Farrah Fawcett is best remembered as one of Charlie's Angels. But when she was diagnosed with cancer, she showed us what she was truly made of.
By: Legacy Staff
6 years ago
Farrah Fawcett (1947 - 2009) had a rich, 40-year acting career, with dozens of TV and movie roles and ten award nominations. But she's remembered best for a single season on an iconic show — and for one best-selling poster.
Fawcett began her acting career in the late 1960s and had several small but prominent roles in the early '70s. But it was in 1976 that Fawcett’s career took off, with a show that seems to encapsulate late 1970s style: Aaron Spelling's wildly popular crime-fighting drama "Charlie's Angels." Fawcett starred in the movie special that kicked off the show and stayed with the series for its first season as the show rocketed to number one — and its blonde bombshell rocketed to superstardom.
But then, she quit. Fawcett left after season one, and Cheryl Ladd was brought on to replace her as the popular show carried on for four more seasons. Though her time as an "Angel" was brief, Fawcett made a huge impact, and when we remember the show today, it is always with Fawcett front and center.
Reports on why Fawcett left the show varied — some thought the tight production schedule was straining her marriage to Lee Majors; others cited her desire to broaden her career with movies and more serious roles. Whatever her reasons, serious roles did follow — including a star turn in "The Burning Bed." The groundbreaking TV movie is based on the story of Francine Hughes, who endured a decade of severe physical and psychological abuse from her husband before killing him. Her case was one of the first to successfully use "battered-woman syndrome" as a defense, and Hughes was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.
Fawcett's harrowing performance earned her Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and the movie helped raise awareness about domestic violence. "The Burning Bed" was also the first TV movie to conclude with a toll-free helpline number for viewers to call if they needed help or for more information, now a common practice with TV movies and "issue of the week" episodes.
Fawcett continued to act on big screen and small, until her 2006 cancer diagnosis derailed her career. She died of cancer June 25, 2009 — but not before taking the story of her illness public. The documentary "Farrah's Story" is an unflinching look at her fight against cancer, showing her determination through triumphs and setbacks. For those of us who loved Fawcett for her acting talent, sunny smile, and golden hair, the story of her struggle gave us one more thing to love — her strength.