From the first time she graced our screens in the late ’60s, Farrah Fawcett took our breaths away with her natural, effortless beauty, and dazzling smile. Of course, the actress was known for more than just her good looks. She had a refreshing, irresistible personality and charm about her that made everyone fall in love. Tragically, Fawcett’s life was taken much too soon, but this icon has left behind quite the legacy from her inspiring life and remarkable career.
Actress, model, artist, and four-time Emmy Award and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee – Farrah Fawcett was one of the most influential stars of all time. Unfortunately, the former Charlie’s Angel’s life was cut short, and she left us at the young age of 62 in June 2009 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Although she may no longer be with us, her legacy lives on through her countless of memorable on-screen roles she did throughout her three-decade long career in television and film.
Fawcett was born on February 2, 1947 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The young Texan grew up with her parents and older sister Diane. Fawcett attended Catholic schools as a child, and eventually attended W.B. Ray High School in her home town.
She was always admired for her natural beauty, perfect blonde hair, and stunning smile and was even elected “most beautiful” by her classmates throughout all four years of high school. Fawcett always had a passion for performing, and was a member of her high school’s cheerleading squad.
Following high school, Fawcett attended the University of Texas, enrolling as a microbiology student. However, she later chose to change her major to art so she could focus on what she loved best – sculpting.
Not only was she a talented and dedicated student, she also enjoyed participating on campus, and was a sister in the Delta Delta sorority. Just like in high school, she continued to gain attention for her striking looks, and was even named one of the ten most beautiful girls on campus her first year in college.
Trying her luck
After gaining recognition as one of the most beautiful girls on campus, photos of Fawcett were passed along to several Hollywood agents. One of the first to contact her was David Mirisch, who urged Farrah to come to Los Angeles to start her career.
She turned him down, but the persistent agent continued to call her. Finally in the summer of 1968, Fawcett decided it was time to move to Hollywood. After getting her parents’ blessing, she dropped out of college and headed to LA in order to “try her luck”.
Early TV roles
When a starry-eyed 21-year-old Fawcett arrived in Hollywood, she signed a contract with Screen Gems. She immediately started to get cast in commercials. In 1969, she landed her first part on a television series, in an episode of sitcom Mayberry R.F.D.
She continued to book small, guest roles in a variety of television shows of the late ’60s and early ’70s including I Dream of Jeannie, and The Partridge Family. In 1975, she landed a recurring part in the David Janssen starring Harry O as the girlfriend of the titular character.
The young star didn’t just find work in the early ’70s, she also found love. In 1973, Fawcett married fellow actor Lee Majors. At the time, Majors was the lead of the popular ABC science-fiction series The Six Million Dollar Man, which Fawcett also guest-starred on several times.
Unfortunately, the couple called things off in 1979, and finalized the divorce in 1982. The marriage was reportedly ended due to their hectic, separate filming schedules that put a strain on their relationship.
The historical photoshoot
In 1976, Pros Art Inc. pitched an idea of having Fawcett pose for a poster to her agent. The young star showed up to the photo shoot, and did her own makeup and hair – lightening her naturally blonde highlights with lemon juice.
Photographer Bruce McBroom took 40 rolls of pictures, and she chose her six favorite shots. The final image selected was one of Fawcett smiling in a one-piece red swimsuit that came from her very own closet.
Becoming a star
The poster went on to sell a record-breaking 20 million copies, and became the best-selling poster of all time. Not before long, Fawcett’s platinum blonde locks, bright white smile, and iconic red bathing suit were plastered on millions of bedroom walls. And just like that, she was a star.
After her newfound popularity, the actress started landing larger roles, such as the supporting character in the 1976 science-fiction film, Logan’s Run. However, her most famous role was yet to come.
When Fawcett was still married to Majors, the couple used to frequently play tennis with some high-profile celebrities of Hollywood. One of them just happened to be producer Aaron Spelling, who ended up casting Fawcett in the hit ABC crime drama series, Charlie’s Angels in 1976.
The actress starred as private investigator Jill Munroe alongside co-stars and fellow “Angels” Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. The success of the series propelled Fawcett to stardom, earning her the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program.
Fawcett had quickly become a phenomenon, and not to mention a style icon. However, it wasn’t just the Charlie’s Angels star’s clothing that her fans admired. The star’s hairstyle, in particular, gained a lot of attention. All of a sudden, women all over the world were running to their salons asking for the “Farrah-flip” or “Farrah-do.”
Her iconic flipped-out, volumed hairdo had become an international trend, that continued to dominate women’s hairstyles well into the ’80s.
After completing one season on Charlie’s Angels, Fawcett decided to leave the series. Her departure came following a string of disputes over her contact with ABC. Cheryl Ladd eventually took her place, succeeding Fawcett as her character’s younger sister Kris Munroe.
Since she had left her contract four years early, the actress was forced to sign a new contract with the network stating that she would come back to the series for six guest appearances over the next two years from 1978 to 1980.
In 1978, Fawcett starred in her first film post-Charlie’s Angels, the comedy-mystery, Somebody Killed Her Husband. Unfortunately, the movie and the actress received negative reviews. It became so disliked that some critics referred to the film as Somebody Killed Her Career.
Two years later, she starred in the science-fiction film Saturn 3 alongside Kirk Douglas – which also failed to impress at the box office. Despite her two flops, she continued to get cast in many movies including comedy The Cannonball alongside Burt Reynolds, and Murder in Texas with Katharine Ross.
Following Fawcett’s divorce from Majors, she began dating actor Ryan O’Neal. Although they never got married, they were romantically involved until 1997. In 1985, they welcomed their son Redmond Fawcett-O’Neal. Unfortunately, the Hollywood It couple’s life together was no fairytale.
Although O’Neal had earned an Oscar nomination with his role in Love Story, his career started to decline in the ’80s and he began turning to illegal substances, gaining a volatile temper which ultimately destroyed their relationship.
The mid to late ’80s brought a new focus on dramatic roles for Fawcett. In 1983, she took her acting skills on stage, performing in the Off-Broadway production of Extremities. She received critical acclaim for portraying a victim of assault who gets revenge on her attacker.
The following year, she earned her first of four Emmy nominations with her impressive performance as battered wife Francine Hughes in TV movie, The Burning Bed. The actress revived her Extremities role in the 1986 movie adaptation, earning a Golden Globe nomination.
The ’90s brought on even more success for the star, who was finally proving herself as a serious actress in films such as Poor Little Rich Girl and Double Exposure, both earning her Golden Globe nominations.
But unfortunately, Fawcett’s positive reviews were outweighed by the negative press she gained after a rambling guest appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Although she later claimed she was just “having fun,” many believed she was under the influence of illegal substances.
While Farrah was still landing roles in the 2000s, most were in smaller, made-for-TV movies and minor parts in series. Then, in 2006 – the star was diagnosed with cancer, beginning chemotherapy and surgery immediately.
She was announced cancer-free the following year, but the illness came back, and Fawcett was given a 5-year survival rate. At the time, she had reunited with ex O’Neal, who later reported that Fawcett agreed to marry him as soon as she felt strong enough. Sadly, the disease took her life on June 25, 2009.
While the cancer Farrah had suffered from started in her gastrointestinal tract, it later moved to her liver. After fighting for three long years, eventually there wasn’t much the doctors could do for her.
Despite knowing she would eventually loose the battle, Fawcett was determined to stay positive and use her story to help make a difference. She even said that she was almost happy she got sick, so that people could learn from her struggle.
The world wept after the news of the icon’s passing. However, she had left behind a two-hour long documentary, which she helped film and produced, following her life titled Farrah’s Story. It premiered on May 15, 2009 – just one month before her death.
Over nine million people tuned in to NBC to watch the documentary, and on July 16, 2009, Fawcett posthumously earned her fourth, and final, Emmy nomination as the producer of Farrah’s Story. Although she is no longer with us today, her dazzling smile and outstanding talent will never be forgotten.
Controversy over Farrah’s Story
After the release of the documentary about Farrah’s illness, controversy arose over the final product. One of Fawcett’s producing partners she had previously worked with while filming the reality series Chasing Farrah, claimed that the documentary is not what she would have wanted.
She had initially wanted the film to urge looking into alternative treatments for rare cancers like the one she suffered from. He alleged that Stewart and O’Neal took a different route that went against her wishes.
Her final days
Farrah had been through surgeries and chemotherapy, but it just wasn’t cutting it. She had also allegedly been hospitalized for complications with the surgeries, and an infection at the port she had secured to give her intravenous medications.
That being said, through everything, people were amazed by the fact that her spirits were always high. Even on the most difficult days, Farrah had a smile on her face, demanded that the cameras keep rolling, and kept her sense of humor until the end.
Always by her side
As Farrah’s condition worsened, and news of her terminal illness spread, there were two constants in her life: Ryan O’Neal and her longtime friend Alana Stewart. They stayed by her side until the very end and tried to keep her as comfortable as possible.
There were times, however, when she didn’t even recognize her lover, O’Neal. She referred to him as Steve, who nurses allegedly explained was the man who gave her medication. Even when she was barely conscious, the two stayed with her.
Farrah Fawcett Foundation
While she was still sick, the actress started the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which is probably one of the only good things to come from her illness.
The organization strives to spread awareness of different types of cancer, shares the knowledge preventative measures, helps those struggling with expenses due to illness, provides funding for cancer research, and shares Farrah’s story. The President and C.E.O of the foundation is none other than Alana Stewart, who saw first hand what her good friend went through.
Unfortunately, not everyone has been keeping things as positive as possible since Farrah’s passing. Her son, who we mentioned earlier, has kept a life of crime for many years now. He has allegedly been involved with illegal substances and robberies.
Apparently, Redmond O’Neal went on a crime spree in the summer of 2018 and wound up in jail. Farrah’s son was deemed competent to stand trial and faced serious charges and a prison sentence.
Other members of Farrah’s family have been causing chaos over some of her belongings. Apparently, there has been a bit of a storage war over parts of the late actress’ estate. A lawsuit even came up over this dilemma.
It seems her nephew, who serves on the board of her foundation, claimed that there were things left to him and he sued her estate’s trustee in order to take what he believes is rightfully his. Her will stated that he should be the beneficiary of all her personal items.
All about family
While we already mentioned that Alana Stewart and Ryan O’Neal practically never left Farrah’s side once she got sick, Fawcett was also all about her family and friends. She apparently loved being a part of a family, and remained as close as she possibly could with her family and friends.
This was something that she maintained her whole life. Sometimes celebrities forget about their loved ones once they become famous, but this was not the case for Fawcett. She maintained relationships with those close to her.
The world was in shock when they learned about Farrah Fawcett’s passing, but unfortunately she was far from the main focus of attention the day she died. There was another huge celebrity who happened to pass away on the same day and you probably already know who we’re talking about.
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, lost his life on June 25, 2009 after a long battle with substance abuse. This death completely overshadowed Fawcett’s to the point where people really didn’t know about hers until the next day.
The Golden Girl
Farrah Fawcett may no longer be with us, but she is far from forgotten. The talented actress and stunning model will be remembered for so many reasons. Fawcett created a legacy that will live on for many many years after her passing.
No one will ever forget her brilliant smile, her beautiful blonde locks, her infectious laugh, her hilarious sense of humor, her friendly spirit and personality, and her impressive acting skills. She is The Golden Girl, after all.
What’s in a name?
Thanks to Farrah’s stint in the limelight and her influence on the rest of the world, her name has since become extremely popular. Parents have named their children after the starlet, and we have a feeling that Farrah would have been over the moon to have inspired so many people.
However, Farrah was not a popular name when she was a child. When deciding on the name of her child, Farrah’s mother wanted something beginning with “F” that sounded nice in front of “Fawcett.” In the end, she made up the name “Farrah.”
Her personal choices
One of the many reasons why so many people across the globe fell in love with Farrah Fawcett was because she did things on her terms. She decided to join the world of Hollywood when she decided to, and she didn’t give in to what people expected of her.
In fact, she outright refused to sign any photos of her from the Saturn 3 film in 1980. Because there was a scene where she wore very little in terms of clothing, it seemed as though people couldn’t get enough of these photos.
Inspiring a song
Over the course of her career, Farrah proved to be a huge inspiration in many forms. Many people adopted her name, others tried to make a name for themselves in the acting world, and one person even wrote a song inspired by her.
Yes, Gladys Knight & The Pips’ song “Midnight Train to Georgia” was written after a conversation Jim Weatherly had with Farrah. As a friend of Lee Majors, Weatherly called the Majors-Fawcett household and was told by the actress that she would be catching “the midnight train to Houston” to see her mother.
Making the rules
It’s no secret that Farrah Fawcett didn’t get on with television executives while filming Charlie’s Angels, and it seems as though one of the main reasons for this was because Farrah made the rules.
She outright refused to work later than 7pm on the set of this show, and it’s believed that this caused a huge amount of tension. However, Farrah stood her ground and noted that she needed to be home by 7pm because she wanted to cook for her husband, two things she loved very much.
Keeping her cool
Despite the fact that she left on bad terms with the Charlie’s Angels producers, that didn’t stop Farrah from doing her own thing and speaking her own mind.
While she didn’t have the best things to say about the producers in the press, Farrah put her foot down when reporters tried to bully her into badmouthing her fellow angels. As someone who got on extremely well with the other two actresses, it was something that she didn’t even consider. She had nothing but nice things to say about them.
Keeping stalkers at bay
As she was one of the most famous women in Hollywood during the 1980s, Farrah Fawcett found herself hounded by fans on a regular basis. They asked her for autographs, they waited for her to leave restaurants, and they followed her wherever she went.
Farrah even found herself dealing with a stalker, and this stalker made a rather public appearance at a 1983 performance of her Broadway play, Extremities. He interrupted the show and asked her whether she had received his letters, but he was quickly escorted out.
A vicious relationship
In the late 1980s, just after Farrah had left Ryan O’Neal, she made her way into a brand new relationship. Fans were excited to see that the actress was dating the famous filmmaker James Orr, but it seems as though their relationship soon turned sour.
While fans didn’t specifically see the vicious side to their love affair, they soon realized that something was amiss when Orr was arrested and charged with assaulting the actress. There were reports that this hadn’t been the first time he had done so.
Three’s a crowd
Although Farrah later reunited with Ryan O’Neal and stayed with him until her passing, that wasn’t to say that he was the only man in her life. In fact, it’s believed that Fawcett and football star Greg Lott were extremely close.
They dated in the early stages of her career, but they rekindled a strong friendship in the early ‘00s. While some reports state that three was a crowd, there’s no reason to suggest that their relationship was anything more than a friendship.
Keeping them apart
However, despite this lack of evidence, Greg Lott has always suggested that there was more to their relationship, and he has claimed that he was head over heels with the actress – especially at the end of her life.
He has remarked that Ryan O’Neal kept the former football player away from the actress while she was in the hospital, and he wasn’t happy about it. In fact, he noted that, “He kept me from seeing the love of my life” before she lost her life.
Giving him money
To make matters even more confusing, the whereabouts of Farrah’s fortune and estate also seem to suggest that Lott was a huge part of her life. After her passing, much of Fawcett’s estate was given to her son. Large sums of money were also given to her father and nephew – and someone else.
That someone else was George Lott, who received around $100,000 from the late actress. Strangely, Ryan O’Neal was not left anything from her estate or fortune, and was absent from her last will and testament.
Appearing on a dating show
Before she became one of the most famous actresses in the business, Farrah Fawcett was actually a contestant on a dating show. This gave her the chance to show off her beauty and the fact that she was looking for love, and it seemed to go pretty well for her.
The concept of this show was pretty simple, and she had the chance to talk to various single men – but she couldn’t see them! Although her stint on the show was iconic, she didn’t end up dating any of them.
Neighbors until the end
After being cast in Charlie’s Angels by Aaron Spelling, it should come as no surprise to learn that Farrah Fawcett was close to his daughter, Tori Spelling. The two actresses went on to become neighbors, and they were extremely good friends up until her passing.
Tori was devastated by the news when it happened, and she later stated that she used a psychic to help her talk to Farrah when she was feeling lonely or was missing her more than usual.