Author of unauthorized Carrie Fisher biography defends it against family disavowal
A new biography on the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher is generating controversy ahead of its release next month.
On Thursday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, and her father, Bryan Lourd, issued a statement disavowing Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, by Sheila Weller. Set to be published through the Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint Sarah Crichton Books, which falls under Macmillan — one of the Big 5 publishing houses in the U.S. — the book has generated strong buzz in the form of starred trade reviews and praise from award-winning writers including Rebecca Traister and David Maraniss.
Bryan Lourd wrote the statement. He calls the biography “unauthorized,” writing, “I do not know Ms. Weller. Billie does not know Ms. Weller. And, to my knowledge, Carrie did not know her.” He adds that Weller sold the book “without our involvement,” and that he has not read the book. “The only books about Carrie Fisher worth reading are the ones Carrie wrote herself,” he concludes. “She perfectly told us everything we needed to know.”
Deadline Hollywood first published the statement, and added the detail that “the [Lourd] family only discovered there was a book when they read a Los Angeles magazine excerpt about Fisher’s final hours.” (In September, EW also published an excerpt from the book.) The publisher’s jacket copy for the book, which traces Fisher’s struggles with mental illness and drug addiction as well as her success in Hollywood, claims it was “sourced by friends, colleagues, and witnesses to all stages of Fisher’s life.”
In response to EW’s request for comment, Weller provided the following statement: “I reached out to Simon Halls, the representative of Carrie Fisher’s family, twice: once, in March 2017, informing them about my contracted book, and seeking family approval, and another time, several months later, to re-state both points. I was turned down — but in a gracious email — the first time, and invited to re-inquire later. My two follow-ups met with no response. Early reviewers and readers have called Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge a sympathetic portrait. It is my great admiration for Carrie Fisher’s life and work that compelled me to write the book in the first place.”
Weller, a former senior contributing editor at Glamour and contributing editor at New York magazine, most recently published The News Sorority, a nonfiction exploration of female broadcast journalists including Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric, in 2014. She’s best known for her best-selling book Girls Like Us, a biography of the lives of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon; it received wide acclaim, including a New York Times rave and a “must-read” designation by the Boston Globe.
Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge publishes Nov. 12.