Image from NY Daily News
Since Farrah's Story aired on NBC a few weeks ago, I've expected to get the news of Farrah Fawcett's death. It was made clear that she was terminal, and by the end of the documentary, she wasn't even lucid. So, her death--while no less sad--was not a surprise. More surprising, of course, was the out of the blue death of Michael Jackson on the very same day.
Which is sad all by itself, but doubly so for Farrah. As the celebrity reporter on MSNBC said, they were working on a Farrah Fawcett retrospective when they got the Jackson news. After that, Fawcett is now a footnote. And she deserved more than that.
I had Farrah's iconic poster on my wall as a 'tween, as all little boys (even us gay ones) did in 1976. I struggled to stay up late to watch Charlie's Angels, even though bedtime that year was 10:00 pm. I managed to catch up during the summer, and was excited that the show moved to 9:00 pm the next season. But where was Farrah? She'd left the show! My sadness was short-lived, due to the brilliant casting of Cheryl Ladd.
But Farrah still held my attention. I watched Logan's Run (still a favorite) and Saturn 3. The weeks when she was contracturally bound to appear in guest shots on Charlie's Angels, I was front and center. Years later, I'd be interested enough in her to check out movies like The Burning Bed, and Extremities, which I'd have been almost certain to skip otherwise.
When Farrah's Story aired, I was given a new perspective on Farrah, who had--lets face it--been rather strange in her last decade or so. She appeared dizzy (or drugged) on The Late Show with David Letterman and the William Shatner roast. So to see her so spirited, courageous and real may have been one of the best things to come out of an otherwise depressing program.
So, RIP, Farrah Fawcett. You are one of many pieces of my childhood, but one of the only ones I will always be able to picture--in that red bathing suit, with the dazzling smile--in perfect clarity, as you looked then. You may not get the same coverage as Michael Jackson, but you had quite an impact, just the same.