SALT LAKE CITY -- An icon, a princess, a fan favorite.
Carrie Fisher reached many fans on a personal level. For a Utah man that personal touch came lips-to-lips with an unexpected kiss.
“As soon as I realized I was locking lips with a princess, you know, it was on,” said Michael Hardy of Kearns.
Hardy was in the crowd when Fisher spoke during a panel at the Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience in 2015.
“I need a Coca-Cola,” said Fisher to the crowd shortly after taking the stage.
Hardy had snuck in a cooler with some drinks, including a coke for his wife. He ran back, grabbed the beverage and almost gave up when he saw others bringing drinks up to the stage. Fisher politely turned down other sodas, waiting for a Coke.
Down the aisle came Hardy.
“Holding the Coke up like I was carrying the torch for the Olympics,” Hardy said.
When he got up front, Fisher bent down to the edge of the stage accepting the drink and opening her arms to pull Hardy into an embrace. To his surprise, she kissed him on the lips.
“I like to think that it was a kiss equivalent to 'Empire Strikes Back' when she’s kissing Harrison Ford. I think it might have been a little bit more passionate. It felt pretty good. I know she was feeling pretty good about it,” Hardy said.
Hardy is more than a casual fan. His basement is filled with action figures and other Star Wars memorabilia.
Being a fan is a family affair. In fact, his first meeting with Fisher was in 2007 when the actress stopped an autograph line to play with Hardy’s 1-year-old daughter Angelica, who was dressed as Princess Leia complete with a hair-bun hat.
“Do you like Princess Leia?”
“Heck yeah,” said Agelica Hardy, now 10 years old.
Fisher signed the photo in 2015, writing:
“For Angelica, the best behaved beauty who’s not a baby anymore.”
The family, like many others, offered their condolences to Fisher’s family, grateful for their own personal memories of meeting the late film icon.