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Good Sports aired from January until July 1991 on CBS.

Gayle Roberts ( Farrah Fawcett), was totally unprepared for the shock of Bobby Tannen ( Ryan O'Neal), entering her life for the second time, twenty years after a weekend fling in college that she had never forgotten and he couldn't remember. Over the intervening years, she had gone from being a supermodel to carving out a career for herself as a talented , hardworking sports journalist. Bobby, a star football player in college and later with the Green Bay Packers had not been so fortunate. Relying on his football skills and good looks could only take him so far, especially since he wasn't to bright and had a temper that constantly got him into trouble. Bobby was desperate for a job when blustery, egocentric, R.J. Rappaport ( Ted Turner with a Texas drawl played by Lane Smith), the cable television magnet gave him an on-air tryout co-anchoring " Sports Central" on his cable network ASCN ( All Sports Cable Network). Rappaport liked having the ex-jock around and liked the sparks that flew between Bobby and Gayle on the air-caused by her resentment of Bobby's obvious lack of reportial skills and the fact that he had totally forgotten their college relationship. Bobby really wanted to make good and sought her help , eventually falling in love with her and proposing to her.

Others seen regularly in this spoof of tv sports programming were Jeff Mussberger and Missy Van Johnson ( Cleavant Derricks, Christine Dunford), ACSN's other featured reporters; Mac MacKenney( Brian Doyle-Murray), the harried producer who agreed with everything Rappaport said; Leash ( Paul Feig), the watchdog hired by Bobby's mother to try to keep him out of trouble; and Nick Calder ( William Katt), Gayle's boyfriend who went nuts after she dumped him and started to show real interest in Bobby. Additionally, a number of real sports personalities showed up, primarily as comic interview guests on ASCN's " Sports Chat." Among them were Kareem Abdul -Jabbar, Lyle Alzado, Jim Brown, Bruce Jenner, George Steinberger, George Foreman, and Pete Rose.

Besides it's big name stars, Good Sports offered lots of sly little spoofs of television and celebrity. In the opening each week an elegant Bobby swept glamorous Gayle away in a dance sequence worthy of Astaire and Rogers-then absentmindedly left her hanging from a chandelier; during the episode itself, characters would wander over to the nearby set of RJ's comedy network ) like Ted Turner, R.J. ran lots of cable networks)-the Rap-HA-port Network-where a standup comic would pitch one-lners at them from the stage as they tried to sort out their problems.

An Article from the Chicago Tribune

Fawcett Hopes To Keep New Show Up To Date And Above Average
January 17, 1991|By Barbara Szul.

``Talking about myself is really difficult,`` Farrah Fawcett said during a telephone conversation to promote ``Good Sports,`` a CBS midseason replacement series that costars her real-life partner Ryan O`Neal.

``It`s all been said and written about,`` she said. ``Who wants to hear about it anymore?``

Since her days with ``Charlie`s Angels,`` Fawcett has been a media phenomenon. She has graced hundreds of magazine covers and thousands of walls, in poster form.

Although the fanfare has subsided since its peak in the late 1970s, it seems there will always be interest in a celebrity who has ridden a roller coaster of public opinion. Only those comatose for the last 14 years are likely to have missed Fawcett`s meteoric rise to superstardom and her swift fall.

Much to her credit, Fawcett regained esteem as an actress on stage and in TV mini-series such as ``The Burning Bed`` and last season`s ``Small Sacrifices.``

CBS is counting on this appeal to attract viewers.

``If the show is good and interesting, people will watch,`` Fawcett said. ``If we`re not, I don`t want people to watch anyway.``

The series (8:30 p.m. Thursdays, WBBM-Ch. 2), which debuted last week, concerns the love-hate relationship between mismatched anchors on

SportsCentral, a low-rent show that airs on an all-sports cable network. Fawcett plays Gayle Roberts, a supermodel turned hard-working sports journalist who loathes her frivolous new partner, Bobby Tannen (O`Neal), a one-time bad boy of pro football and an ex-con. Before landing the anchor job, Bobby was delivering pizzas.

The odd-couple pairing is what Fawcett likes most. ``The relationship between the characters is a story within the story,`` she said. ``It`s an added edge.``

In the premiere, the anchors found themselves sparring on camera during an interview with Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, who played himself. Professional quarterback Doug Williams appears in the second episode and finds himself in a similar situation.

CBS has ordered 22 episodes of the show, which incorporates real sports-film footage.

Wackiness also plays a part in the series: The network`s offices are a maze of cubicles; Bobby gets caught eating his lunch on air; Bobby buys Gayle a goldfish after accidentally burning down her apartment building.

``I`m happier with the show every day,`` Fawcett said. ``It`s still pretty much in its infancy, and even though we`ve (completed taping) eight shows, we`re still in the creative process.``

Fawcett admitted she would have liked to have reshot the first two episodes because she now has a better understanding of the characters.

``You always feel you could do it better,`` she said. ``As it is, the show is very ambitious. Hopefully, we can keep it progressive, current and interesting and not be satisfied with what is the accepted norm for television.

``We don`t really know where the characters are going. It`s sort of like life. They might get married. They might separate. That could be Year 3. There`s all sorts of possibilities.

``I`m glad to have sports as the background because as things occur in real life, they can be incorporated into the show,`` Fawcett added. ``We can go with the flow. I want to do a show about women in the locker room.``

The show, created by Alan Zweibel, was written for Fawcett and O`Neal, who were looking for a project to work on together.

``This one had a particular feel that we liked,`` Fawcett said. ``We liked Alan Zweibel very much, and we wanted to work on something funny. It all jelled.``

As for working with her mate, Fawcett said it`s ``interesting`` but

``never boring.``

``It`s the first time we`ve worked together everyday,`` said Fawcett, who co-starred with O`Neal in ``Small Sacrifices.`` ``It`s like being on the edge, because we know each other so well, but we`re playing characters; it`s an added element.

``This is the first time I`m doing full-out comedy, and I love it,``

Fawcett said.

Even the show`s title sequence, which lists the stars as Farrah Fawcett vs. Ryan O`Neal, goes for laughs. Fawcett and O`Neal, dressed in evening clothes, do a fight-dance to a funky theme song sung by Al Green, with O`Neal ending up on the floor and Fawcett dangling from a chandelier.

An Article From The washington Post

By Michael E. Hill January 20, 1991

"I've thrown myself into this, lock, stock and barrel," said Ryan O'Neal of his work as actor and owner of a new TV sitcom called "Good Sports."

So, Ryan, what's it like working in series television after a long string of theatrical movies that ended three or four years ago?

"It's just nice to be working," he said. "I try not to cry myself to sleep. An actor not acting is not alive. I'm alive now."

On paper, there's a long list of reasons why Ryan's "Good Sports" should quietly disappear from the CBS schedule without a trace.

To start, it's on Thursday night at 9:30, opposite that NBC program juggernaut. Come to think of it, the list doesn't have to go any further than that.

On the other side of the page, there are a few reasons why it just might stick. To start, it stars Farrah Fawcett. Come to think of it, that list doesn't have to go much further, either. But it does.

She has in tow O'Neal, her housemate of 10 years and the father of her son. Theirs seems to be as oddly interesting a relationship on television as it's been in the tabloids all these years.

Fawcett has a long trail of television successes, starting with her work in "Charlie's Angels." She played the battered wife in "The Burning Bed," one of television's most successful movies ever. Most recently she had the lead in "Small Sacrifices," a miniseries about a woman convicted of killing her children. In short, she's a certified TV star.

But what steps does O'Neal bring to the dance?

It's been a long time since he did series television ("Peyton Place"), and he basically fashioned his career out of a long list of theatrical films. Some of them were quite funny ("Nickelodeon," for instance), suggesting he might find a home in comedy. And he's used to sharing the screen with strong actresses, including Barbra Streisand and his daughter, Tatum O'Neal. So maybe it will work out after all.

"I got lucky in the beginning," Ryan said. "I worked with Streisand. She's great at comedy. I came from 'Peyton Place' and 'Love Story.' It was all so heavy. And {director} Peter Bogdanovich was good at making a scene crackle. I did three pictures with him and two with Barbra. I have all the information I need for what I'm doing now."

O'Neal's life seems to inform the series. He plays Bobby Tannen, a former football star with a tattered past who has fallen on hard times. His salvation comes in the form of a job as a sportscaster, working alongside a former super-model now making her way in sports journalism.

As Tannen, O'Neal pleaded in the pilot episode, "I need this job." He said something like that in describing his real career. Indeed, when it comes to screen work, it has been a bit of a dry spell for O'Neal.

"I went from 'Barry Lyndon' to playing a a guy carrying two bloody heads" {in "Tough Guys Don't Dance"}, said O'Neal. That was three years ago. "My fortunes had changed," he said.

Things began to change for the better when a long-dormant idea for O'Neal to do television suddenly took shape.

"This came together magically," O'Neal recalled. "I had just run into {producer} Bernie Brillstein at a gym -- he's a friend -- and we got to talking and he asked if I'd be interested in doing a sitcom. They had a writer with an idea: sort of a 'Tonight Show' couple who interview people in their homes. So I went home and told Farrah."

Alan Zweibel, another of the show's producers, came up with a treatment with a cable TV sports show setting. The gimmick: Famous athletes do cameo appearances. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in the pilot and former Redskin quarterback Doug Williams showed up last week. That trend should continue. And the fun part is that O'Neal's character is more likely to quarrel with his guests than to gush over them.

In the first nine episodes, O'Neal encounters the likes of George Steinbrenner -- "I turned on him, but I loved George Foreman. In one of the shows I have to fight Jim Brown."

Then there's the love-hate relationship with his co-anchor, Fawcett. The tone was set early when it was revealed that they had had a hot one-night stand during Tannen's playing days. This bit of history comes to the surface because Fawcett's character, Gayle Roberts, has to remind Tannen of it. Forget an evening with Farrah Fawcett? Oh, well.

They are likely to keep their distance for some time. "We're filming the 10th episode," O'Neal said, "and we're still at arms' length. We've had a couple of moments of closing the gap, but basically she doesn't care for me, doesn't respect me."

The situation is similar, of course, to the love-hate relationship that has helped make "Cheers" a long-lived, top-rated show.

But "Good Sports" does not have a favorable timeslot or the network foundation of NBC's "Cheers."

"The timeslot's not great," O'Neal said. "They {CBS} don't have any timeslots, really. Our ads say, 'Tune us in right after "Cheers."' On another network. That was Farrah's idea."

Fawcett also helped design the sets -- "I was always trying to get her to rehearse and she was conferring on the layout of the apartments."

Along with an ownership position in the show come other proprietary chores for Fawcett and O'Neal. Such as editing the show. "We own the shows, and we want them to be good," O'Neal said. "We have an editing machine, and we come together with three edited versions of the show: the director's, producer's and owners'. It's fun for us. In movies, you don't get to edit your own pictures; you just walk away."

To his credit -- and to the benefit of the show -- editor O'Neal has not relegated to the cutting room floor a number of script references that poke him squarely in the ribs. There was a mention of "Love Story" in the pilot and, speaking of ribs, early in the series he was referred to as chubby. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to get back into the gym.

O'Neal has spent a lot of time in gyms. He was an amateur boxer and has managed fighters. And he's put up his dukes in some of his films.

"I loved the canvas, still do," O'Neal said. "I promised Farrah I would take her to the Foreman-Holyfield match in April."

O'Neal will turn 50 that month. "I feel fine," he said. "A little slower than I remember. I'm still boxing. I have a racquetball court. But I don't get a chance to work out."

In addition to Fawcett's looks and spunk and O'Neal's easy charm, a prime asset of the show is Lane Smith as the owner of the show's cable sports network (which is a dead ringer for ESPN). Smith, whose familiar face became memorable when he played Richard Nixon in television's "The Final Days," here takes on an acid comic style.

"He's using a few of his Nixon licks, I think," O'Neal said. "There's something a bit demonic about him."

At the heart of the show, though, is Fawcett's enduring TV presence. O'Neal and the show's producers -- Brillstein, Zweibel and Brad Grey -- are relying on Fawcett to do more than write ad copy and arrange the furniture.

"We're counting on the fact that Farrah's well-known on television," O'Neal said. "I need this job."

A Review from USA TODAY


Farrah and Ryan make a winning combination

Foxy Farrah Fawcett and roly-poly Ryan O'Neal-love means never having to say you're unemployed.

But would that all Hollywood amour could result in sizzling silliness on the scale of Good Sports, which is great fun.

This long-time couple bring substantual glammour to the lightweight lunacy of squabbling sports anchors at a delightfully cheesy cable station.

This is a star vehicle of the highest order, designed to showcase its talents in a way that makes everyone look like they're having a grand time.

As Gayle Roberts, a former supermodel ( Sports Illustrated covers) who takes her sportscasting career very seriously , Fawcett looks and sounds sensational. Her biggest problem will be to keep from becoming an unmitigated shrew.

Not easy when the scripts pit her so nastily against O'Neal's adorable " Downtown" Bobby Tannen, a fadded football pro reduced to pizza delivery hack as the series opens.

Those who recall his light touch in What's Up Doc? won't be surprised at how agreeable O'Neal's eagerness to please is-even as Gayle sabotages him on the air and fires withering glances at his bumbling.

Beyond the love-hate contrivances, Good Sports works as a spoof of fawning jock talk ( with hilariously stiff cameos by athletes like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and of cheapskate cable operations. Lane Smith gives smooth support as a Ted Turner-like cable impresario.

Some elements are depressingly flat-Brian Doyle Murray as an unctuous producer, Lois Smith as Bobby's clinging mother-but generally the writing is sharp and the leads are sharper.

The nifty opening credits, a hot black-tie tango of choreographed pratfalls, bills the stars as " Farrah Fawcett vs Ryan O'Neal." Not a chance.

They may bicker, but their affection and tandem joy are clear and contagious . They make a winning team.

A Review from Entertainment Weekly

TV Review
By Ken Tucker

Good Sports (CBS, Thursday, 9:30-10 p.m.) is a small triumph of packaging. This sitcom pairs Farrah Fawcett with Ryan O'Neal, a couple favored by the tabloids in real life; their show features prime time's best theme song (soul great Al Green in his funkiest performance in a decade) and the best opening credits (O'Neal in a tux, Fawcett in a tight black cocktail dress, alternately tangoing and wrestling on an abandoned dance floor). The show itself? Pretty good, quite shrewd, and very intriguing. Fawcett is a sportscaster for a cable sports network; when her co-anchor dies, she's teamed with O'Neal, a former pro footballer fallen on hard times (his previous job was delivering pizza). Their lines are sharp, and each is perfect-Fawcett, self-absorbed and sleek; O'Neal, self-parodying and pudgy. Fawcett has spent so many years proving her credentials as a serious actress that it's fun to see her relax into comedy. Right now her character is rather stiff-necked-she disapproves a bit too strenuously of O'Neal's rowdy sense of humor and lack of professionalism. But this is less Fawcett's problem than the writers'-they have to find a way to allow her to loosen up, to use that toothy smile and sex-symbol image to convey both warmth and humor. O'Neal, on the other hand, has found himself a great character. As down- and-out Bobby Tannen, he's completely convincing; he carries his bulkiness with the surprising grace of an ex-athlete. Then, too, O'Neal is savvy enough to know that, to a certain extent, he's being used-when we watch Ryan O'Neal play a once-famous figure gone to seed, we can't help but think of the actor's own stalled movie career. O'Neal, to his credit, seems to relish making fun of his real-life dilemma. As Bobby, he whines, ''I really want this job!''; in a recent TV Guide interview, he claims he sold Fawcett on the notion of doing the show by pleading, ''I need this. I need this.'' If Good Sports is a hit, O'Neal may finally get the credit he deserves as a skilled light comedian, a side of his personality he'd previously displayed only in What's Up, Doc? (1972) and the underrated So Fine (1981). But Good Sports doesn't succeed on star power alone; there's also a solid cast of supporting characters. Lane Smith, extraordinary as Richard Nixon in The Final Days miniseries (1989), is terrific as a huffy, Ted Turner-ish cable channel owner; Brian Doyle-Murray is satisfyingly subtle as the show's obsequious producer. So what's bad about Good Sports? Just the premise: We're supposed to think that Fawcett and O'Neal hate each other on the surface and have the hots for each other just below it. But isn't this Will They Do It? question precisely what hobbled shows such as Moonlighting and Anything But Love? If the couple in question doesn't get together, the series is in danger of becoming a tiresome tease; if they do, the suspense dissipates. How the show will resolve this problem remains to be seen. In the meantime, here is a sitcom that creates a beguiling new genre: the goofily erotic. B+

A Review From Time Magazine

Big stars cannot redeem bad sitcoms. This season has already brought us Burt Reynolds sleepwalking through the overrated CBS comedy Evening Shade. Now Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal have set back their careers about 10 years (three for her; seven for him) by fronting another grueling CBS entry, Good Sports. Fawcett plays Gayle Roberts, a veteran anchor for an all-sports network run by a Ted Turner-like mogul. O'Neal is "Downtown" Bobby Tannen, an ex-football star fallen on hard times, who is brought in to be her on-air partner. Their bickering, Moonlighting-style relationship is signaled none too subtly in the opening cast credits: "Farrah Fawcett vs. Ryan O'Neal."

TV shows set in TV newsrooms represent a low ebb of creative imagination, but Good Sports may set a record for ineptitude. Creator Alan Zweibel (It's Garry Shandling's Show) flicks in a few satirical jabs at TV, but mostly he seems tuned to another channel. The characters are so woozily out of focus that after two episodes one still can't tell whether Bobby is supposed to be simply naive or mentally retarded. Or why Gayle, the TV pro, keeps having spats with him in front of a nationwide audience. Or why, when he rents an apartment directly opposite hers, she doesn't at least draw the shades. Or why . . . awww, never mind.

Here is Lane Smith's Obituary

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
By Myrna Oliver
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 15, 2005

Lane Smith, the actor who portrayed President Nixon in the 1989 docudrama "The Final Days" and apoplectic Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 1990s television series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," has died. He was 69.

Smith died Monday at his Los Angeles home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, his family said.

A veteran stage actor with scores of character parts in film and television, Smith achieved instant fame when he took on the role of Nixon in the production based on the book "The Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Smith's performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Although he had been acting for three decades when he was cast as Nixon, Smith told Newsday when the show aired that he considered the role "a tremendous career break."

"It's an actor's dream to play something like this," he said. "I consider this my masterwork."

The program itself generated controversy with Nixon supporters labeling it a "smear," and Nixon critics saying it was too sympathetic to the fallen leader. But Smith won critical praise for capturing the physical gestures, mannerisms and what he considered the Greek tragedy of the only U.S. president forced to resign in disgrace.

Newsweek called Smith's portrayal "a towering performance" and said: "This docudrama is a one-man show, and perhaps the most incandescent ever to ignite the tube."

And Newsday said Smith "is such a good Nixon that his despair and sorrow at his predicament become simply overwhelming."

"The Final Days" greatly enhanced Smith's reputation.

"Playing Nixon gave me tremendous recognition," Smith told United Press International a year after the docudrama aired. "I'd long been known in the business, but it pulled everything together. Finally people could put the name Lane Smith with my face."

In 1991, he landed regular roles in two short-lived television series, as cable television mogul R.J. Rappaport in "Good Sports" starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, and as suitor for star Teri Garr's mother in "Good and Evil."

In short order, he also played a hockey coach in the highly popular "The Mighty Ducks," a politician in Eddie Murphy's "The Distinguished Gentleman" and a lawyer in "My Cousin Vinny," all released in 1992.

And then along came Superman.

Smith had been a regular on other series, including the title character's mentor in the 1986 medical drama "Kay O'Brien" and a corrupt industrialist aiding menacing aliens in the 1985 sci-fi series "V." But "Lois and Clark," which starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher and ran on ABC from 1993 to 1997, would be his most enduring employer.

In the updated take on the caped crusader from Krypton, White's favorite expression changed from "Great Caesar's ghost!" to "Great shades of Elvis!" and the editor spewed Elvis trivia.

Smith was born in Memphis, Tenn., on April 29, 1936, and grew up wanting to act.

He studied drama for two years at what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before dropping out for a two-year Army hitch. He later moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio.

Smith made his off-Broadway debut in 1959 and acted in several plays on and off Broadway.

Notwithstanding the Nixon role, his real career break came in the late 1960s when he played Randle Patrick McMurphy for 650 off-Broadway performances of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Better roles followed, and he went on to play characters as diverse as artist Modigliani, writer Jack Kerouac and dictator Adolf Hitler.

Smith earned a Drama Desk Award for his role in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Glengarry Glen Ross" in 1984.

The actor made his motion picture debut in 1970 in Norman Mailer's "Maidstone," and in 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on film and television work.

His first motion picture starring role came in 1988 when he played the warden in "Prison" with Viggo Mortensen.

Smith is survived by his wife of four years, Debbie, and his son from a previous marriage, Robertson.

Here is Farrah Fawcett's Obituary from The New York Times

Farrah Fawcett Dies of Cancer at 62

Published: June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett, an actress and television star whose good looks and signature flowing hairstyle influenced a generation of women and bewitched a generation of men, beginning with a celebrated pinup poster, died Thursday morning in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 62 and lived in West Los Angeles.

Her death, at St. John's Health Center, was caused by anal cancer, which she had been battling since 2006, said her spokesman, Paul Bloch.

To an extraordinary degree, Ms. Fawcett's cancer battle was played out in public, generating enormous interest worldwide. Her face, often showing the ravages of cancer, became a tabloid fixture, and updates on her health became staples of television entertainment news.

In May, that battle was chronicled in a prime-time NBC documentary, Farrah's Story, some of it shot with her own home video recorder. An estimated nine million people viewed it. Ms. Fawcett had initiated the project with a friend, the actress Alana Stewart, after she first learned of her cancer.

Ms. Fawcett's doctors declared her cancer-free after they removed a tumor in 2007, but her cancer returned later that year. She had been receiving alternative treatment in Germany and was hospitalized in early April for a blood clot resulting from that treatment, according to her doctor, Lawrence Piro. He also said her cancer had spread to her liver.

Ms. Fawcett's career was a patchwork of positives and negatives, fine dramatic performances on television and stage as well as missed opportunities.

She first became famous when a poster of her in a red bathing suit, leonine mane flying, sold more than twice as many copies as posters of Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable combined. No poster like it has achieved anywhere near its popularity since, and, arriving before the Internet era, in which the most widely disseminated images are now digital, it may have been the last of its kind.

Ms. Fawcett won praise for her serious acting later in her career, typically as a victimized woman. But she remained best known for the hit 1970s television show Charlie's Angels, in which she played Jill Munroe, one of three beautiful women employed as private detectives by an unseen male boss who (in the voice of John Forsythe) issued directives and patronizing praise over a speaker phone. Her pinup fame had led the producers to cast her.

Ms. Fawcett and her fellow angels, played by Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, brought evildoers to justice, often while posing in decoy roles that put them in skimpy outfits or provocative situations.

Charlie's Angels, created and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg for ABC, was a phenomenon, finishing the 1976-77 season as the No. 5 network show, the highest-rated television debut in history at that time.

Ms. Fawcett was its breakout star. Although she left the show after one season and returned only sporadically thereafter, the show's influence among other things, it inspired two much later feature films starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu was so indelible that she was forever associated with it.

The series, whose popularity coincided with the burgeoning women's movement, brought new attention to issues of female sexuality and the influence of television. Commentators debated whether the show's athletic, scantily clad heroines were exemplars of female strength or merely a harem of pretty puppets doing the bidding of a patriarchal leader.

As the show's most popular star, Ms. Fawcett became another sort of poster girl, for the jiggle TV of the 70s, and a lightning rod for cultural commentators. Chadwick Roberts, writing in The Journal of Popular Culture in 2003, described her unbound, loose and abundant hair as marking a new emphasis on femininity after the androgyny of the late 60s and early 70s.

In 1978 Playboy magazine called Ms. Fawcett the first mass visual symbol of post-neurotic fresh-air sexuality. She herself put it more plainly: When the show got to be No. 3, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be No. 1, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.

Ms. Fawcett acknowledged that her sex symbol status was a mixed blessing. It made her famous, but it often obscured the acting talent that brought her three Emmy nominations, most notably for The Burning Bed, a critically acclaimed movie about spousal abuse.

I don't think an actor ever wants to establish an image, she said in an interview with The New York Times in 1986. That certainly hurt me, and yet that is also what made me successful and eventually able to do more challenging roles. That's life. Everything has positive and negative consequences.

Ferrah Leni Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Tex., on Feb. 2, 1947. Her father, James, worked in the oil pipeline industry; her mother, Pauline, was a homemaker.

After dropping out of the University of Texas, Ms. Fawcett moved to Hollywood to pursue acting. She soon found work in commercials for Wella Balsam shampoo and Noxzema shaving cream, among other products. A Noxzema commercial in which she shaved the face of the football star Joe Namath was shown during the 1973 Super Bowl.

Ms. Fawcett also found acting work in television, landing guest roles on I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun and other sitcoms. She appeared in four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, whose star, Lee Majors, she had married in 1973. When Ms. Fawcett was cast on Charlie's Angels, she had a clause written into her contract that allowed her to leave the set every day in time to prepare dinner for Mr. Majors.

She was billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors until 1979. She and Mr. Majors divorced in 1982.

The poster that ignited Ms. Fawcett's career was shot at the Bel Air home she shared with Mr. Majors. She was just this sweet, innocent, beautiful young girl, said Bruce McBroom, who took the photograph. Searching for a backdrop to Ms. Fawcett in her one-piece red swimsuit (which she chose instead of a bikini because of a childhood scar on her stomach), he grabbed an old Navajo blanket from the front seat of his 1937 pickup.

After leaving Charlie's Angels to pursue a film career (she came back for guest appearances for two more seasons), Ms. Fawcett made three forgettable movies in quick succession, then salvaged her reputation by returning to television. In 1981 she starred in the mini-series Murder in Texas, as the wife of a doctor who is subsequently accused of murdering her; in 1984 she made The Burning Bed.

Both movies were shown on NBC, and both performances received strong reviews. In The Burning Bed, Ms. Fawcett was one of the first prime-time actresses to forgo cosmetics in favor of a convincing characterization.

In 1983 she played another victimized woman who fights back a vengeance-seeking rape victim in the Off Broadway production of Extremities. She took over for Karen Allen, who had replaced Susan Sarandon. Ms. Fawcett went on to star in the film version of the play in 1986.

Other roles followed in film and television she won praise again in the searing 1989 television movie Small Sacrifices but throughout, Ms. Fawcett tended to attract more attention for her looks and personal life than for her professional accomplishments. Her long relationship with the actor Ryan O'Neal, with whom she had a son, kept her on the gossip pages long after her television work had become sporadic. In recent months she and Mr. O'Neal had been living together. Interviewed by Barbara Walters this month on the ABC program 20/20, Mr. O'Neal said that he had asked Ms. Fawcett to marry her and she had said yes.

In 1997 Ms. Fawcett negated much of the respect she had earned as an actress when, during an appearance on Late Show With David Letterman, she promoted a bizarre body-painting Playboy video and appeared ditsy to the point of incoherence.

But later that year she appeared in the acclaimed independent film The Apostle as Robert Duvall's long-suffering wife, and her critical star rose again only to be dimmed by publicity about a court case involving a former companion, the director James Orr. Mr. Orr was convicted of assaulting Ms. Fawcett and sentenced to three years probation.

In addition to Mr. O'Neal, Ms. Fawcett is survived by her father, James, and her son, Redmond James Fawcett O'Neal.

Though her career was volatile, Ms. Fawcett's fame never diminished after Charlie's Angels. She tried to capitalize on her celebrity with the 2005 reality series Chasing Farrah, but it was a critical and ratings flop. Writing in Medialife magazine, Ed Robertson described the series and its star as a living example of a talented actress whose career has been turned into a parody by poor decisions.

Ms. Fawcett herself described her career succinctly. I became famous, she said in her 1986 Times interview, almost before I had a craft.

To read some articles about Good Sports go to and and and

To watch clips from Good Sports go to

For more on Good Sports go to

To go to The Farrah Fawcett Foundation go to

To go to a page with lots of pictures of Farrah Fawcett go to

For a website on all the latest news from Farrah Fawcett go to

For an article about Ryan O'Neal remembering Farrah on the one year anniversary of her death go to

For some Good Sports-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sun April 17, 2016 � Filesize: 44.9kb, 173.5kbDimensions: 1600 x 1200 �
Keywords: Ryan O'Neal & Farrah Fawcett (Links Updated 7/29/18)


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