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CARRIE FISHER--BEFORE SHE’D BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

The daughter of mismated stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher was not yet 21 when I interviewed her for the New York Times in 1977. That was just before the premiere of “Star Wars,” and long before her battle with drugs, her hoot of a rehab, her botched marriage, and her literary sensation with “Postcards From the Edge.” And surely we’ll be seeing and hearing lots more from this resilient, made-in-Hollywood trouper. --GUY FLATLEY

“The girl is not an alcoholic, and she’s not a prostitute. She’s just a normal, sophisticated young woman,” declares Carrie Fisher, heaping praise upon captive princess Leia, whom she portrays in “Star Wars,” George Lucas’ science-fiction frolic, due to open on Wednesday. And even though this priceless princess comes from outer space, she strikes the 20-year-old actress as a comfortably recognizable figure, far more sympathetic than the earthbound predator she played so persuasively in “Shampoo,” a surly teenager who nonchalantly seduces her mother’s lover.

“I don’t identify with that girl,” says the poised and vivacious daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. “At least, I try not to. She was an angry girl, and her anger could never be resolved, because it was directed toward her parents. The way she attempted to work it out – the revenge way – was really awful. I just don’t know where my performance came from; it was as if I did the whole thing under water, which is why I decided to go to school.”

London’s School of Speech and Drama fit the bill for a year and a half, until Fisher opted for on-the-job training in “Star Wars” and “Come Back, Little Sheba,” an upcoming NBC-TV special in which she acts the clandestinely amorous boarder of Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward. “The girl in ‘Sheba’ is nicer than the others I’ve played, though by the standards of the 50’s – when the story takes place – she was a nice bad girl, since she was sleeping with a boy.”

At present, Fisher is fishing for another role. “As they say in this business, I’m up for things – which somehow makes it sound as if I belong on ‘Romper Room.’ My long-term goal is to be the secret square on ‘Hollywood Squares,’ ” she says, as mischievous as Debbie Reynolds in “Irene,” that burst of Broadway nostalgia in which the rosy-cheeked
Fisher kicked off her career as the youngest, sunniest kid in the chorus.

“But beyond that, I’m absolutely straight-faced about my determination to become an actress. That’s why I live in New York. I’d love to do theater, if they’ll have me.”

TO READ GUY FLATLEY'S 1973 INTERVIEW WITH DEBBIE REYNOLDS, CLICK HERE.