Farrah Fawcett, Angel

Though Farrah Fawcett had a rich, 40-year acting career, with dozens of TV and movie roles and ten award nominations, she's remembered best for a single season on an iconic show – and for a best-selling poster.

Farrah 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 '70s style: Aaron Spelling's wildly popular crime-fighting drama Charlie's Angels. Fawcett starred in the movie special that kicked off the show, and she 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. Cheryl Ladd was brought on to replace Fawcett, and the popular show carried on for four more seasons. Though her time as an "angel" was brief, when we remember Charlie's Angels today, Fawcett's presence is a huge, crucial part of it.

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 groundbreaking TV movie, The Burning Bed.

Fawcett's harrowing performance earned her Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and the movie helped bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence. It was also the first TV movie to conclude with a toll-free helpline number for viewers to call if they wanted to learn more or needed to get help, 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 on June 25, 2009 … but not before taking the story of her illness public. The documentary Farrah's Story was 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.

Written by Linnea Crowther