Fawcett became a sensation in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in “Charlie’s Angels.” A poster of her in a clingy, red swimsuit sold in the millions and her full, layered hairstyle became all the rage, with girls and women across America mimicking the look.
Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels,” Jaclyn Smith said.
Said Cheryl Ladd: “She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms.”
Kate Jackson said she would remember Fawcett’s “kindness, her cutting, dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile. Today when you think of Farrah remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered, smiling.”
She left the show after one season but had a flop on the big screen with “Somebody Killed Her Husband.” She turned to more serious roles in the 1980s and 1990s, winning praise playing an abused wife in “The Burning Bed.”
Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother, who said she added the Farrah because it sounded good with Fawcett. As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, she was voted one of the 10 most beautiful people on the campus and her photos were eventually spotted by movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career.
She appeared in a string of commercials, including one where she shaved quarterback Joe Namath, and in such TV shows as “That Girl,” “The Flying Nun,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Partridge Family.”
Fawcett, Jackson and Smith made up the original “Angels,” the sexy, police-trained trio of martial arts experts who took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone.)
The program debuted in September 1976, the height of what some critics derisively referred to as television’s “jiggle show” era. It gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves as hookers and strippers to solve crimes.
Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett — then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to “The Six Million Dollar Man” star Lee Majors — quickly became the most popular Angel of all.
Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah’s faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favorite with male viewers in particular.
The public and the show’s producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series’ first season that she was leaving television’s No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Ladd became the new “Angel” on the series.)
But Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success on film. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” flopped. The actress had also been in line to star in “Foul Play” for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979 that Spelling-Goldberg sabotaged her, warning “all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me.”
She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of “Charlie’s Angels” a season, an experience she called “painful.”
After a short string of unsuccessful movies, Fawcett found critical success in the 1984 television movie “The Burning Bed,” which earned her an Emmy nomination.
As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in “Extremities,” playing a woman who seeks revenge against her attacker after being raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.
Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type to take on roles as a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story “Small Sacrifices” and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992’s “Criminal Behavior.”
She also starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett stirred controversy posing partly nude for Playboy magazine. The following year, she starred in a Playboy video, “All of Me,” in which she was equally unclothed while she sculpted and painted.
Comfort & Blessings
to Her Loved Ones
Lady Bee ✿