After years spent in a public battle against cancer, the beloved television icon, sex goddess and social advocate Farrah Fawcett died Thursday at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica at the age of 62.
Ms. Fawcett’s death marked yet another sobering truth in a week full of sadness and tragedies. And while the world mourns another icon, one cannot help but celebrate the joy and vibrancy she delivered onscreen.
Fawcett lived the life few could ever expect, even by Hollywood standards. The Texas native began her career after photos in Cashbox magazine labeled her one of the most beautiful co-eds. An agent noticed her potential and convinced the young University of Texas Austin student to try her hand at Hollywood. This led to a series of small stints in, dental and hair product commercials.
Then came the breakthrough, and its name was Charlie. Famed producer Aaron Spelling had embarked on a new project called “Charlie’s Angels” a series about a trio of glamorous detectives bent on righting society’s wrongs each week. The instant Fawcett portrayed Jill Munroe, the athletic angel, her notoriety shifted, almost overnight, to utter stardom.
With the fame came a frenzy of fans and press. Scores of women (and some men) emulated her beauty by sporting the feathered hair look. Meanwhile, a pin up of the vixen, with her radiant smile, come hither stare, and gorgeous layers of blond hair riled up many a boy and man alike to sleepless nights. Among those legions included a then unknown Brad Pitt, who has often said that he had her poster on his wall as a teenager. The world either wanted to be with her or look like her.
After her time spent as an “angel,” Fawcett’s popularity fell as the role that made her famous also worked to typecast her into a corner for many years. Fawcett would receive acclaims over the years, including a Golden Globe nomination for “Extremities,” in 1987. She was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her role opposite Robert Duvall in the 1997 film “The Apostle.”
The greatest gift Fawcett left the to world was in her final stages of cancer. Her struggle against the disease became a televised phenomenon as she welcomed viewers into the very real and scary facts about treatment and living with cancer.
When it comes to the making of entertainment icons, the one commonality shared across the board is the ability for that person to make an impact outside of their medium; an impact that becomes an inspiration to the world. Ms. Fawcett not only redefined the image of beauty, she also informed the world of the daily plights of cancer patients.
Ms. Fawcett is survived by her son, Redmond, and partner of more than 30 years Ryan O’Neil.