Farrah Leni Fawcett (/ˈfærə ˈfɔːsɪt/; originally spelled Ferrah; February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress, model, and artist. A four-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she posed for her iconic red swimsuit poster – which became the best selling pin-up poster in history – and starred as private investigator Jill Munroe in the first season of the television series Charlie’s Angels (1976–1977). In 1996, she was ranked No. 26 on TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV stars of All-Time”.
In 1969, Fawcett began her career when she appeared in commercials and guest roles on television. During the 1970s, she appeared in numerous television series, including recurring roles on Harry O (1974–1976), and The Six Million Dollar Man (1974–1978) with her first husband, film and television star Lee Majors. Her breakthrough role came in 1976, when she was cast as Jill Munroe in the ABC series Charlie’s Angels, alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. The show propelled all three to stardom, but especially Fawcett (then billed as “Farrah Fawcett-Majors”). After appearing in only the first season, Fawcett decided to leave the show, which led to legal disputes. She eventually signed a contract that required her to make six guest appearances in the show’s third and fourth seasons (1978–1980). For her role in Charlie’s Angels she received her first Golden Globe nomination.
In 1983, Fawcett received positive reviews for her performance in the Off-Broadway play Extremities. She was subsequently cast in the 1986 film version and received a Golden Globe nomination. She received two Emmy Award nominations for her roles in TV movies, as a battered wife in the 1984 film The Burning Bed and as real-life murderer Diane Downs in the 1989 film Small Sacrifices. Her 1980s work in TV movies also earned her four additional Golden Globe nominations.
In 1997, she gained some negative press for a rambling appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, but also garnered strong reviews for her role in the film The Apostle with Robert Duvall. She continued in numerous TV series, including recurring roles in the sitcom Spin City (2001) and the drama The Guardian (2002–2003). For the latter, she received her third Emmy nomination. Her film roles include, Love Is a Funny Thing (1969), Myra Breckinridge (1970), Logan’s Run (1976), Sunburn (1979), Saturn 3 (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), Extremities (1986), The Apostle (1997), and Dr. T & the Women (2000).
Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and she died three years later at age 62. The 2009 NBC documentary Farrah’s Story chronicled her battle with the disease. She posthumously earned her fourth Emmy nomination for her work as a producer on the documentary.