The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

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Farrah Fawcett, one of the most iconic actresses of the 70s and 80s, paved the way for the beautiful blonde bombshell. The girl-next-door model and actress did so with a perfect smile on her face winning the hearts of the world, including us! She wasn’t just a pretty blonde, though, as you’ll find out.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

We’ve found some fascinating facts about the Hollywood actress that even the biggest fan may be surprised to know.

Farrah’s family originated from Texas

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Unlike most Hollywood stars of the time, Farrah didn’t come from a family already in the film industry. She was born in Texas to an oil-field contractor and a homemaker and was the younger of two daughters. Despite her lack of celebrity connections, her stunning looks and beautiful hair got her noticed.

Was Farrah Fawcett her real name?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Surprisingly, yes! Well, sort of. Farrah was born into the Fawcett family, and her mother created Farrah out of sheer improvisation because she liked how «Farrah Fawcett» sounded. Despite having no meaning behind it, her mother created a perfect Hollywood name. Its original spelling was Ferreh, but her mother had never pronounced it that way.

Beauty queen

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Fawcett never seemed to go through the average hormonal, acne-ridden puberty years that most of us faced. Her natural appeal won her ‘Most Beautiful’ four years in a row during high school and one of the ‘Ten Most Beautiful Coeds on Campus’ at college.

Hollywood chased her for two years

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Fawcett was pursued by agent David Mirisch for two years, begging her to move to Hollywood! She initially turned him down, citing her studies, but finally gave in and took Mirisch’s offer in 1968. We’re so glad she did!

Farrah’s first gig was for hair products

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

It’s not surprising that shampoo companies wanted Farrah as the face of their product, her iconic hair drove sales for Wella Balsam even though she was entirely unknown at the time. Students began taking pictures of Farrah from beauty ads and putting them on their walls.

One poster changed Farrah’s life

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Farrah landed firmly on the map from her infamous red swimsuit poster, which went on sale in 1976. It sold out of the 7,000 original orders straight away. That same poster went on to sell over twelve million copies, making it the best selling poster of all time!

Who was behind the poster?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

After being told about Fawcett by a student who’d seen a beauty ad, brothers Mike and Ted Trikilis from Ohio, owners of Pro-Arts poster company, couldn’t turn down the opportunity to capture her beauty.

How was the poster shot?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Photographer Bruce McBroom shot Farrah in her own home. She did her hair and makeup without a stylist and refused to wear the bikini the Trikilis brothers had given her. Instead, she chose the now-iconic red one-piece swimsuit. You could say it was the 70s version of an Instagram selfie that the shot together.

She got her first acting role playing tennis

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Fawcett was playing tennis with her then-husband Lee Majors against producer Aaron Spelling and his wife. Spelling made the decision that day that Fawcett would be perfect for as Jill Munroe in Charlie’s Angels, no casting call needed. The rest is history!

Her hair became infamous

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

The «Fawcett-Flip» or «Farrah-Flip» became a famous hairstyle request at hair salons across America as women pined for Farrah’s gorgeous locks. We know why she kept that hairstyle all these years since it got its own reputation!

Not your typical blonde

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Despite Hollywood’s constant grip on Farrah to just be a beauty queen, she had brains too, studying microbiology at the University of Texas before switching to sculpting. She only left her studies for Hollywood after two years of being chased.

Farrah’s real assets

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

When asked why she thought people loved Charlie’s Angels, she said, «When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra

Leaving Charlie’s Angels almost cost her millions

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

After only one season, Farrah decided to leave the show, breaching her contract with Spelling, who sued her for $7 million. She negotiated a deal out of court, agreeing to make smaller appearances over several years rather than merely vanishing altogether, saving her from bankruptcy. She even managed to win Spelling over as he remained a life-long friend.

Moving to film wasn’t easy

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

The first three films Farrah featured in flopped at the box office. Her big break came when she agreed to replace Susan Sarandon in Extremities. While she described it as one of the most grueling times of her career to play the character, it set Farrah up for success.

Farrah finally made film history

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

In 1984 Farrah starred as the lead role in The Burning Bed, playing an abused homemaker. Aside from the deserved Emmy nomination, it was the first film to show a domestic violence helpline on screen.

Her Playboy features

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

It took some convincing, but Farrah appeared in Playboy twice in a matter of years. Finally, in 1995 she posed semi-nude for the magazine but did so on her terms. She reappeared in 1997, but this time featured painting a canvas with her body, a life-long desire Farrah had after studying art at University. She was 50 when she did those appearances with Playboy, proving how she defied the aging process!

She was the inspiration behind Midnight Train to Georgia

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

The classic chart song by Gladys Knight & the Pip’s came to be after songwriter Jim Weatherly called Lee Major one evening. When Farrah answered and said that she was visiting her mother by «the midnight plane to Houston», Jim remembered the unique phrase and wrote the song, with some minor tweaks, of course.

Strong women support other women

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

When Farrah was going through her legal battle over leaving Charlie’s Angels, reporters always pressed for comment on her co-stars, hoping for a catfight. Farrah refused and remained friends with Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith instead.

Her family was Farrah’s priority

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

How do you maintain a marriage for a long time in Hollywood? Well, Farrah often negotiated her contracts so that she left set by 7 pm, all so that she could make dinner for her then-husband Lee Majors. That’s one way to do it!

Farrah’s rocky live interview

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

In 1997, Farrah went onto The Late Show with David Letterman, where she appeared unstable and rambling. She returned to the show two years later to defend herself, where she gushed that it was an act, she was playing the dumb blonde everyone had depicted her as over the years.

Men fought for her affection

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

A top-rated reality TV show in the 60s called The Dating Game had Farrah as the lead contestant in 1969, where she asked questions to blind dates. After she made her selection, a real fight broke out amongst the men! It came out after that it may have been an April Fool’s joke, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it were real!

Fawcett’s marriage fell into the Hollywood curse

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

With celebrities being so high profile in Hollywood, the media takes bets on when a couple will split before they’ve finished walking down the aisle. Although Farrah and Lee Majors were married before she became famous after Charlie’s Angels for Farrah and The Six Million Dollar Man for Majors, the marriage was never the same afterward.

What happened with Lee Majors?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

After 12 years of marriage, the couple split. It was never officially confirmed, but Farrah had met Ryan O’Neal at a friend’s birthday party. O’Neal claims it was love at first sight, but Farrah was still married at the time. Shortly after, Majors was traveling to Canada for work and had asked O’Neal to keep Farrah company. By the time he returned, Majors was a single man. Awkward.

An abrupt ending to Fawcett’s relationship with O’Neal

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

O’Neal and Fawcett were together for almost twenty years, and yet it came to a very sudden end. Can you guess why? She walked in on O’Neal with another woman. On Valentine’s day. Ouch. Despite this quick end for the couple, the media began circulating rumors about what O’Neal was really like.

O’Neal wasn’t a nice guy

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Farrah had fallen for O’Neal’s boyish good looks and charming character, but his personality just didn’t match his pretty-boy demeanor. O’Neal’s daughter, Tatum, stated that Fawcett would often undergo physical abuse from him. Fawcett said in an interview, «Sometimes Ryan breaks my heart…he’s also responsible for giving me confidence in myself.»

Moving on to another man

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

While Farrah found an excuse to leave O’Neal behind, she quickly moved on again. This time, she stepped into the arms of another Hollywood filmmaker, James Orr. In 1998, Orr assaulted Farrah and was arrested for it. She ended this relationship shortly after.

Farrah’s run-in with the police

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Aside from the arrests against the actress’s lovers, Farrah was part of her drama with the police. James Orr’s friend and actress, Kirsten Amber, filed charges against Farrah for stealing her clothes!

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Kirsten claimed that she had left $72,000 worth of clothing in James’ closet and blamed Farrah for their disappearance. The case closed due to lack of evidence, luckily for Farrah.

Chasing Farrah

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

In 2005, a new reality TV show documenting Farrah’s daily life hit the screens. Chasing Farrah only ran for seven episodes due to low ratings. Still, it did capture a beautiful memory of Farrah visiting her mother, Polly, back in Texas before she passed away.

The love triangle

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

After separating from O’Neal for four years, the couple reunited in 2001. Publicly, however, Farrah was also starting a relationship with Longhorn football player, Greg Lott. Lott, of course, says that Farrah only publicly being seen with O’Neal as it helped improve her image. We’re not sure who was the real love, but we hope it was Lott. Both men, however, continued to see each other up until Farrah’s death.

A year of loss

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

2006 was not a good year for Farrah. She lost her mother, Polly, who was 91 years old. She also lost her first director and lifelong mentor, Aaron Spelling, and her agent Jay Bernstein. Three people who had supported Farrah throughout her life were now gone, and it left her feeling broken that year.

Battling cancer

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

The year following the loss of her mother, agent, and mentor, Farrah was diagnosed with anal cancer. After much treatment, including various alternatives, Farrah was declared cancer-free on her 60th birthday in 2007.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

She founded the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, which provides support to cancer patients and funds cancer research in the States.

Losing her battle

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Unfortunately, just two months after being cleared, a malignant polyp was discovered. Farrah went to Germany for alternative treatment, prohibited in the US. Even still, cancer had returned and was now at stage four, and had spread to Farrah’s liver. She kept fighting but unfortunately lost the battle in June 2009.

Winning a posthumous award nomination

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

During Farrah’s battle with cancer, she made a documentary called Farrah’s Story to raise awareness of the disease. She wanted people to see the real effects of cancer and the battle people go through every day, making the documentary a little harrowing to watch. Aside from the alternative treatment that Farrah went through, the documentary overall was well received, and she won a posthumous Emmy Award nomination.

O’Neal kept Lott away

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

In an interview with The Mail, Lott said: «he [O’Neal] kept me from seeing the love of my life before she died.» Only Lott and O’Neal know the true story of their relationship with the actress, but we like to hope that O’Neal changed his ways after his diagnosis, at least. Maybe one day, Lott will tell the full story so we can finally know whether it was the real love of her life or not.

One day, two celebrities lost.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Farrah passed away at just 62, on June 25, 2009, a devastating day for Hollywood. Only five hours later, though, we also lost the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Farrah’s death became overshadowed with every second after Jackson’s death covered by the media. A tragic day in history, but one remembered by Farrah’s fans as the day she lost her battle.

What happened to Farrah’s estate?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Farrah’s estate was worth millions after her decades of working in Hollywood. So after she passed, it needed to be divided amongst her family. Her only son, Redmond Fawcett-O’Neal, was left the majority, some $4.5 million. The rest of the estate got divided between her father, nephew, and former boyfriend, Greg Lott. Despite being at her bedside when she passed, O’Neal received nothing. We think that says a lot about what she thought of him!

The biography special on Farrah

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Ten years after Farrah died, A&E did a unique biography of her life, from childhood to her influence, relationships, and battle with cancer. They perfectly captured Farrah’s life, not just as a pretty face, but as a woman who took her career and family seriously, making her the ultimate all American girl.

Farrah’s hair had another purpose

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

As well as being an iconic style that meant she kept it for decades, her hair had another use for Farrah. She said, «I can’t see to the right or left, and that way, I don’t have to see people looking at me.» It was Farrah’s security blanket, keeping the crowds out of her eyeshot! It was the perfect plan, not being able to see everyone that’s surrounding you must help keep anxiety at bay when you’re famous.

Andy Warhol painted her

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Andy and Farrah met in 1980 when he decided to create two portraits of the actress. That’s not a standard request, Warhol didn’t just paint anyone, but like us, he must have fallen in love with Farrah’s beauty too. Since her passing, both paintings have increased in value, where estimates say they may be worth upwards of $12 million! One currently resides at The Andy Warhol Museum, after Farrah lent it to them.

Her child’s difficult upbringing

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

O’Neal and Fawcett’s son, Redmond, didn’t have the safe environment you’d expect from a couple who’s worth as much as his parents. The pair argued frequently, and like O’Neal’s daughter stated, Redmond also confirmed witnessing physical abuse growing up. When Redmond was six, he threatened to hurt himself just to stop the couple’s fight. In 2016, O’Neal broke his silence on his parenting in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying, «I’m a hopeless father. I don’t know why. I don’t think I was supposed to be a father.»

Redmond’s troubled life

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Redmond told Radar Online, «It’s not the drugs that have been a problem, it’s the psychological trauma of my entire life. My life experience has affected me the most: the fighting with my father, being kicked out and living on the streets, going to jail, being put in a psychiatric ward, being embarrassed all the time, just because of who my parents are.» The influence of his parents’ rocky relationship had long-lasting effects on their son, for sure.

Redmond’s arrests

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

When Farrah was ill in 2009, her son Redmond had gotten into some legal issues. His arrest for drug possession after trying to smuggle drugs into the country happened while she was bed-ridden. So that he could visit his mother, Redmond had to go under police supervision to her home. After her death, Redmond served three years in jail in 2013 after violating his probation on a different drug conviction.

The Charlie’s Angels movie offered Farrah a cameo

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

The production team for the 2000 Charlie’s Angels movie contacted Farrah about a cameo role in the film. Farrah happily picked up the offer, but she was insistent on being the voice of Charlie. The production team didn’t agree with her request, so they backed out.

The woman who ended Farrah’s marriage to O’Neal

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

While we know that there were other reasons as to why the relationship between Ryan O’Neal and our blonde bombshell, the nail in the marriage coffin was that Ryan cheated. The only words that Farrah said when she caught the pair were to ask the woman’s name. That name was actress Leslie Ann Stefanson. There was some suspicion that her calm approach to the situation was because she suspected O’Neal of cheating with multiple women prior, but had never yet caught him red-handed. We’re not sure why he thought that he could do any better than Farrah either.

Why did O’Neal and Fawcett get back together?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

We mentioned before that the pair got back together, albeit as part of a mysterious love triangle with Lott, but we didn’t explain why. In 2001, O’Neal’s diagnosis with chronic myelogenous leukemia led to him reaching out to his previous love. He said to Vanity Fair, «we started over again, and this time we built it in a way that had foundation and trust. Our son was happy. And Farrah was mature. She didn’t get mad at me so easily.»

Farrah’s last few days

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Over the last few days of Farrah’s life, she started to forget everyone’s names. Likely a side effect of her sedation to help her feel more comfortable but O’Neal noted that despite his daily visits to her in hospital, she would often forget his name, sometimes calling him ‘Steve.’ Steve was the person who administered her medication, so she must have been quite numb in the end.

Championing the name Farrah

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

As we know, when Farrah was born, her mom had made up her name, so her name was super unusual growing up. After Farrah became famous, though, the baby name shot to the top of the American list for several years. It’s also the word for joy in Arabic, how very fitting! Now anyone you know with the name Farrah could well be named after Ms. Fawcett herself.

The Farrah Fawcett Barbie doll

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Back when Barbie dolls were the peak of the perfect woman, the toy company made a limited edition Farrah Fawcett action figure. They recreated the iconic red swimsuit for the doll and even gave it the Farrah Flip blowout hairstyle. It came packaged using Farrah’s famous poster in the background.

Were O’Neal and Fawcett ever married?

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

While the couple was on and off for decades, had a son together, and were quite public with their relationship, they never actually got married. Ryan had previously proposed to Farrah, but she’d said no. During the final hours of Farrah’s life, Ryan proposed again. This time she said yes. Despite their efforts to get a priest to the hospital, she passed away before they could exchange vows.

A strong woman, even at the end

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

We couldn’t find any history of Farrah getting involved in celebrity catfights or trampling on other women to get where she got to. She just never wanted the limelight for hurting other people, and we respect that! She stands alongside women like Oprah Winfrey and Celine Dion for using their influence and power for good causes. The work she did on finishing her documentary about cancer just to educate people on the reality of the disease while suffering shows how strong she was, even during the hardest battle of her life.

The All American Girl

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

Many consider Farrah as the all American girl and deserves that title. Her smile hypnotized the world, and her hair had people clearing products from the shelves, but she wasn’t just a pretty face either.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

She pushed passed the blonde ‘bimbo’ stereotype set by her predecessors and challenged Hollywood to take women seriously. She joins a list of women who helped change the industry, like Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Oprah, and Jane Fonda.

Farrah’s life began so beautifully, where many things just seemed to land in her lap. She had the brains to get into college, attention from her stunning looks, and Hollywood begged her to move to LA. She started her career with a bang by creating the biggest selling poster of all time and began acting without having to go to a casting studio.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

It seems like life wasn’t so easy for Farrah after that though, with relationships fraught with abuse, a son struggling with drug addiction after witnessing a rocky relationship between his parents growing up, and battling cancer to the very end. Despite those pitfalls, Farrah’s name lives on in history.

The unbelievable life of Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett

She stood up for herself in an industry that makes it hard to do so, and she tried to make the best decisions for herself and as a role model throughout her career.

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