Like so many things, it was the Baby Boomers' fault.
Because they had been raised in an era of peace and plenty, the Boomers could amuse themselves with trivia to an extent unknown since the Pax Romana.
If they liked something, they really liked it. They latched onto it and it became more than a TV show or a movie - it was a lifestyle.
Carrie Fisher didn't know that. Fandom was still a new thing, and no one in Hollywood understood how it worked. Star Trek was a commercial failure, and the sci-fi convention circuit was still obscure. The cast of the show still imagined they might make it big doing something else.
And then there was Star Wars.
Carrie Fisher never had a chance.
She was Hollywood royalty, and that led her to hope for a hit that should could parley into other hits. Typecasting was what happened to little people. She was bigger than that.
And yet, she was more typecast than anyone. Even Mark Hammill had a second life as the Joker and a comic geek. He also didn't have the emotional baggage of a Hollywood upbringing.
So she had torrid affairs, celebrity marriages and of course lots of drugs. It was a lethal combination.
At least she made it this far. Hopefully she found a measure of peace. I read a few of her articles and she seemed both sharp-witted and resigned to her fate. She knew she was crazy, which shows that she wasn't that crazy after all.
It must have been tough for her. By the time she was 30, she knew that world would always think of her as a 19-year-old princess in distress. She laughed it off, but I think there was more than a little bitterness in her humor. Then again, maybe she had come to terms with the fact that she touched fire in her youth, and the images of her arrayed in white, chained to a giant puppet in a slave girl outfit or dressed as a commando talking to a teddy bear would become iconic.
Her famous parents are now remembered because of her. People of my generation never heard of Debbie Reynolds or Eddie Fisher. I didn't get the whole story for 20 years after Star Wars came out - and only because I like old movies. By then, of course I'd gone through countless toys and books. My reaction was typical for my generation: "Princess Leia's parents made movies? Wow."
All in all, she did pretty well.
I hope she has finally found the peace that eluded her in life.