The photo of Farrah Fawcett in her red swimsuit first appeared in Life magazine in 1976 as an image that defined a decade. The poster soon found a home on the walls of teenage boys’ bedrooms, making Fawcett the most popular pin-up of our time, with 12 million copies sold.
ON A ROLL
America’s love affair with Fawcett began after she landed a role in producer Aaron Spelling’s hit crime series Charlie’s Angels. Though she only played Jill Munroe regularly for the premiere season, from 1976-77, it was enough to solidify her status as the breakout star of the show.
In a promotional shot for Charlie’s Angels, Fawcett and her costars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith strike a memorable pose – one that cemented their status as wholesome sex symbols.
Voted “Beautiful Woman” by her high school classmates in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Southern blonde also captured Hollywood’s attention with her signature tresses and mega-watt smile. She became the face of Wella Balsam shampoo and Ultra-Brite toothpaste.
After leaving Charlie’s Angels Fawcett tried her hand at the movies, starring in the 1979 film Sunburn, opposite Charles Grodin. The movie flopped, but Fawcett continued to have mass appeal.
It was a very merry Christmas for many men as Fawcett graced the December 1978 cover of Playboy. At 50, she did it again, landing on the cover of the December 1995 issue of Playboy – making it one of the best-selling issues of the magazine with more than 4 million copies sold worldwide.
In 1975, the then-aspiring actress went on to prove she wasn’t just another pretty face. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Fawcett tackled gritty roles in both television and film, including critically praised performances in The Burning Bed and The Apostle.