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Farrah Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009)

Ferrah Leni Fawcett’s career was made when she posed in a red swimsuit for a poster; that poster became an iconic American image.

Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. She graduated from W.B. Ray High School where her classmates voted her “Most Beautiful.” She went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin. During her freshman year, Fawcett was named one of the “ten most beautiful coeds on campus;” it was the first time a freshman had ever been chosen. Her photo was passed around Hollywood talent agencies. David Mirisch took the bait and called her immediately. She turned down his offer. Undeterred, he continued to call Fawcett for two years! Finally, unable to resist Hollywood’s siren calls, and with her parent’s permission, after completing her junior year in 1968, Fawcett moved to Hollywood.

She began appearing in commercials and guest starred on The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeanie. Fawcett married actor Lee Majors in 1973 and appeared in four episodes of his show The Six Million Dollar Man.

In 1976, that poster idea was pitched to Fawcett. It was Fawcett who styled her hair and did her own makeup for the shoot. From 40 rolls, Fawcett selected her favorite six and out of those came the infamous shot. That poster has sold twenty million copies! The poster landed her a supporting role in the science fiction film Logan’s Run. But it was her next gig that would cement Fawcett’s place in pop culture history.

Fawcett and Majors regularly played tennis with a producer named Aaron Spelling. He chose Fawcett to play Jill Munroe in a TV movie called Charlie’s Angels. (It aired in 1976.) The success of the movie led to a TV series that debuted in September 1976. The success of Charlie’s Angels made a star out of every part of Fawcett even her “Farrah-flip” hairstyle. Fawcett left Charlie’s Angels after only one season as the royalties from her poster sales far surpassed her salary on the show.

She continued with film roles after her split from Charlie’s Angels. Fawcett and Majors divorced in 1982. In 1983, she began appearing Off-Broadway. For the remainder of her career, she continued to act in movies and TV movies. Fawcett has been nominated for three Emmys and six Golden Globes. Her work in the miniseries Small Sacrifices helped it to win a Peabody award.

Refusing to appear in adult magazines for two decades, in 1995, she finally posed for Playboy. At age 50, two years later, in 1997, she appeared in Playboy again. (This issue became one of their top sellers.)

Throughout her life, Fawcett was romantically involved with actor Ryan O’Neal. In 1985, Fawcett gave birth to a son. In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer. Months later on her 60th birthday, Fawcett announced she was cancer-free. For her final years, she documented her battle with this rare type of cancer. Unfortunately, Fawcett lost that battle on the morning of June 25, 2009 in an intensive care unit of a Santa Monica hospital.

If you don’t remember hearing much about Fawcett’s death, it could be because another pop culture icon (Michael Jackson) died later that same day in the afternoon.