Farrah Fawcett dies of cancer at age 62.
Farrah Fawcett was the last of her kind. I know that the old codgers look at Bette Davis or Rita Hayworth and say they don’t make ’em like that anymore. That may be true, but Farrah Fawcett came along at the Golden Age of network television before cable took off. If you grew up in a major city, there were really only three channels. ABC, NBC and CBS. There were other channels but they did not, for the most part, produce original programming in the evenings. PBS had Monty Python and other British comedies on Sunday night but the big three ruled prime time. Everybody watched about the same stuff.
Charlie’s Angels, which first appeared in 1976, was a show that was unique in its concept. Put three beautiful, capable women together… Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson (my personal favorite) and Jacqueline Smith. I know it doesn’t sound like a breakthrough now but it sure was at the time. They were put smack dab in the male-dominated world of Hollywood and private detectives. They were able to get into trouble and get out of trouble without having to call for a man to rescue them. Sure, their hair was always perfect. That was not the point. It’s Hollywood.
She was a tour de force. She had that hair, that smile. She was only on Charlie’s Angels for a year. The show was never the same after she left. Her famous poster came out in 1976 also. It’s unclear exactly how many copies of this poster were sold, but it was somewhere between five and 12 million copies. Unlike Bo Derek, who was just another pretty face, Farrah learned how to be more than just a pretty face. She acted on Broadway. She won critical acclaim for her role as a rape victim in the off-Broadway play called Extremities. In 1984, she played the role of a battered wife in the TV movie, The Burning Bed. Not only did she win critical acclaim for this role, but the movie also offered a 1 800-number to help victims of domestic violence.
I will not dwell on her private life (the divorce from Lee Majors which helped her career or the drug-addicted son currently in jail.
Farrah Fawcett was never a great actress. Through hard work and determination she did become a very good actress. For short period of time, from the mid-70s to approximately the mid-80s, she was the all-American girl. I’m sad that she is gone.