The news of Farrah Fawcett’s untimely death was followed so closely by that of Michael Jackson that no one really know how to react. Given Jackson’s career and notoriety, it was expected that the coverage of that sad news would overshadow Farrah’s. There was a time though. Well, perhaps it is not in the best taste to weight things like this, it is just that I cannot help but think of Farrah when she a wholesome, gorgeous gal on the TV, on posters, on the cover of every magazine, and well – ultra famous.
The 70’s had its charm, innocence and high spots, and Farrah Fawcett was one of them. Charlie’s Angels was really just the underpinning for Farrah’s popularity back then, as the poster of the “All American Girl” really was more prominent in the lives of her many fans. This is a little hard to understand, but even though TV back then was a big deal, people really did not watch as much as they do now. The posters, tabloids, magazines and a sort of “word of mouth” of legends actually was something prevalent then, that people do not talk about much. I probably saw Farrah more in the checkout line of the grocery store than on the popular show.
As almost everyone on the planet knows now, Fawcett has been battling cancer for some time. As I alluded to in the opening, it seems as if she always had some battle or other confronting her throughout her life. Cancer of course being the most dire and painful obviously, but I think Farrah, if anything, was a symbol of “Everything is not as rosy as it seems.” We used to think way back when, that Hollywood stars led a charmed life, a happy go lucky existence so many dream of. As we all really know now, this is hardly ever the case, and Farrah as good an instance as any that life on the other side is not easy.
Farrah gained fame as a sex symbol and the star of the TV show Charlie’s Angels in the mid 70’s. Her “girl next door” looks, brilliant smile, and flowing blonde hair became the fad, and endeared the world. The red bathing suit poster, became something of a cult legend of its own, selling something over 12 million in a short time, Farrah seemed to be on every wall in America for a time. As for Charlie’s Angels, that slice of the 70’s only lasted a year for Fawcett. Good times and the limelight continued for a spell for Farrah and her husband Lee Majors (of Six Million Dollar Man fame). But Farrah, like most sex symbols, was not taken seriously as an actress for many years. Her subsequent divorce from Majors, and attachment to Ryan O’Neil of course made the headlines and tabloids. In fact I remember seeing Farrah and either Lee or Ryan on the cover of every one at the checkout counter for what seemed like years.
Fawcett’s dazzling smile and flowing blonde hair, her struggle to be taken seriously as an actress, her love affair with actor Ryan O’Neal and her grueling TV diary documenting her fight against cancer should help ensure she is remembered. Though many document her battles with cancer, and her efforts to be taken seriously, I prefer to think of her at the height of her popularity. As the senior critic for TV Guide, Matt Roush puts it:
“There were many aspects to her personality — her instant success, her widespread fame and the very public fight against cancer that made her a hero all over again — that captured the public imagination.”
“Back in the day”, as many like to put it, well, I guess one had to be there to really capture what all this is about. Suffice it to say Farrah Fawcett and a very few others, colored that time with bright hues of lightness and possibility. The one thing that strikes me as both interesting and honorable is that Ryan O’Neil, even thought the couple had been separated on and off for years, rushed to her side to help her when he learned she was so ill. In the end, the couple had planned to finally marry just before her death. I know he will miss her greatly, as the world will. This epitaph of mine, a pitiful rendition however well intended, will perhaps give the reader a little more sense of Farrah. She will be well remembered I know, charming, beautiful, and full of life – she led an interesting life.