The dark sides of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
January 12, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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The tragic passing of cinnamon-bunned legend Carrie Fisher, as well as her mother Debbie Reynolds, has broken the hearts of many fans. These women made an enormous impact on film and on the hearts of moviegoers with their iconic performances in movies such as A New Hope and Singin’ in the Rain. So it makes sense that we see people like Fisher and Reynolds as untouchable, flawless icons…or does it?
No matter how famous, humans are human. People love to sweep aside the more uncomfortable aspects of their favorite stars in favor of glorifying their most positive traits. Fans adored Fisher not just for her portrayal of the beloved space princess Leia, but also for her humor, honesty and mental illness advocacy. Reynolds’ talents, such as singing and dancing, were loved just as much. Over time, traits like these come to be the defining factors of well-known figures. As a result, the darker sides of these stars are conscientiously hidden so as not to tarnish their shinier aspects.
However, both Fisher and Reynolds were far from angels. Fisher struggled with a serious drug addiction for many years, and she even, according to her memoir The Princess Diarist, had an affair with Harrison Ford, who was already married, during the filming of A New Hope. For years, Fisher and Reynolds’ relationship was strained at best(“A tumultuous relationship that led to the closest bond: How Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were estranged for a decade before becoming so close they lived next to each other”, dailymail.co.uk). Although these behaviors don’t reflect well on the character of these two starlets, it’s important to acknowledge their failures just as much as their triumphs. Only by seeing both their flaws and their strengths can the world truly see its stars as the ordinary humans they are.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with admiring an actor. It’s inevitable, given that many of them are skilled, or funny in interviews, or just a blast to watch onscreen; however, they should be celebrated while they are still alive, not just after they die. That celebration should also entail critical examination of these stars so that they are evaluated fairly as human beings who fall and persevere and make good choices and less-than-great choices—just like normal people do.
America, in particular, has placed its celebrities on almost godlike pedestals. In the long run, that is not a healthy way to view anyone, no matter how famed or accomplished. When people begin to obsessively worship their idols, they start holding those idols up to an impossible standard. Nobody can reach perfection. None of the best hair or makeup teams, stylists or expensive clothes, prestige or achievements can make anybody perfect. When people insist that stars are faultless, they begin to desire that imagined quality for themselves. That leads to people running down dangerous paths while chasing a dream that will never come true.
So take off the blinders. Start taking a more realistic view of celebrities, despite what the media may say. In fact, start taking a more realistic view of everyone in the world. Look at people as they truly are while they’re still living. Only then can people start to take shots at the unachievable perfection of celebrity culture and everyone’s own unrealistic views on celebrities themselves.