Actress Farrah Fawcett has died after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 62.
Born in Corpus Christi, Farrah Fawcett had a thriving career in commercials before shooting to stardom in 1976 as PI Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels. Although she's associated in the public mind with this role and with her influence as a 70's style icon, Fawcett went on to have an enduring acting career, appearing off-Broadway and in a number of television movies, as well as in several highly-regarded television appearances. Especially noteworthy was her role as a battered wife in the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed , for which she was nominated for an Emmy. The film was regarded as crucial in destimgatizing the victims of and drawing attention to issues of domestic abuse - as well as providing actual support information to viewers.
In the years since her diagnosis with anal cancer, Fawcett has come to be regarded, not merely as an iconic sex symbol or someone whose high-profile relationship we gawk at in the tabloids, but as a woman dealing bravely with her disease and talking openly about a form of cancer that doesn't get much press. Last month, she presented the documentary Farrah's Story, of which friend Kate Jackson said, Fawcett "didn't do this to show that she is unique, she did it to show that we are all unique... (T)his was...meant to be a gift to others to help and inspire them." As a culture, we tend to want to keep our "sex symbols" just that, and don't like to be confused with nuances. Farrah Fawcett's illness has forced us to regard someone with all the complexity due her, and maybe to think about the value of those "pop culture icons" we take so much for granted. Fawcett's legacy shouldn't be whitewashed of her pop-cultural influence - this was important to defining an era, not to mention fun - but she also forced us to look beyond that, and this was important. It has to be said: may flights of angels sing you, Farrah.