HomeEntertainmentOn This Day: Farrah Fawcett, Legendary Actress and Model, Dies in 2009

On This Day: Farrah Fawcett, Legendary Actress and Model, Dies in 2009

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

Farrah Fawcett, one of the most recognizable actresses in the world thanks to a single poster, died 12 years ago today. She was only 62.

Fawcett rocketed to fame in the 1970s thanks to Charlie’s Angels. Her fame grew so quickly that she nearly overtook the show. A poster featuring her in a red bathing suit as she tussles her famed-feather haircut became a cultural touchstone. It sold more than 6 million copies in its first year alone.

She left after the first season of Charlie’s Angels as one of the most famous women in the world. Though, one of her co-stars thinks leaving the show may not have entirely been her decision.

“I think she had a lot of people in her ear,” Jaclyn Smith told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “She was married to Lee Majors. He wanted her home cooking and being a wife. That didn’t work so it ended pretty quickly.”

The couple divorced after nine years of marriage in 1982.

After leaving Charlie’s Angels, Fawcett didn’t lack for work, however. Farrah Fawcett starred in several famous films and television shows, including The Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. She also won critical acclaim for her role in the TV movie The Burning Bed, which dealt with domestic violence. She earned four Emmy nominations for the role.

Though she did have her struggles. One of her first post-Charlie’s Angels roles was in the movie Somebody Killed her Husband, which some critics called Somebody Killed her Career, People said.

She met and began dating actor Ryan O’Neal in the 1980s. They survived several rounds of tabloid scrutiny, and though they never married, they stayed together the rest of her life. They had one son, Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal in 1985.

Farrah Fawcett Beats Cancer, But it Returns

Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, but within a year she was cancer-free. However, her happiness was short-lived as the cancer returned and metastasized to her liver shortly thereafter.

Hoping to be of inspiration and show what it takes to fight such a horrible disease, she asked her friend Alana Stewart to make a documentary of her treatment. The movie is called Farrah’s Story.

“There is a reason for all this. It is a challenge to my very core, to my strength, my mind, my spirit, and my soul,” she says in the documentary.

It’s a difficult watch, as it is a slow, painful death. But throughout the film, Fawcett demands Stewart film everything, which includes scenes where she throws up in a trash can, gets bad news from a doctor, and forgot her son’s name because the treatment is ravaging her mind.

Though, Fawcett’s toughness and tenacity are on full display. She fights the disease with traditional and experimental treatments. All the while, she refuses to concede that this could well be the end.

“I will not go gentle into that good night,” she tells the director in the film, according to PennLive.

Farah Fawcett died at 2:28 a.m. on June 25, 2009.