The Untold Truth Of Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett was an American obsession, long before the Kardashians reigned supreme and the world fawned over stars like Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, and Jennifer Lawrence. There's no denying the fact that the '70s pinup girl and actress was a huge celebrity in her time. Remembered for her role as Jill in the 1970s TV series Charlie's Angels, her world-famous swimsuit poster, and, of course, her iconic feathered hair, it's clear that Fawcett was once the ultimate starlet, admired and loved by people everywhere, as noted by the Los Angeles Times after her death at the age of 62 in 2009, following a battle with cancer.

Despite her meteoric rise to fame, there's still a lot about Fawcett that many don't know. We've uncovered some little-known details about the star's colorful and unique life. Curious about Fawcett's life, from her beginning to her career in the spotlight? Here's the untold truth of Farrah Fawcett.

Farrah Fawcett was voted "most beautiful" by her high school class... three times

Farrah Fawcett was, without a doubt, a beautiful woman at the height of her fame. It turns out, however, she was known for beauty since childhood. Fawcett's mother is quoted in Texas Monthly claiming that women would approach her and her young daughter in stores, saying, "She looks like an a-n-g-e-l." Fawcett recalled her childhood neighbors coming to gawk at her. "I always felt so self-conscious," Fawcett told the magazine. "I wanted people not to look at me because so many people kept looking at me."

And her good looks continued to wow her peers, especially in high school. NPR reported that Fawcett was voted "Most Beautiful" by her classmates for three years. When she made it to Texas University, she was again voted "Most Beautiful" in her freshman year — a rare occurrence, according to Texas Monthly. After this honor, she became a mini-celebrity thanks to her beauty, with young men taking weekend trips across Texas just in case they could catch a glimpse of Fawcett. It's not hard to imagine that the young Fawcett would have racked up an impressive Instagram following if social media had been around then!

Farrah Fawcett was pursued by a Hollywood publicist for years

Thanks to Farrah Fawcett's already growing fame in college, she was pursued by an A-list Hollywood agent from a relatively young age. According to Texas Monthly, a picture of the renowned beauty made its way to David Mirisch, who was a Los Angeles publicist known for representing Perry Como, Pat Boone, and Omar Sharif (via The San Diego Union-Tribune). He phoned her at school and tried to convince her to quit the university and move to Hollywood. Fawcett asked Mirisch to phone her father. But Mirisch refused to give up and the calls kept coming.

Fawcett finally accepted Mirisch's offer as she completed her junior year. She had some photos taken in a Texas park by a photographer for Texas Student Publications. Originally, the move was meant to be temporary so that Fawcett could return for her senior year, but this, of course, never happened. 

Farrah Fawcett appeared on the reality show The Dating Game

Before Farrah Fawcett was a household name, she made a memorable appearance on the reality show The Dating Game. The well-known ABC series saw three men answer a woman's questions from behind a screen and the woman would later choose one man with whom to go on a date, as noted by Mental Floss. In the episode, pre-fame Fawcett is introduced as an "accomplished artist and sculptress" who "hopes to open her own gallery." 

When Fawcett picked Bachelor No. 2, the three hopeful men broke out into a full-fledged fist fight. However, it was revealed that the whole thing was planned. Each move of the fight was choreographed, and the entire thing was staged. Nevertheless, it definitely made for some entertaining TV! Plus, it just goes to show how Hollywood producers were already presenting Fawcett as a woman that men would fight over.

Farrah Fawcett was the face of a best-selling poster

Farrah Fawcett's first real brush with fame came when she appeared on a now-iconic poster. In the famous image, a smiling Fawcett is sitting while wearing a red one-piece swimsuit, her long, bouncy blonde hair framing her face. The poster sold millions of copies around the world. Dwight Bowers, a curator for the Smithsonian, spoke to The Washington Times about the poster, claiming that it came to symbolize the 1970s. As Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture, told the Los Angeles Times, "If you were to list 10 images that are evocative of American pop culture, Farrah Fawcett would be one of them."

However, it turns out that the poster might have looked very different if it wasn't for Fawcett's stylistic decisions. Entertainment Weekly spoke to the poster's photographer Bruce McBroom in 2009. According to McBroom, Fawcett "did her own hair and her own makeup, not that she needed much makeup." A bikini had been requested for the shoot, but she told McBroom that she didn't have one. She eventually pulled out the now-famous red bathing suit. 

Farrah Fawcett said meeting husband Lee Majors was "love at first sight"

Farrah Fawcett married the famous actor Lee Majors in 1973, as reported by People. Fawcett opened up to the magazine about the early years she enjoyed with Majors, noting that he first saw her in a photo in his agent's office in 1968, just two weeks after her arrival in Los Angeles. Majors called Fawcett at the women's residence where she was staying, and, after a little coaxing, she agreed to a date.

Fawcett recalled, "It was love at first sight, I guess." She went on to remember "melting into a thousand pieces" when she met Majors. Sadly, things didn't work out between the two. The couple separated in 1979 and were officially divorced three years later. Majors spoke to People in 2019 and explained, "There was a year or so when I think I saw her two weeks in one year. It's very difficult with careers like that. This business is tough." It's easy to see why the relationship was hard to maintain.

Farrah Fawcett's love of tennis helped win her the role of a lifetime

Nabbing the role of Jill Munroe in the ABC crime drama Charlie's Angels, a show with a strange history, was what sent Farrah Fawcett skyrocketing to new heights of stardom. When Closer Weekly interviewed Fawcett's former assistant Mike Pingel about the celeb's life and legacy, he explained that the three angels were "not only breaking the ceiling of being three leads on their own show, but they were number one in the ratings. It was just lightning in a bottle." 

And how did Fawcett get this life-changing role? Well, according to Closer Weekly, her fame from her famous swimsuit poster was only part of the reason. Fawcett and husband Lee Majors reportedly used to play tennis with the show's producer Aaron Spelling, who'd later go on to produce hits like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed. A tennis storyline was even included for Fawcett's character. As they say in Hollywood, it really is all about networking.

Farrah Fawcett showed off her acting chops off-Broadway

Even though Farrah Fawcett became immensely popular after her role in Charlie's Angels, she wasn't usually considered a serious, hard-hitting actress. That is, until the star took over a lead role in the off-Broadway play Extremities. The Los Angeles Times recounted her surprising theatrical debut in 1983. Fawcett replaced Susan Sarandon and played the challenging role of a sexual assault victim who gets revenge on her assailant. She ended up getting "some of the best reviews of her career." In 1986, she reprised the role in the feature film and won herself a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a drama, proving once and for all that she was much more than just a pretty face.

Unfortunately, her only other foray into theater occurred in 2003 and ended in disaster. Fawcett was playing the lead role in a Broadway play called Bobbi Boland. However, the production was canceled after just one week of previews. According to the New York PostFawcett wasn't so impressive in her second play, with audience members reporting that she "flubbed her lines and forgot the name of her husband's character." 

Farrah Fawcett's iconic, flipped hairstyle made history

It's impossible to think of Farrah Fawcett without thinking of her absolutely iconic hairdo. Talking Makeup spoke to her hairstylist Allen Edwards in 2009. Recalling meeting Fawcett in 1974, he said, "Her hair was in one length so we started to layer Farrah's hair." He went on to spill the beans on how the look was created. "The way you do it is by blow drying hair mostly with a brush and just curling the ends with a smaller brush," he explained. "Then you clip it and by the time you finish the hair is dry, you take the clips out, turn your head upside down and boom there you have the Farrah. People went crazy over it."

And Edwards wasn't wrong. "The Farrah" practically started a hair revolution for women in the '70s that is still acknowledged today. Fawcett was included in Glamour's "Hair Hall of Fame" in 2009, Stylist placed the look in a list of the "30 most iconic hairstyles" in 2017, and Vogue UK noted the feathered look in a list of "fringes that will never go out of fashion" in 2019. It's clear that her famous 'do isn't going to be forgotten any time soon.

Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal had a difficult relationship with their only son

Farrah Fawcett had an on-again, off-again relationship with actor Ryan O'Neal, as noted by Biography. In 1985, Fawcett gave birth to their son, Redmond, according to Women's Health. Over the years, the couple's relationship with their son became increasingly difficult.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, O'Neal was honest about his son's troubled life. "He's never been out on the street for a year, because whatever he did, he got caught," he shared. "He got arrested in prison with heroin in his pocket! So many arrests, the poor, stupid boy! ... He's been in rehabs all over the United States and Mexico." After Fawcett's passing, Redmond ended up attending her funeral "in chains," and O'Neal explained he was a "pallbearer with handcuffs."

Redmond O'Neal has had a tragic life, and he spoke to Radar Online from his prison cell in 2018, claiming that he was behind bars "just because of who my parents are." It's clear the couple and their son didn't have the easiest relationship.

Rumors circulated after Farrah Fawcett's infamous appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman

Despite being a much-loved starlet early in her career, Farrah Fawcett's popularity took a dip in the late '80s and '90s. Los Angeles Magazine explained how her complicated family life and relationship with Ryan O'Neal had tainted her image of a youthful, healthy poster girl. Her career had also dwindled, leading her to a series of TV movies. In 1997, Fawcett made an infamous appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Of the interview, Los Angeles Magazine stated, "She was a spaced-out, aging sex symbol who couldn't track at all."

It's hard to watch the star, who seemed incoherent, and it's easy to see why so many viewers became suspicious of drug abuse after seeing her on the show. However, when O'Neal spoke to Vanity Fair in 2009, he denied that Fawcett had a substance abuse problem. He said, "When I saw her on Letterman, I thought she was acting." Referring to her Playboy shoot, he added, "She was selling Playboy magazine, and she thought she was being Playmate-ish."

Farrah Fawcett had her own reality series in 2005

In 2005, Farrah Fawcett starred in her very own reality TV series, Chasing Farrah, which aired on TV Land. It was met with either bad or lukewarm reviews from most publications, including the Los Angeles Times and Variety. Most critics of the show complained about how the series didn't give viewers a full picture of the star and her life. Though Fawcett was reportedly "engaging and goofy and sexy" in the series, viewers were only shown a "choppy and insufficient overview of Fawcett" (via Variety).

In a scathing review by the New York Post, the show was criticized for being too boring. The publication claimed that there was too little action: "...You spend the entire half-hour wondering why this show is even on TV in the first place." And juicy details about her life and her family never made it on screen, and Fawcett's reality TV career never really took off.

Farrah Fawcett inspired this famous song

Most people don't think of Motown when they think of Farrah Fawcett. Nevertheless, the Hollywood sweetheart actually provided the inspiration for the famous song "Midnight Train to Georgia," which was sung by Gladys Knight and the Pips. As the story goes, Jim Weatherly, the country songwriter responsible for the song, was friends with Lee Majors. Weatherly called Majors one evening, and Fawcett happened to answer the phone, as Fawcett and Majors were married at the time. She informed Weatherly that Majors had taken a "midnight plane to Houston," according to the New York Post.

Weatherly decided to use the phrase in a song. However, singer Cissy Houston changed the phrase to the now famous "midnight train to Georgia," saying, "My people are originally from Georgia, and they didn't take planes to Houston or anywhere else. They took trains." When Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded a version later that year, the song rose to No. 1, and the rest is history.

Farrah Fawcett always made it home from set to cook for her husband

During her marriage to Lee Majors, Farrah Fawcett reportedly left sets at 6 p.m. every evening in order to get home in time to make dinner. In an interview with People in 1976, Majors and Fawcett happily discussed the arrangement. Apparently, Majors would supervise her contracts to ensure she had a 6 p.m. cut-off time, and Fawcett didn't seem to mind. She said, "I can be home by 6:30 and have dinner ready — then he doesn't realize I haven't been home all day." Even in the '70s, the situation sounded fairly archaic — the interviewer noted to readers that "the whole arrangement may smack of the domestic dark ages." It's hard to imagine a megastar of that time leaving set early so that they can head home to cook! 

As it turned out, Fawcett probably wasn't as happy as she'd claimed. In a later interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1989, Fawcett described her marriage back when she was filming Charlie's Angels. "Lee was silent. He didn't talk. He didn't support my leaving the show," she shared. "He thought I should come home and make the dinner.” Yikes. 

Farrah Fawcett was filmed before her passing after fighting cancer for three years

Farrah Fawcett had a more public passing than most, as explained by The New York Times. Her battle with cancer lasted for three difficult years. Unlike most people who would probably crave privacy, Fawcett opted to capture her final moments on film. NBC bought the rights to the footage for $1.5 million, and the film was broadcast in May 2009. While the footage was originally intended to illustrate the problems with American cancer treatment, producer Craig Nevius claimed that the project ended up being "a contradiction of what the film was supposed to be."

Despite the potentially exploitative nature of Farrah's Story, it's clear Fawcett was unrelentingly brave and strong until the end. Speaking with People, her doctor, Dr. Lawrence Piro, recalled her spirit and determination. "She marched through her illness fearlessly, taking control of her decisions," he said. "[She was] committed to fight all the way and as long as she could for all of the piece of life that she was entitled to."