Friday, June 26, 2009

Farrah Fawcett - 1970s’ Blonde Sex Symbol

Another major loss to US entertainment occurred yesterday.

Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels fame passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Here’s a brief biography of her, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thanks for the memories, Farrah. RIP.

Farrah Fawcett (February 2, 1947 — June 25, 2009) was an American actress.

A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she first appeared as private investigator Jill Munroe in the TV series Charlie's Angels in 1976.

Fawcett later appeared in critically acclaimed television movies playing challenging roles.

Her notable television movies included The Burning Bed, Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story, Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, Margaret Bourke-White and Small Sacrifices (where she was roundly despised as a monstrous child killer).

Fawcett was also a pop culture figure whose hairstyle was emulated by millions of young women and whose poster sales broke records, making her an international sex symbol in the 1970s and 1980s.

Born Ferrah Leni Fawcett in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was of British and Native American ancestry (not unlike her fellow Charlie’s Angels co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, arguably the most attractive of the trio).

The younger of two sisters, she graduated from W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi in 1965.

From 1966–1969, Fawcett attended the University of Texas in Austin.

She appeared in a photo of the Ten Most Beautiful Students of the university.

A Hollywood publicist saw the photo, called Farrah and urged her to move to Los Angeles, which she did in 1969, with her parents’ approval.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fawcett appeared in TV commercials for consumer products.

In 1978, after achieving TV stardom, she appeared in a series of commercials for her own brand of shampoo, marketed by Faberge.

Fawcett's first TV series appearance was a guest spot on I Dream of Jeannie, followed by guest appearances in Owen Marshall: Counselor At Law.

She later appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors, which first aired in 1974, The Dating Game and Harry O.

In 1976, Pro Arts pitched the idea of a poster of Fawcett to her agent, and a photo shoot was arranged.

The resulting poster of Farrah in a one-piece red bathing suit, was a best-seller.

In 1976, the first appearance of Fawcett playing the character Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels was aired as a television movie.

The movie starred Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Fawcett as private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multi-millionaire whom the women never met.

Voiced by John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character presented cases and dispensed advice via a speaker phone to his core team of three female employees, whom he referred to as Angels.

They were aided in the office and occasionally in the field by two male associates, played by character actors David Doyle and David Ogden Stiers.

The series formally debuted on September 22, 1976.

Fawcett emerged as a fan favourite in the show, and the actress won a People's Choice Award for Favourite Performer in a New TV Programme.

Her appearance in the TV show boosted sales of her poster, and she earned far more in royalties from poster sales than from her salary in Charlie's Angels.

Fawcett left the show after one season and Cheryl Ladd replaced her, portraying Jill's younger sister Kris Munroe.

Fawcett returned for six guest appearances over seasons three and four of the series.

In 2004, the TV movie Behind The Camera: The Unauthorised Story Of Charlie's Angels dramatised the events from the show with supermodel and actress Tricia Helfer portraying Fawcett.

Fawcett won critical acclaim for her 1983 role in the controversial play Extremities, written by William Mastrosimone.

Replacing Susan Sarandon in the role, she was a would-be rape victim who turned the tables on her attacker.

The following year, her role as a battered wife in the fact-based TV movie The Burning Bed earned her her first of three Emmy Award nominations.

In 1986 Fawcett appeared in the movie version of Extremities, which was also well-received by critics, and for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture — Drama.

She appeared in Jon Avnet's Between Two Women with Colleen Dewhurst, and took several more dramatic roles as infamous or renowned women.

She was nominated for Golden Globe awards for roles as Beate Klarsfeld in Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and troubled Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story.

Her 1989 portrayal of convicted murderer Diane Downs in Small Sacrifices earned her a second Emmy nomination and her sixth Golden Globe Award nomination.

In 2000, she worked with director Robert Altman and an all-star cast in the feature film Dr T And The Women, playing opposite Richard Gere.

Fawcett also starred in popular television series Ally McBeal and Spin City.

Fawcett was married to Lee Majors, star of The Six Million Dollar Man from 1973–1982, though the couple separated in 1979.

From 1982 until her death, Fawcett was involved romantically with actor Ryan O'Neal.

The relationship produced a son, Redmond O'Neal, born in 1985.

She also became the stepmother of Oscar-winning actress Tatum O'Neal (Ryan's eldest child from his first marriage) and the mother-in-law of tennis icon John McEnroe, who was once married to Tatum (John later remarried singer-songwriter Patty Smyth famous for her duet Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough with The Eagles' Don Henley).

Fawcett's elder sister, Diane Fawcett, died of cancer just before her 63rd birthday on October 16, 2001.