SOHO, Manhattan – A local pizzeria is offering free slices to “Star Wars” fans mourning over the death of Carrie Fisher, the actress who famously played Princess Leia on the movie series.
The cheesy freebies are happening at Champion Pizza located at 17 Cleveland Place, starting at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. There is one condition, only fans dressed in “Star Wars” attire will get the pizza.
The owner of the pizzeria, Hakki Akdeniz, is a lifelong fan of “Star Wars” and will have his own staff dressed in costumes as well. They expect to give out more than 10,000 slices in the next 48 hours to devoted fans.
Fisher died Tuesday at the age 60. She had been in the hospital since falling ill Friday on a flight to Los Angeles.
Pizzeria owner Akdeniz once served Fisher and said he was starstruck.
“She was such a sweetheart, and left a $100 tip,” he recalled, remembering that the actress ordered a slice of a Margherita pie.
Akdeniz said while growing up in his native Turkey, he learned English by watching the original “Star Wars” movies.
“I learned English watching New Hope the first movie with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamilton,” he said.
Mike Fricchione, co-president of the New York Star Wars Fan Club, arrived at the eatery Wednesday wearing his Chewbacca mask.
“We’ve never had this experience in our community before where a major character has died. It really is sad. A lot of us grew up watching these movies; she was a constant. To lose her so early is heart wrenching,” Fricchione said.
Fans cheered when Fisher returned last year as General Leia in the Force Awakens. ut to so many, she will always be the princess, a symbol of girl power well ahead of the time.
“She wasn’t like a prissy princess she fought for freedom, she was Leia but with a sword or laser gun. She was like a real girl. I wasn’t even around when the first movie came out but to me, the original with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, they are Star Wars to me,” said Susan Sanders, who came dressed as Leia, complete with hair buns on each side.
Born into Hollywood royalty to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she gained generations of fans as Princess Leia, but also was an accomplished author. Fisher died while on tour promoting her new book, “The Princess Diarist.”
Based on her real-life diaries, the book revealed for the first time an intense affair with Ford during the filming of the movie.
She wrote about her experiences as a showbiz kid who struggled with addiction in her best-selling novel, “Postcards From the Edge.” The acclaimed book was turned into a hit movie starring Meryl Streep.
Fisher was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in the 1980s.
In addition to her mother, Fisher is survived by her daughter, actress Billie Lourd, from her relationship with Hollywood super agent Brian Lourd.
Before she died, Fisher had reportedly finished filming her scenes for Star Wars, Episode 8, scheduled to be released at the end of 2017.
“It’s going to be a little awkward seeing her posthumously in film. I don’t know how I feel about that yet, but any opportunity to see her perform again we will cherish,” Fricchione said.
And on Wednesday at Champion Pizza, it was about supporting one other and remembering a fallen star.
“We all came here today to mourn her passing but also to celebrate her life and what she stood for,” Sanders said. “She’ll always be Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher. She did other things too but obviously Star Wars was most notable and she will live on through that legacy.”