Carrie Fisher ’20/20′ Special: Five Biggest Surprises About the Late ‘Star Wars’ Actress

May she be with all of us. Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series, died Tuesday, December 27, at age 60 after suffering a heart attack on a plane four days earlier. On Tuesday, December 27, ABC aired a 20/20 special on late pop star George Michael entitled George Michael: Faith, Freedom and His Final Hours that honored both Fisher and the Wham! singer, who died on Christmas Day from heart failure at age 53.

Here are the five biggest revelations from anchor Elizabeth Vargas about the actress and author's life.

1. Fisher was pressured to lose weight for her role as Princess Leia

Fisher was 19 when she first starred in 1977's Star Wars, and she was apparently asked to lose 10 pounds because the producers thought she had a “round face.”

“You want to hide,” she said in an interview with David Muir in 2015. “When you get on set, and you think they’re going to say, ‘Oh you didn’t lose it — bring in Jodie Foster.’”

However, Fisher said she thought she made young girls aspire to be strong rather than good-looking because she “didn’t know” she was pretty.

2. Fisher was tired of her Star Wars role by the second movie and felt like a “has-been” by age 25

“I’d rather play Han Solo,” Fisher said in a previous interview.

Despite the fact that she was bored of her Princess Leia role, she was glad that a female lead could yell at the man in the movie. She began looking for other roles outside of Star Wars, including the part she landed in 1980's Blues Brothers.

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher

3. Fisher wrote her first book about her personal experience with pain pills

Her semiautobiographical 1987 novel, Postcards From the Edge, told Fisher’s real and personal story with her pill addiction. It was adapted into a 1990 movie starring Meryl Streep as Fisher.

“They were my friend until they weren’t,” Fisher said in an interview in 1994 about her relationship with drugs.

4. Fisher was “hanging on by a thread” when filming When Harry Met Sally

Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, thought she had lost Carrie to drug addiction at least seven times. Fisher admitted to taking about 30 Percodan pills a day at one point and appeared high multiple times on live TV shows, including The Arsenio Hall Show.

“I thought I was dying,” Fisher said of the time she spent in the hospital in 2013 for what she refers to as a psychotic break. "Losing your mind, which is what happened, is a terrible thing."

5. Writing helped Fisher cope with addiction and bipolar disorder

Fisher turned one of her books, Wishful Drinking, into a one-woman show. Fisher admitted that writing helped her come “full circle,” despite her stardom as an actress. She was even on a book tour in London one day before she suffered her heart attack last week.

Tell Us: What did you think of the special?

20/20 airs on ABC Fridays at 10 p.m. ET.

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