A small army of showbiz celebs recently laid a three-day siege to Walden on Lake Conroe, near Houston, for the Jack Benny Memorial Tennis Classic. Their numbers included Dina Merrill, Cliff Robertson, Dinah Shore, Wayne Rogers, Dan Rowan, Janet Leigh, Lucie Arnaz, Kay Starr, Jean Simmons and Edgar Bergen.
But the 15,000 gawkers who helped raise $100,000 toward diabetes research had eyes only for celestial Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Almost a hometown girl (her parents have lived in the Houston suburb of Champions for the past 10 years), F F-M had to be walled in by a phalanx of security officers. Her every move—including 20-minute trips to the powder room—was planned like a military maneuver.
On one occasion, when TV’s Mike Connors approached her skirmish line, he was grabbed by a burly guard. “Careful, fella,” Connors snarled back in his best Mannix fashion, “I used to take care of guys like you for a living.”
Farrah chose a loose-fitting outfit for the competition. “When I’m on the court I never like low-cut tight clothes,” she purred. Aware of the recurrent comparisons with Marilyn Monroe she has inspired, Farrah noted, “She was very vulnerable and insecure. I’m not. I know what’s best for me—that’s why I’m leaving Charlie’s Angels.”
Among the Farrah boosters on hand were Dad and Mom, James and Pauline Fawcett. He is chief landscaper at the Walden resort, and he also runs a custodial service for suburban banks. The elder Fawcetts admit that they have lost all semblance of family privacy since their daughter became a household face (Jim: “Those people are tramping all over my bushes and destroying them”), but they can still manage the famous Fawcett smile. As Farrah says, “We’ve got a lot of teeth in this family.”