Although Farrah had done her share of guest spots while she paid her dues in Hollywood, the blonde bombshell with the degree in microbiology didn’t become a star until 1976 when she was cast as Jill Munro in Charlie’s Angels. Immediately, she became a huge celebrity and Farrah dolls, jigsaw puzzles and posters showed up for sale everywhere. The poster in which she wore a red one-piece swimsuit sold over eight million copies.
But she was more than a sex symbol. After leaving Charlie’s Anels, she garnered accolades for her dramatic roles, and Emmy nominations her roles in The Burning Bed, The Guardian and Small Sacrifices.
Her marriage to Lee Majors (her name was even mentioned in the theme song for The Fall Guy, the series Majors starred in) and her long-time relationship with Ryan O’Neal, with whom she had a son, were fodder for the tabloids, but they failed to mention her involvement with charitable causes, including being on the board of the National Advisory Council for The National Domestic Violence Hot-line.
However, it was her long battle with cancer and her ultimate defeat in 2009 that really caught the attention of the American public. Her documentary, Farrah’s story, got NBC’s highest ratings of the year excluding the Olympics.
I was never a Farrah fan, but I have to give her credit. Known for her beauty – and her hair – she was obviously so much more than a pretty face. She was an award-winning actress, a shrewd businesswoman and a humanitarian. Charlie would be proud.