Though her life was short (as I'm sure you know, she tragically lost her long publicized battle with cancer in 2009 at the age of 62), Farrah Fawcett made those years count. Best known for her role as Jill Munroe in the Aaron Spelling crime-fighting series Charlie's Angels, Farrah has a vastly overlooked (and under-appreciated) catalogue of dramatic film and stage work.
She first flexed her dramatic chops in the mid-1970s when she took on the role of a would-be rape victim in the Off-Broadway play Extremities (a role she would play again in the film version of the story in 1986). The following year, Farrah garnered an Emmy nomination for her role as a battered wife in the film The Burning Bed. In the following decade, Farrah played a string of legendary women, including anti-Nazi activist Beate Klarsfeld, troubled heiress Barbara Hutton, photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, and convicted murderer Diane Downs.
But Farrah was always a class act. Even after leaving the Angels after only one season, she never spoke ill of the show that launched her to superstardom. Instead, she teased with her trademark wit that "when the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra."
Farrah was, in a sense, the Jennifer Aniston before Jennifer Aniston. No, no I don't mean that Farrah and Ryan O'Neal were the Brad and Jen of their day (though neither Ryan nor Brad are at all hard on the eyes...) Farrah's signature flipped and feathered hairstyle was such a national phenomenon that it makes the popularity of Jen's 'Rachel do' look like a quick flash-in-the-pan trend.
Farrah Fawcett is, in short: an icon, a legend, and the fantasy of many a teenage boy over the last couple of decades (and her 'do was the fantasy of all of those guys' girlfriends). Farrah entered my life when I was a preteen - we became first acquainted when I saw that infamous poster of her in the red swimsuit hanging on the wall of my older brother's bedroom. Unlike all of the posters in his room (most of which made me a bit uncomfortable), I loved the photo of Farrah. Her smile was warm and genuine, and there was something so wonderful about that spark in her eyes that asked, 'Who, me??'
Though cliched, I think that image is what will always come to mind when I think of Farrah. It perfectly captures a moment in time of a woman so fantastically stunning but also so unaware of her own beauty.
Title: from "Beautiful Delilah" (Chuck Berry)