Farrah Fawcett: 20 Facts About The Charlie's Angels Star

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.

When she was young, Farrah Fawcett considered being a nun

It's hard to imagine Farrah Fawcett ever wanting to do anything other than perform and create art. However, as a child, her interests led her in a very different direction — for a little while, she actually considered being a nun. As she told Brian Linehan in a 1979 interview, "I think I only wanted to be a nun for about a week. ... It was a week."

As Fawcett explained, she had imagined that being a nun would have made for an "easy and uncomplicated" life. "I think that I had feelings probably — I went to a Catholic school — and I think as I started to develop and I started to have feelings towards men and I was a little confused with having certain feelings and yet being told I wasn't supposed to have those feelings," she recalled. For a while, she figured that it would simply be easier to head to a convent and force herself to stop having these feelings. But, of course, as Fawcett reiterated with a laugh, "That only lasted a week." 

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!

She 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. 

She 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.

When Fawcett picked Bachelor No. 2, the three hopeful men broke out into a full-fledged fistfight. 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 him, 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. 

Her beauty routine was super simple

Farrah Fawcett may have been considered one of the great beauties of her generation — but, as it turns out, she didn't exactly have an intensive skincare and makeup routine like the rest of us. In fact, instead of spending a bunch of money on facials and exfoliants, Fawcett preferred a more natural skin care regime. She once claimed that a sandy beach was "the greatest dead skin cleanser" (via Beauticate). 

As for her makeup, Fawcett was often spotted with a bare face to suit her athletic, outdoorsy lifestyle or very minimal makeup.  She actually did her own hair and makeup — apparently without a mirror — for the famous swimsuit poster, her friend, Nels Van Patten, told The Washington Times. She often opted for neutral eyeshadows and soft lip shades. Her makeup artist, Patrick Foley, later recreated her favorite shade of lipstick, releasing the product through a collab with the brand Nude Envie.

She 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.

Her 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" 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.

She 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 Post, Fawcett 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.

She 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. 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."

She 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 a 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.

She left Charlie's Angels after one season

Farrah Fawcett may have found fame on "Charlie's Angels," but it turns out the actor didn't actually want to stay on the 1976 show for too long. In fact, after just one season, she wanted to leave the show behind for good. 

One of the reasons may have had to do with money. At the time, she was reported to be making $5,000 an episode — and rumor had it that she wanted $75,000. Her manager Jay Bernstein denied that rumor, saying she simply wanted to leave. "She is asking to leave," he told The Washington Post in 1977. "And she feels that she does not have legal grounds to leave or it would not be honorable."

Fawcett did quit the show that year. A lawsuit followed, in which she was sued for $7 million. "The whole lawsuit almost sank me," she later told People in a 1979 interview. She added that the real reason she had walked away from the show was that she wanted to branch out from her typecasting. "The industry was furious with me and hostile because I was a TV sex symbol who wanted to be an actress," she said. "People thought I was really pretentious, and for months no one would touch me." Fawcett did later agree to return to guest star on the show in Seasons 3 and 4.

She 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. 

She was a talented sculptor

Farrah Fawcett clearly had quite a few creative bones in her body — not only was she a gifted actor, but she also dabbled in sculpting. In a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the interviewer, who visited Fawcett's home, noted that it was filled with her works.

In 2014, photographer Robert Sebree explained how Fawcett had created a sculpture inspired by his portraits of her. Then, in 2017, after Fawcett's death, the UMLAUF Gallery staged an exhibit that featured Fawcett's work as well as famous sculptor Charles Umlauf's creations. The museum explained how the actor had been mentored by the sculptor. In turn, she became his muse, and he sculpted and drew her multiple times. 

"She was excellent," Katie Robinson Edwards, the museum's curator told The Texas Standard at the time. "She had a real skill, naturally, at life drawing, took really well to training, excellent at sculpture. I think she was always a little bit better in sculpture."

Farah Fawcett was best friends with Alana Stewart

After Farrah Fawcett's death in 2009, the actor's best friend of almost four decades, fellow actor Alana Stewart (ex-wife of singer Rod Stewart), spoke out about their friendship. In a piece for the Daily Mail, Stewart explained that she had met Fawcett at an audition for a commercial. "[I] thought she was absolutely beautiful (she later told me she thought the same about me)," wrote Stewart.  

Stewart went on to explain how their friendship only got stronger with time. They helped each other get through their pregnancies and their breakups. They helped each other with their sons. And even though they didn't always live close by, they always found time for each other. "Over the years, there was rarely a birthday party or a New Year's that we didn't celebrate together," she wrote. 

After Fawcett's death, Stewart went on to publish a book about their close friendship titled "My Journey With Farrah: A Story Of Life, Love And Friendship." 

Farah Fawcett always had a spot for her mom in her home

Mother-daughter relationships can be — well — complicated. However, in Farrah Fawcett's case, her mother, Pauline, meant the world to her. The pair were incredibly close when Fawcett was a child. Even after Fawcett left home for college, she was hesitant to leave her mother behind. In fact, according to Texas Monthly, when her mother said she was going to leave Fawcett to settle into her dorm room, Fawcett said, "Leave? Why?" Her mother ended up staying with her at the university for a whole week. 

Throughout the rest of Fawcett's mother's life, her daughter always made sure to keep a spare bed or room free for her so that she could always come to visit. In 1987, the pair appeared on the show "Superstars & Their Moms." Fawcett reminisced about how she once actually brought her mother on a date with her! "You're my best friend. You always have been," Fawcett concluded.

Farrah Fawcett's final days were captured on film

Farrah Fawcett had a more public passing than most, as explained by The New York Times. Her illness 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."