Mark Hamill pays tribute to 'space sis' Carrie Fisher

Los Angeles (AFP) –


"Star Wars" icon Mark Hamill paid emotional tribute to his "space sis" Carrie Fisher Friday, as both were bestowed with Disney's "Legend" status at the entertainment giant's D23 fan convention.

Fisher -- who died at the age of 60 in December -- and her co-star have been friends since they played twins Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in the epic sci-fi saga, starting with "Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope" in 1977.

"I would love to give my deepest respects for the super-cool space sis I have in Carrie Frances Fisher," said a visibly moved Hamill, 65.

"We were like siblings, the good and the bad. We'd have huge fights -- 'You're such a phony!' -- but we loved each other."

Fisher became an overnight sensation in 1977 with her iconic performance as Leia but took on a panoply of roles as an actress, author, playwright, screenwriter and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

Her last "Star Wars" movie, and her last part alongside Hamill, will be in "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi," due for release in December.

"What a huge thrill it was to come back in 'The Force Awakens' at that time in our lives. There was a comfort level with each other, we could rely on each other, and there was a deep respect," Hamill said.

"I know if she were here this morning she would have flipped me the bird at least twice already."

Disney chief Bob Iger spoke of her "talent, wit and friendship" and decribed Fisher's final "Star Wars" performance as "legendary."

Iger read out a letter from her daughter, the actress Billie Lourd, who is currently filming the FX series "American Horror Story."

"May the force be with you always," she wrote, winning an ovation from the audience of around 5,000 packed into the Anaheim Convention Center in southern California.

Fisher and Hamill were among several Disney figures, including Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg, honored at the "Legends Awards" event, in its 30th year.

Adding to the poignancy of the ceremony, there were postumous awards for Disney directors Clyde Geronimi and Garry Marshall, while Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee made his first public appearance since the death of his wife Joan last week.