Farrah Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress and artist. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she first appeared as private investigator Jill Munroe in the first season of the TV series Charlie's Angels, in 1976. Fawcett later appeared Off-Broadway to critical approval and in highly rated and critically acclaimed television movies, in roles often challenging (The Burning Bed, Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story, Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, Margaret Bourke-White) and sometimes unsympathetic (Small Sacrifices). Fawcett was a sex symbol whose iconic poster, released the same year Charlie's Angels premiered, broke sales records, making her an international pop culture icon. Her hairstyle was emulated by millions of young women in the 1970s and early 1980s. Fawcett died at approximately 9:28 am, PDT on 25 June 2009, in the intensive care unit of Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with O'Neal and Stewart by her side. A private funeral was held in Los Angeles on 30 June. Fawcett's son Redmond was permitted to leave his California detention center to attend his mother's funeral, where he gave the first reading.
The night of her death, ABC aired an hour-long special episode of 20/20 featuring clips from several of Barbara Walters' past interviews with Fawcett as well as new interviews with Ryan O'Neal, Jaclyn Smith, Alana Stewart, and Dr. Lawrence Piro. Walters followed up on the story on Friday's episode of 20/20. CNN's Larry King Live planned a show exclusively about Fawcett that evening until the death of Michael Jackson several hours later caused the program to shift to cover both stories. Cher, a longtime friend of Fawcett, and Suzanne de Passe, executive producer of Fawcett's Small Sacrifices mini-series, both paid tribute to Fawcett on the program. NBC aired a Dateline NBC special "Farrah Fawcett: The Life and Death of an Angel" the following evening, 26 June, preceded by a rebroadcast of Farrah's Story in prime time. That weekend and the following week, television tributes continued. MSNBC aired back-to-back episodes of its Headliners and Legends episodes featuring Fawcett and Jackson. TV Land aired a mini-marathon of Charlie's Angels and Chasing Farrah episodes. E! aired Michael & Farrah: Lost Icons and the The Biography Channel aired Bio Remembers: Farrah Fawcett. The documentary Farrah's Story re-aired on the Oxygen Network and MSNBC.
Larry King said of the Fawcett phenomenon,
“ TV had much more impact back in the '70s than it does today. Charlie's Angels got huge numbers every week – nothing really dominates the television landscape like that today. Maybe American Idol comes close, but now there are so many channels and so many more shows it's hard for anything to get the audience, or amount of attention, that Charlie's Angels got. Farrah was a major TV star when the medium was clearly dominant."
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said "Farrah was one of the iconic beauties of our time. Her girl-next-door charm combined with stunning looks made her a star on film, TV and the printed page."
Kate Jackson said,
“ She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her... I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile...when you think of Farrah, remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered: smiling.”
In March 2010, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences caused controversy when Fawcett was excluded from the "In Memoriam" montage at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, along with fellow television stars Bea Arthur, Gene Barry and Ed McMahon. In addition to Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, friends and colleagues of Fawcett publicly expressed their outrage at the oversight, including actress Jane Fonda and film critic Roger Ebert. AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis cited Fawcett's recognition at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards for her "remarkable television work," and said of all the exclusions: "There's nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all. They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we're sorry for it."
She is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.