Farrah Fawcett, Angel in Waiting

Farrah Fawcett, Angel in Waiting

By: James Hirsen

It's not a typical celebrity passing.

In American pop culture terms, Farrah Fawcett was an icon.

She burst onto the Hollywood scene with her sparkling smile, sweet nature and blonde windblown tresses that set hairstyle trends for a decade.

Farrah's image adorned magazine covers galore, but more importantly her poster was tacked onto teen lockers, shop halls and office walls.

All-American places. All-American dream girl.

She was cheerleader, prom queen, sorority sweetheart and pageant winner all rolled into one. And she graced her way right on up to full-fledged movie star.

Farrah's career, from "Charley's Angels" to the reality genre, was a shining example of an actress who lithely coped with a changing media landscape.

Amazingly, the role that defined her fame, that of glamorous detective Jill Monroe who took assignments from the mysterious Charley, only lasted a year.

The TV show was such a hit Farrah became part of that unusual celebrity club of those stars known by their first names only. If you said Farrah, folks knew exactly who you were talking about.

Like Betty Grable in an earlier era, Farrah became the pin-up girl of her generation. The photo of Farrah in a red bathing suit quickly became the biggest selling poster of all time with an unprecedented 12 million copies sold.

Farrah proved she was more than just a pretty face when she took a part in an Off-Broadway play called "Extremities," and she received critical acclaim. She then tackled a difficult subject in "The Burning Bed," a TV-movie about an abused woman. It earned her an Emmy nomination.

She starred in another complex made for TV film, "Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story." And she garnered a second Emmy nomination for a miniseries "Small Sacrifices."

More critical praise for her acting came from her portrayal of a wayward wife to Robert Duvall's character in "The Apostle."

When she appeared as herself in the 2005 reality show, "Chasing Farrah," the public had a glimpse of the deep love she and Ryan O'Neil shared. The tender relationship supplied a sort of tonic to the public, which offset the disappointing failure of marriages that is so widespread from Hollywood to D.C.

Looks like the Angel got her wings.

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