death with a statement, saying, "It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother, Carrie Fisher, passed away at 8:55 this morning." She had gone into cardiac arrest four days prior while on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Fisher's brother, Todd Fisher, told local ABC station KABC that an official memorial hasn't been planned yet, adding that her daughter will be handling that.

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