For so long, she was such an icon of glowing health with her million dollar smile and tousled hair that every girl wanted and so did every guy, that it was shocking to learn that she had cancer. Now she's dead at 52.
Farrah Fawcett, the blonde-maned actress whose best-selling poster and "Charlie's Angels" stardom made her one of the most famous faces in the world, died Thursday. She was 62....Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's romantic partner since the mid-1980s, and her friend Alana Stewart were with Fawcett at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, when she died.
New York Times obituary
To an extraordinary degree, Ms. Fawcett’s cancer battle was played out in public, generating enormous interest worldwide. Her face, often showing the ravages of cancer, became a tabloid fixture, and updates on her health became staples of television entertainment news.
In May, that battle was chronicled in a prime-time NBC documentary, “Farrah’s Story,” some of it shot with her own home video recorder. An estimated nine million people viewed it. Ms. Fawcett had initiated the project with a friend, the actress Alana Stewart, after she first learned of her cancer.
Ms. Fawcett’s career was a patchwork of positives and negatives, fine dramatic performances on television and stage as well as missed opportunities.
She first became famous when a poster of her in a red bathing suit, leonine mane flying, sold more than twice as many copies as posters of Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable combined. No poster like it has achieved anywhere near its popularity since, and, arriving before the Internet era, in which the most widely disseminated images are now digital, it may have been the last of its kind.
The poster that ignited Ms. Fawcett’s career was shot at the Bel Air home she shared with Mr. Majors. “She was just this sweet, innocent, beautiful young girl,” said Bruce McBroom, who took the photograph. Searching for a backdrop to Ms. Fawcett in her one-piece red swimsuit (which she chose instead of a bikini because of a childhood scar on her stomach), he grabbed an old Navajo blanket from the front seat of his 1937 pickup.
Ms. Fawcett herself described her career succinctly. “I became famous,” she said in her 1986 Times interview, “almost before I had a craft.”
The Guardian has the best obituary by far.
Fawcett herself recognised this when she commented about Charlie's Angels, the crime-busting TV series that made her a star: "When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra."
Consequently, Fawcett was mostly given roles where her trend-setting hairstyle was the most dramatic part of the film. However, when she was later offered meatier parts, she proved herself up to the task, and was nominated for three Emmy awards and five Golden Globes, though the juries always held back from giving her the actual prize.
In the 1980s Farrah Fawcett bravely tried to reassert herself as a serious actress — no easy task with her teeth still gleaming on several million bedsit walls — and took hard-edged parts in made-for-television films.