She was the Star Wars princess with the surreal Wagnerian ‘do and the tart tongue that had more firepower than a starship. He was the perfectionist popster who had gone solo after harmonizing with Art Garfunkel in the ’60s. Together, Hollywood brat Carrie Fisher, then 26, and New York music man Paul Simon, 41, made show-biz sparks.
On Aug. 16, 1983, they were wed in Simon’s swank duplex overlooking Central Park. The Jewish ceremony was traditional, but the guest list was not. Present were the bride’s parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, whose breakup in 1958 was precipitated by one Liz Taylor; Harper, Simon’s 10-year-old son from his first marriage, to Peggy Harper; Garfunkel and Penny Marshall; Saturday Night Live guru Lorne Michaels; George Lucas; and Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.
For five years, the couple had been waging turbulent star wars of their own. Just weeks before deciding to marry, they had split, Fisher cracking, ”Let’s just say that we left each other to fall in love with Liz — there, we’ve come full circle.” Somehow the two patched things up, and in October 1983, they sailed down the Nile on a belated honeymoon (along with Garfunkel and Marshall). But their wedded journey didn’t last; they separated after 11 months of ups and downs and divorced in the summer of 1985.
After going through rehab that year for addiction to Percodan, Fisher wrote two novels, Postcards From the Edge (made into the 1990 film with Meryl Streep) and Surrender the Pink, which featured an aloof Simon-like character. Fisher, who is working on a new book, has also had memorable parts in Hannah and Her Sisters and When Harry Met Sally…. She has a 1-year-old daughter, Billie Catherine, with CAA agent Bryan Lourd.
Meanwhile, Simon breathed new life into his solo career with his 1986 Graceland album, and again with 1990’s Rhythm of the Saints. Remarried in 1992 to folkie Edie Brickell, he has a 7-month-old son, Adrian Edward. In October, Simon will perform solo and with Garfunkel in New York City.
”The bad thing about my relationship with Paul,” Fisher said afterward, ”was that we were similar animals. Where there should be a flower and a gardener, we were two flowers. In the bright sun. Wilting.” And then there were just the sounds of silence.