Remember When Farrah Fawcett Hung Up Her Angel Wings?


Farrah Fawcett was one of biggest blonde bombshells of the 1970s. Her iconic red one-piece swimsuit photo, lensed by photographer Bruce McBroom in 1976, propelled the relatively unknown actress to fame and resulted in her poster (it sold over 12 million copies, becoming the best-selling poster of all time) being plastered across teenage bedrooms across the country. That same year, Fawcett was also picked to play Jill Munroe in the crime TV series Charlie’s Angels. Alongside leads Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, Fawcett became a household name overnight, winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program and earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.

“When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting,” Fawcett once said of the show’s success. “When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”

Despite her immense popularity and critical acclaim for the show, Fawcett decided to leave Charlie’s Angels after only one season, turning in her resignation just before the finale aired on May 4, 1977. Fawcett’s departure triggered a lawsuit between the actress and ABC, because all three lead actresses had signed a five-year contract with the network. After much legal back-and-forth, ABC eventually released Fawcett from her contract in 1977, but stipulated that she was required to make six guest appearances throughout the rest of the series. Fawcett was replaced by singer-turned-actress Cheryl Ladd, but remained true to her word, coming back for three guest spots in seasons three and four. They turned out to be her last appearances on the show, which experienced a dip in ratings and viewership after Fawcett left.

Although Fawcett told the network that her burgeoning film career was the reason for leaving, there was speculation that marital problems was the true reason for her withdrawal. Lee Majors, her husband at the time, was the star of ABC’s Six Million Dollar Man, which aired from 1974 to 1978. Long filming schedules and extended time spent apart reportedly put a strain on their relationship, but her ambition to pursue a film career was the most commonly cited reason.

While Fawcett would go on to become a celebrated dramatic actress, appearing in projects including Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and the Emmy-nominated TV series Small Sacrifices, her work for Charlie’s Angels inarguably became her most well-known and famous role.


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