Farrah Fawcett, the Texas-born actress and sex symbol who shot to fame as one of “Charlie’s Angels” and later earned acclaim in serious roles including telepic “The Burning Bed,” died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., of cancer at the age of 62.Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006 and traveled to Germany in 2007 for alternative treatments. An NBC documentary about her cancer battle that aired in May, “Farrah’s Story,” caused controversy over the final editing of the piece.
The tanned, blonde actress was one of the biggest celebrities of the 1970s, parlaying commercials and guest TV spots into a starring role in the popular detective drama “Charlie’s Angels” in 1976. Around the same time, a swimsuit poster featuring the beauty’s tousled mane, flirtatious smile and enviable figure -- graphically outlined in a tight red swimsuit -- sold a still-unrivaled 12 million copies.
Fawcett lasted only one season as a regular on the ABC drama, however, bolting for a career in film that didn’t match her TV popularity. (Her first film was the 1978 “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” which Hollywood wags dubbed “Somebody Killed Her Career.”) Her TV exit resulted in a series of lawsuits, and the actress agreed, as part of a settlement, to appear in a handful of episodes of the show in subsequent seasons.
She sought to downplay her sex-symbol status with meatier roles in the 1980s. In 1984, Fawcett earned the first of three Emmy Award nominations for her role as a battered wife in the television movie “The Burning Bed.” She also gained acclaim for more serious fare including the stage and movie versions of “Extremities,” in which she played a rape victim who turns the table on her attacker, and for a predatory role in the miniseries “Small Sacrifices.”
Other notable TV movie roles included “Nazi Hunter: The Beate Larsfeld Story,” “Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story” and “Margaret Bourke-White.”
Born in Corpus Christi, she attended the U. of Texas at Austin, where she was featured in a photo of the “Ten Most Beautiful Co-eds.” After a Hollywood agent saw the photo, she dropped out and moved to Hollywood.
She soon met actor Lee Majors and began making guest appearances on series including “The Flying Nun,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Marcus Welby M.D” and Majors’ “The Six Million Dollar Man.” She also appeared with Raquel Welch in the 1970 film “Myra Breckinridge.”
But it was a hair care campaign for Wella Balsam that ignited interest before the launch of “Charlie’s Angels” and her poster release.
Among her other film roles were in the ‘‘76 “Logan’s Run,” “Saturn 3,” “Sunburn,” “The Cannonball Run,” “The Apostle,” Robert Altman’s “Dr. T and the Women,” and her final film, the 2004 “The Cookout.”
Her third Emmy nom was for a recurring guest appearance on law drama “The Guardian” in 2003.
Fawcett was back in the spotlight in 1995, posing nude for Playboy magazine at the age of 48. The December 1995 issue in which she appeared sold more than 4 million copies, making it the bestselling issue of the 1990s.
In June 1997, Fawcett made headlines for her appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” Some had speculated that her rambling, incoherent manner was the result of drug abuse, but she insisted she was just joking around with the latenight host.
Fawcett was married to Majors from 1973 to 1982. From 1982 to the present, she was involved off and on with actor Ryan O’Neal; the latter relationship produced one child, Redmond, born in 1985.
Farrah Fawcett dies at 62 - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety
'Charlie's Angel' Farrah Fawcett Dies
Actress Was 62
POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2009
UPDATED: 12:14 pm CDT June 25, 2009
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Farrah Fawcett in 2006
Farrah Fawcett, whose luxurious tresses and blinding smile helped redefine sex appeal in the 1970s as one of TV's "Charlie's Angels," died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62.
The pop icon, who in the 1980s set aside the fantasy girl image to tackle serious roles, died Thursday shortly before 9:30 a.m. PDT in a Santa Monica hospital, spokesman Paul Bloch said.
She burst on the scene in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in TV's "Charlie's Angels." A poster of her in a clingy swimsuit sold in the millions.
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."
She had been diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. As she underwent treatment, she enlisted the help of actor Ryan O'Neal, who had been her longtime companion and was the father of her son, Redmond, born in 1985.
This month, O'Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed "as soon as she can say yes," he said.
Her struggle with painful treatments and dispiriting setbacks was recorded in the television documentary "Farrah's Story." Fawcett sought cures in Germany as well as the United States, battling the disease with iron determination even as her body weakened.
"Her big message to people is don't give up, no matter what they say to you, keep fighting," her friend Alana Stewart said. NBC estimated the May 15, 2009, broadcast drew nearly 9 million viewers.
In the documentary, Fawcett was seen shaving off most of her trademark locks before chemotherapy could claim them. Toward the end, she's seen huddled in bed, barely responding to a visit from her son.
Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith comprised 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, and it gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves in bathing suits and 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 "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.
A poster of her in a dampened red swimsuit sold millions of copies and became a ubiquitous wall decoration in teenagers' rooms.
Thus 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. (Cheryl Ladd became the new "Angel" on the series.)
But the movies turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery "Somebody Killed Her Husband," flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled "Somebody Killed Her Career."
The actress had also been in line to star in "Foul Play" for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. "Spelling-Goldberg warned all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me," Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979. "The studios wouldn't touch me."
She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of "Charlie's Angels" a season, an experience she called "painful."
She returned to making movies, including the futuristic thriller "Logan's Run," the comedy-thriller "Sunburn" and the strange sci-fi tale "Saturn 3," but none clicked with the public.
Fawcett fared better with television movies such as "Murder in Texas," ''Poor Little Rich Girl" and especially as an abused wife in 1984's "The Burning Bed." The last earned her an Emmy nomination and the long-denied admission from critics that she really could act.
As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in "Extremities" as a woman who is raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.
Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type. She played 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.
"I felt that I was doing a disservice to ourselves by portraying only women as victims," she commented in a 1992 interview.
In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett posed 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.
She told an interviewer she considered the experience "a renaissance," adding, "I no longer feel ... restrictions emotionally, artistically, creatively or in my everyday life. I don't feel those borders anymore."
Fawcett's most unfortunate career moment may have been a 1997 appearance on David Letterman's show, when her disjointed, rambling answers led many to speculate that she was on drugs. She denied that, blaming her strange behavior on questionable advice from her mother to be playful and have a good time.
In September 2006, Fawcett, who at 59 still maintained a strict regimen of tennis and paddleball, began to feel strangely exhausted. She underwent two weeks of tests and was told the devastating news: She had anal cancer.
O'Neal, with whom she had a 17-year relationship, again became her constant companion, escorting her to the hospital for chemotherapy.
"She's so strong," the actor told a reporter. "I love her. I love her all over again."
She struggled to maintain her privacy, but a UCLA Medical Center employee pleaded guilty in late 2008 to violating federal medical privacy law for commercial purposes for selling records of Fawcett and other celebrities to the National Enquirer.
"It's much easier to go through something and deal with it without being under a microscope," she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in which she also revealed that she helped set up a sting that led to the hospital worker's arrest.
Her decision to tell her own story through the NBC documentary was meant as an inspiration to others, friends said. The segments showing her cancer treatment, including a trip to Germany for procedures there, were originally shot for a personal, family record, they said. And although weak, she continued to show flashes of grit and good humor in the documentary.
"I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, 'It is seriously time for a miracle,'" she said at one point.
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. She was less than a month old when she underwent surgery to remove a digestive tract tumor with which she was born.
After attending Roman Catholic grade school and W.B. Ray High School, Fawcett enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. Fellow students voted her 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. After overcoming her parents' objections, she agreed.
Soon she was appearing in such TV shows as "That Girl," ''The Flying Nun," ''I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Partridge Family."
Majors became both her boyfriend and her adviser on career matters, and they married in 1973. She dropped his last name from hers after they divorced in 1982.
By then she had already begun her long relationship with O'Neal. The couple never married. Both Redmond and Ryan O'Neal have grappled with drug and legal problems in recent years.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
June 25, 2009
Angels' Speak on Fawcett's Passing RT @extratv
Posted by ExtraTV Staff on June 25, 2009 10:43 AM
charlie's angels remember farrah fawcett
Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, who co-starred with Farrah Fawcett in "Charlie's Angels," and Cheryl Ladd, who replaced Farrah on the show, have released statements regarding the actress' death this morning.
Jaclyn said, "Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels."
"I will miss Farrah everyday. She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was,"
Kate said in a statement. "Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her. When I think of Farrah I will remember her 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."
"I'm terribly sad about Farrah's passing," Cheryl said. "She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms."
John Forsythe, who voiced Charlie in "Charlie's Angels," released this statement regarding Fawcett: "Though I did not know her well, Farrah left an indelible mark on me and the public during her one year reign on "Charlie's Angels." She put up a gallant fight and I send my deepest sympathy and prayers to her family and friends."
Actor George Hamilton -- the ex-husband of Farrah's close friend Alana Stewart -- also released a statement to "Extra" regarding the "Angel's" death. It reads: "She was the strongest woman I ever met, who fought this battle for 3 years to the end. She never felt sorry for herself and was the sweetest and kindest lady. I will miss her enormously."
'Angels' Speak on Fawcett's Passing | Extra
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