By David Todd Special to OnMilwaukee Published Dec 27, 2016 at 5:56 PM

To say Carrie Fisher is a part of modern Americana would be an understatement. Well, her character Princess Leia, at least. But it's Carrie Fisher who has kept the princess a reality for billions.

As many know, in 1956, Fisher was born to what so many have referred to as Hollywood royalty: crooner Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. When she was only a year and a half old, Eddie left the family to be with, and then marry, family friend Elizabeth Taylor, the recent widow of Mike Todd, a friend of Eddie (no relation to me). And the Hollywood drama ensued.

After growing up amongst tabloid controversy, Carrie Fisher would evolve into not only an accomplished author and actress of stage, screen and film, but also a Hollywood script doctor, as she was often asked to "refresh" dialogue on stale scripts.

Even with her accomplishments, Fisher struggled with fame and specifically her weight. Fisher also endured two failed marriages – one to singer Paul Simon, the other to talent agent Bryan Lourd, which ended after he came out as bisexual (before Lourd came out, the two had a daughter together, Billie, a successful actress in her own right on FOX's "Scream Queens," as well as an extra in "The Force Awakens"). Pair all of that with the pressures of Hollywood, and Fisher suffered and shared with fans a very public battle with drug addiction and the reality of living with severe depression until the end.

Fisher was recently touring Europe promoting her new memoir, "The Princess Diarist," a "Star Wars" tell-all. In the book, she recalls, in addition to her affair with co-star Harrison Ford, not really being a drinker or drug user until she was in her 20s and "Star Wars." She previously admitted the problem affected her career in her semi-autobiographical book and movie "Postcards from the Edge."

If Fisher was anything, she was frank. When it came to her struggles with addiction, two failed marriages and coping with severe depression, she honestly chronicled those issues in her books, movies and Broadway play "Wishful Drinking."

If I can tell you something personally, her second last book, "Shockaholic," a coming out about her fight with depression, literally saved my life. The topic was about shock therapy to treat depression, a course I didn't know was an option even though I had been diagnosed with severe depression in a fight of my own.

So, thank you, Carrie Fisher, for the years of entertainment and the bravery to share the pressures of being a Princess for the people. You will be missed ... and may the Force be with you.

David Todd Special to OnMilwaukee
David Todd is the managing director of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Todd, who also has worked television in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, returned to Milwaukee in 2007 from L.A. where he served as director of marketing and corporate giving for the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. A theatre buff, Todd is an alumnus of Pius XI High School and its theatre program where he performed both on stage and behind-the-scenes. David received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1991. He says these days, however, he prefers a seat in the Dress Circle or to be watching his favorite musical “Funny Girl.” Todd can be reached at