A model, actress, and artist, Farrah Fawcett began her acting career in the 1960s before rising to international stardom as Jill Munroe in Charlie’s Angels. Although at first, many didn’t see her as much more than a pinup girl, over the course of her life, she proved that she had talent and range, acting in television, films, and Broadway performances. Read on to see how Fawcett started out as an ordinary girl from Texas and became one of the most talked-about and beloved celebrities of her time.
A Poster Made Her More Money Than Charlie’s Angels
After Farrah Fawcett moved to Los Angeles, she began appearing in a series of commercials and small television roles. Then, in 1976, Pro Arts Inc. pitched the idea for a poster to her agent. After doing her own makeup, hair, and a short photoshoot, Fawcett selected her favorite picture from 40 images.
The result was Fawcett in a red one-piece bathing suit, which went on to become the best-selling poster of all time, with 12 million copies purchased in a blink. This was months before Charlie’s Angels came out, and made her more money than the television show.
She Was Part Of An April Fool’s Joke On Television
In 1969, before she was blonde, Farrah Fawcett appeared as a bachelorette on the television game show The Dating Game. After making a selection on the lucky bachelor, all three contestants immediately erupted into a fistfight.
Yet, as it turns out, everything was staged. The show was taped for an April Fool’s Day airing and then bachelors were actually Hollywood stuntmen. Nevertheless, nobody would have surprised at the time if it turned out to be real.
She Had Small Roles In Major Television Shows
In 1969, when Fawcett was the young age of 22, she scored a series of small roles in some major television shows at the time.
That year, she played the role of a playboy’s girlfriend in an episode of The Flying Nun and a secretary that Major Healey makes a move on in I Dream of Jeanie. The following year, she appeared on The Partridge Family as a passerby that helps Danny and Mr. Kincaid trap a fake whiplash victim.
She Was Usually At The Top Of The List
Growing up, Fawcett was always complimented on her good looks, being voted “Most Beautiful” her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school. Furthermore, she was the first freshman in her college to be chosen as one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Coeds on Campus.”
After Charlie’s Angels went from a TV movie to a television series, the public was polled about who their favorite “Angels” were. Fawcett came in at the top of the list. Regardless of the poll, the show launched the careers of all three actresses.
Tennis Helped Her Score The Role In Charlie’s Angels
Farrah Fawcett scored arguably the biggest role of her career in Charlie’s Angels as a result of two things, which were her husband and her love for tennis. At the time, she and her then-husband, Lee Majors, frequently played tennis with the famous television producer Aaron Spelling.
When it came time to cast the role of Jill Munroe in Charlie’s Angels, he immediately thought of Fawcett, who had caught his eye more than once on the tennis court. She didn’t even have to audition!
She Got Into Broadway After A Few Failed Movie Attempts
After her time on Charlie’s Angels came to an end, Fawcett had some trouble finding her feet. She was in the three films Somebody Killed Her Husband, Sunburn, and Saturn 3, all of which were massive flops.
In 1983, she ended up replacing Susan Sarandon in the Broadway stage production of Extremities, in which three female roommates turn the tables on an attacker. Fawcett described her time on Broadway as being “the most grueling, the most intense, the most physically demanding and emotionally” exhausting part of her career.
She’s Been Nominated For Her Acting Performances
In 1984, Fawcett received her first Emmy nomination for her role as a battered wife in the television film The Burning Bed. The show also turned out to be progressive, as it was the first television movie to provide a phone number for those suffering from domestic abuse.
Furthermore, she was nominated for her performance in the movie adaptation of Extremities in 1986, with some rumors circulating around that she was even going to be nominated for an Oscar.
She Passed Away The Same Day As Michael Jackson
Regardless that Farrah Fawcett had been a star in her own right starting at a young age, her death at the age of 62 on June 25, 2009, was vastly overshadowed by that of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson died five hours after Fawcett, and it was clear which one the news agencies cared about more. Today, the majority of people remember that as the day that Michael Jackson died and not Farrah Fawcett.
She Quit Charlie’s Angels After Just One Season
Despite it being one of her most popular roles and that she was hired on for a five-year deal, Fawcett quit Charlie’s Angels just after one year. Although she claimed she was interested in acting in movies, many people that it was putting a strain on her marriage.
Even though the producers offered her a more flexible schedule and more money, she still declined the offer, which resulted in a $7 million lawsuit. In the end, she agreed to do six guest appearances in the following two seasons, and Cherry Ladd replaced her character in season 2.
She Inspired A Song
Farrah Fawcett was the inspiration behind the Gladys Knight & The Pips’ hit song “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Jim Weatherly, the writer of the song, was a friend of her then-husband, Lee Majors.
One night, when Weatherly called their house, Fawcett answered the phone and told Weatherly that she was going to visit her mom on “the midnight plane to Houston.” Weatherly figured that was a catchy enough title to a song and added his own twist to it.
She Left Her Husband For Ryan O’Neal
While Fawcett and her then-husband, Lee Majors, were still together, Majors supposedly invited Ryan O’Neal over to his house to play racquetball. It was there that he asked O’Neal, a known ladies man, to watch over and take his young wife out to keep her company while he was away shooting a film in Canada.
This turned out to maybe not be the best idea, because Fawcett ended up leaving Majors for O’Neal and the two remained together for the rest of her life, with a few separations in between.
Her Reputation Was Hurt After An Appearance On David Letterman
In 1997, the same year that she co-starred with Robert Duvall in The Apostle, Fawcett was invited onto The Late Show With David Letterman. Unfortunately, the interview didn’t go as Fawcett might have hoped, with audiences claiming that she seemed distracted and even intoxicated.
This led people to believe that she had developed an addiction problem, which she denied, but the rumor followed her for the rest of her life. Luckily, years later, Joaquin Phoenix had a bomb of an interview that made everyone forget about Fawcett’s.
There Was An Issue With The Academy Awards
In March 2010, the Academy upset Fawcett’s family and friends when she was excluded from the “In Memoriam” montage at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony. AMPAS director Bruce Davis claimed that she was mainly known for her TV work and that she had already been recognized for her “remarkable television work” at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards.
What really added to the controversy was that Michael Jackson was included in the montage, although he hardly did any real acting throughout his life.
Charlie’s Angels Almost Didn’t Happen
When producer Aaron Spelling and his partner Leonard Goldberg pitched the idea for Charlie’s Angels to ABC, things didn’t necessarily go well. The network executives Barry Diller and Michael Eisner turned them down, saying that the idea for a series centering around three female characters was “the worst idea they had ever heard.”
Luckily for Spelling, he was able to convince them otherwise and Charlie’s Angels went on to be a hit and was the beginning of Fawcett’s rise to fame.
She Enjoyed School
Although many of Fawcett’s classmates may have remembered her for her good looks, she was also quite the student. While attending the University of Texas, she had a passion for science, particularly microbiology.
Later in her academic career, she eventually moved away from science and towards the arts, taking an interest in sculpting. During that time, she was pursued by Hollywood agent David Mirisch for a whole two years, who insisted that she moved to Los Angeles. However, she continued to deny him to continue her education until she eventually decided to “try her luck.”
There’s A Hairstyle Named After Her
During her rise to fame, Farrah Fawcett’s multi-layer haircut became all the rage and even had its own name, the “Farrah Flip” or “Farrah-do.” Although few people could pull it off as well as the icon it was named after, it was a massive trend, particularly in the 1970s.
Impressively, Fawcett regularly did her own hair, even acting as her own stylist during photo shoots. Even today, some people still request the “Farrah Flip” at salons.
She Made A Documentary About Herself
On May 15, 2009, the two-hour documentary Farrah’s Story, which was filmed by Fawcett and friend Alana Stewart, aired on NBC. During its premiere airing, the documentary was watched by almost nine million people and was re-aired on several other stations.
Later that year, Fawcett was posthumously nominated for her fourth Emmy as a producer for the documentary. However, there was controversy about the documentary, as Fawcett’s original producing partner claimed that Stewart O’Neal didn’t edit the documentary to Fawcett’s initial wishes.
Andy Warhol Made Portraits Of Her
In 1980, O’Neal arranged a meeting between Fawcett and acclaimed artist Andy Warhol, who created two portraits of her which she eventually loaned to the Andy Warhol Museum. In her trust, she left the portraits to her alma mater, the University of Texas.
In 2011, the university learned that O’Neal had taken one of the portraits, claiming that Fawcett gave it to him before she died. The university then filed suit, and in December 2013, a Los Angeles court ruled that the portrait belonged to O’Neal.
She Was Cancer-Free For A Short While
Unfortunately, in 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer. She then underwent chemotherapy treatment for four months as well as surgery. By her 60th birthday, in 2007, it was reported that she was cancer-free.
Nevertheless, this wouldn’t last forever. Just three months later, after reporting that she had beaten cancer, it came back with a vengeance at the stage IV level. The disease then spread to her liver, a condition which has a five-year survival rate of less than 5%.
She Was In A Scandalous Superbowl Commercial
In 1973, Fawcett and the Jet’s quarterback Joe Namath starred in the scandalous and definitely most talked-about Superbowl commercial of that year. The 30-second commercial was for Noxzema shaving cream and shows the two as Fawcett applies shaving cream to Namath’s face while singing, “Let Noxzema cream your face so the razor won’t.”
Although not many were too surprised by the suggestive commercial, it has gone down as one of the most memorable Superbowl ads of all time.