Reynolds died at age 84 on Dec. 28, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher, another great broad, actor and writer, died at 60. Their mother-daughter story is like no other: Fisher grew up in Reynolds’ larger-than-life shadow, partly dazzled by her mother’s glamour and verve and partly feeling lost amid the glitter. She built her own acting career, appearing, at age 18, in Hal Ashby’s Shampoo, playing a flirty, deadpan tomboy rich girl. She’s impetuous, calculating, extraordinary—it’s the kind of debut that promises great things. Her next role was that of the radiant, wisecracking Princess Leia in the 1977 Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope. Though the medieval-Cinnabon hairdo has always been a target for jokes, the astonishing thing is how well Fisher carried it. She was the diva of the grandest space opera, after all.
THERE WAS MUCH MORE to Fisher than Leia: she was also a prolific and piercingly funny writer. Across seven books, she mapped her battles with mental illness and substance abuse, as well as career disappointments, without a shred of selfpity. If Fisher was her own greatest subject, her mother was a close second. Reynolds, who had moved with her family from El Paso, Texas, to California at 7, was discovered in 1948 at age 16 when she won the title of Miss Burbank. If the ensuing contract with Warner Bros. was the stuff of Hollywood dreams, Reynolds later suffere