Farrah Fawcett died today, at age 62, a victim of cancer. "...and with her died the last of my adolescence," Republibot 2.0 said earlier today upon hearing about it.
Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, she did a smattering of modeling in college, and then went to LA to try her luck there, just like a zillion other hot blue-eyed blondes. She immediately got roles in commercials - most noteably toothpaste commercials, she always had a great smile - and started getting bit parts in various sitcoms and TV shows, including blink-and-you'll-miss-'em roles in I Dream of Jeanie and Mayberry, RFD (Both in 1969). There was always a dash of the exotic in her overwhelmingly caucasian dream-girl looks, that little indefinable oomph that separated her from the pack. If I had to guess what it was, I'd imagine it was that she was one quarter Choctaw indian.
She met and married Lee Majors in 1973, and then made several guest appearances on "The Six Million Dollar Man." Three years later she made her somewhat infamous big screen debut in a small role in "Logan's Run," In which audiences actually laughed at her atrocious acting, and later that same year she also starred in the first season of "Charlie's Angels." She left the cast after one year, but returned several times as a guest star thereafter.
In 1980 she costared alongside Harvey Keitel and genre vet Kirk Douglas in "Saturn 3" - a high glitz, low-substance knockoff of 1979's "Alien." A not-entirely-subtle re-telling of the Garden of Eden story (Fawcett played "Eve," douglas played "Adam," so guess what Keitel's role was? Even then, he was somewhat typecast). The movie is mostly remembered for it's fairly amazing production design, Farrah's breif nude scene, and a now-infamous drug trip/sex scene that was cut from the film prior to release.
In 1982, with both their careers wanin, Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcet-Majors divorced, and she dropped the hyphent and her husband's surname. She hooked up with Ryan O'Neil around that same time, and the two of them had an on-again/off-again relationship that lasted until her passing. Word is he was with her at the end.
Never the most consistent actress in the early days, she spent most of the 80s actually learning the craft and working on a comeback, and was frankly stunning in an unexpected dramatic turn in "Extremities" in 1986. I saw it in the theaters at the time, and I can tell you, everyone was mezmerized by her. The big roles continued to elude her. She spent most of the decade languishing in TV movie roles, though admittedly virtually all of them were really good TV movie roles. She never again returned to the genre, however. In the 90s, she landed a sitcom role with her then-husband, O'Neil, but as the decade progressed and their relationship alternately soured and improved, her career went in to clear decline, and she had fairly serious problems with drugs and alcohol. She attempted to jump-start her career by doing a nude spread in 1995 in Playboy, which, alas, didn't have quite the impact at age 48 that it might have had 25 years sooner, and she became a bit of an industry joke. That wasn't really fair, but it's a tough business, hard to get in to, hard to survive at, but very easy to get blacklisted out of.
It was during this period that she turned to art, and she seemed to find some peace, confidence, and freedom of expression in that that she somehow lacked during the main sequence years of her career.
On a personal note, I'll miss her. I was just a bit too young to really get all the sex symbol fascination with her that everyone had at her prime. By the time I realized how drop-dead gorgeous she was, and how unexpectedly talented, she was already something of a has-been. But she always brought a presence and a a raw energy to everything she did. Talent-wise, she was a bit of an outsider artist, both on screen and in her own paintings, but in the right hands that can bring a freedom and an approach that a more mannered, acculturated style can't touch. When it worked for her, she was amazing, and when it didn't work, there was still a fresh-faced kind of intensity to her, an engaging and boundless energy that most others couldn't touch. Particularly in her early days, when she still had a dash of that cute southern accent.
I always liked her, and not just because she slummed in the SF Ghetto when she was young. I wish she could have had an easier time in life - less drama offscreen, and more roles on it. I'm glad to know she found a measure of peace in the end, I'm glad her family was with her when she passed.
Our prayers go out to her and her family. May God watch over her soul and eas the suffering of her loved ones.