Farrah Fawcett — Glimpse into Life and Final Days of the Beloved 'Charlie's Angels' Star

Odette Odendaal
Jul 05, 2020
05:30 A.M.
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Farrah Fawcett was already a well-known Hollywood star when she died of anal cancer. Here's a glimpse into her career, love life, and battle with the dreadful disease that took her life.

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When doctors diagnosed Farrah Fawcett with anal cancer, she already had many rallying behind her. At that time, her career had already soared, leaving her with several fans and colleagues who turned into family.

Sadly, on June 25, 2009, the "Charlie's Angels" star passed away in Santa Monica, California. She was 62 at her time of death.

Farrah Fawcett poses for a photo before a red backdrop, circa 1976. | Source: Getty Images

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FIRST DIAGNOSIS

In 2006, Fawcett received her first anal cancer diagnosis. She looked as tan, healthy, and beautiful as ever at the time, but her health said otherwise. Shortly after she was declared cancer-free in 2007, the actress founded The Farrah Fawcett Foundation to aid in HPV-related cancer research.

Sadly, the status of her cancer was short-lived, as a routine check-up three months later revealed a small malignant polyp. Fawcett went to Germany to undergo experimental stem-cell treatment that was not readily available in the USA.

Within two years, Fawcett went back to Germany six times under the care of Dr. Ursula Jacob of the Alpenpark Clinic. 

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Fawcett filmed herself going through such a difficult journey, hoping it would document the reality of cancer patients. While in and out of the country, Fawcett's health fluctuated. Her long-time partner, Ryan O'Neal, shared:

"We had great promise. There were times when there seemed to be positive results. Farrah was even playing tennis."

Sadly the treatments didn't have the outcome they hoped for. "At about the halfway point in our trips, the news started to get darker and darker and darker," O'Neal continued

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HER FINAL DAYS

When all hope seemed lost, Fawcett continued to fight. She was a courageous woman who handled the situation all too well. Her best friend, Alana Stewart, shared:

"Her big message to people is: Don't give up, no matter what they say to you. Keep fighting!"

By the time her documentary, "Farrah's Story," was broadcasted, America's blonde beauty was clearly out of luck. "She had terrible luck," O'Neal said. "She tried so many different approaches," of which none worked.

Farrah Fawcett arrives at the Golden Globe Awards at Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California, January 1977. | Source: Getty Images

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During her final days, Fawcett worried about her family -- particularly, her son, Redmond, whom she shared with O'Neal. Fawcett's close friend Mela Murphy, who stayed by her side at St. John's Health Center, recalled the actress's final moments to People and said:

"She was saying his name, 'Redmond.' That was the last thing she said. I told her I'd take care of him, that I'll always be there for him."

The actress died a few hours later after what Jaclyn Smith, Fawcett's co-star in "Charlie's Angels," called a "relentless fight" against anal cancer. The love of her life held her hand throughout her journey, right till the end.

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“Farrah was glad she went public,” Stewart shared. “She got thousands of letters from people thanking her for her courage in coming forward to say she had anal cancer. That was her thing — to fight the fight.”

Farrah Fawcett poses in a denim shirt, circa 1980. | Source: Getty Images

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FAWCETT AND O'NEAL'S STORY

O'Neal and Fawcett's love story was anything but a fairytale. They met in 1981 when Fawcett's ex-husband, Lee Majors, introduced the two and suggested that they get together while he was gone.

Although they were never married, Fawcett and O'Neal had a son, Redmond, in 1985. Their relationship endured career lapses, turbulent behavior, and public drama.

The poster launched Fawcett into stardom since she had only landed minor roles and television commercials until that point. 

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But Fawcett called it off when she walked in on O'Neal in bed with another woman. O'Neal and Fawcett initially separated in 1997 after almost two decades together. 

In 2001, when O'Neal was diagnosed with leukemia, the pair found a way back to each other and reconciled until her demise in 2009. He shared:

"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."

After her death, O'Neal struggled to get back on track with his life. Three years later, he published "Both of Us: My Life with Farrah."

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FAWCETT'S ON-SCREEN LEGACY

During her acting career, Fawcett earned ten award wins and 23 nominations, including her role in the timeless hit classic "Charlie's Angels." Fawcett was an iconic blonde beauty whose unforgettable red swimsuit poster sold 12 million copies in 1976. 

It easily became the best-selling poster of all time. The poster launched Fawcett into stardom since she had only landed minor roles and television commercials until that point. 

She had even remained under the radar with roles in series such as "I Dream of Jeannie," "The Flying Nun," and a recurring role in "Harry O" when she decided to accept the poster deal.

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Fawcett's career was at an all-time high throughout the '80s. In 1984, her film "The Burning Bed," which she starred in and produced, garnered recognition and an Emmy nomination.

Two years later, her film "Extremities" was once again received in a positive light, and in 1989, she received her second Emmy nomination for the miniseries "Small Sacrifices." 

Fawcett was undoubtedly one of the greatest actresses of her time. Although her demise cut her time short, her legacy in Hollywood lives on forever.

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