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Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009)


  1. Ali MacGraw, The Getaway, 1972.    She had been seen - briefly - in bed with Raquel Welch in Myra Breckenridge but had not yet begun her TV fame as one of  Charlie’s Angels when she made Sam Peckinpah’s list (at #4) for the wife of Steve McQueen’s career criminal.   Also in the frame: Dyan Cannon, Angie Dickinson, Cybill Shepherd. Except Paramount boss Robert Evans wanted a change of image for his missus. "I can see it now - McQueen & MacGraw." Huge mistake. Ali ran off with her co-star.  And wed him during 1973-1978. McQueen & McQueen. 
  2. Marcia Strassman, Welcome Back Kotter, TV, 1975-1979.   Fawcett and Kate Jackson were among the auditioners for Julie Kotter but NBC didn’t think the public woupld believe either one was wed to  Gabe Kaplan.  Say what, cried Strassman.  "And you think I do look like Gabe Kaplan's wife? Thanks a lot!"  The following year, Fawcett and Jackson became became two of Charlie’s Angels, for five and four years respectively - and buriedKotterin the ratings.But then, so did the girls’ Kotter, Facts of Life, the longest running TV series with an all female cast, 1979-1988.
  3. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.  “Marty’s misogyny was apparent from his casting,” said co-producer Julia Phillips about director Martin Scorsese.   “We’d interviewed just about every blonde on both coasts and still he kept looking, looking, looking.”   Phillips liked Farrah for “her fine bones, aquiline profile, big teeth and thin body... De Niro hated her.” You keep saying you need “a Cybill Shepherd type,” said   her agent Sue Mengers, “well, she’s here!   And she’ll quit Nickelodeon for you...” “Marty picked Cybill,” said Phillips, “for her big ass, a retro Italian   gesture...   shot her ass at it widest point, not flattering from a Vogue point of view.”   Phillips begged him to cut   it.   But no... “I'm Italian and I love it.”
  4. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  There were other Carries later on (even a TV series was planned) but none had the Spacek magic…  Betsy Slade was director Brian De Palma’s earliest choice (due to her abortion-seeking teen in Our Time, 1973), then her co-star Pamela Sue Martin, then Amy Irving (who wed his pal, Steven Spielberg). Linda Blair auditioned but avoided all post-Exorcist typecasting. Farrah Fawcett was stuck in Charlie’s Angels.  Sondra Locke’s agent told her to pass. Also seen: Jill Clayburgh, future bunny-boiler Glenn Close and Melanie Griffith (who became De Palma’s Body Double, 1984).  Slade only made one other film, a short, her final work in 1991; her 15 other screen roles were for TV. Sissy knew director Palma  (her husband Jack Fisk was his  art director) and was seriously pissed that he’d only offered her Sue or Chris and not The Role.  Fisk persuaded him to test her and she blew all opposition out of the park. Carrie was 17, Sissy was  25.  Yet, absolutely perfect!
  5. Cheryl Ladd, Charlie’s Angels, TV, 1977-1981. “When the show was #3, I figured it was our acting,” said Farrah. “When it got to #1, it could only be because none of us wears a bra.” Jigglevision was born and Fawcett stole the show as Jill Munroe, one of Charlie’s dazzling trio of private-eyefuls. Then, in what reads like a dry run for Suzanne Somers’ hassles during the same ABC network’s Three’s Company in 1981, Farrah was sued for qutting after the first season. She was Farrah Fawcett Majors by then and when Ladd arrived to replace her, she wore a t-shirt branded: Farrah Fawcett Minor.
  6. Jessica Lange, King Kong, 1977.       Charlie would not release his Angel.
  7. Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977.   The rôle was horrendous - a prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 possible little Violets - and another 15 actresses for her mother: Fawcett (passed), Candice Bergen, Cher, Glenn Close (passed), Mia Farrow, Jane Fonda (with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City together in 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.
  8. Goldie Hawn, Foul Play, 1978.     Charlie’s Angel was in a legal tussle with Charlie’s producers. Allowing Goldie a hit comeback after motherhood as (sic)   Gloria Munday.
  9. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.        Brand new auteur Steve Gordon knew exactly who was perfect. Dudley Moore as the titular rich drunk man-child and Minnelli as his lady. Orion Pictures also considered Fawcett, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz (1972’s Breezy, already looking for a comeback), Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd… even Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. Plus Tuesday Weld - in the throes of divorcing the titular Dud. Gordon made a big hit, but
    never a second film - he died at 44 in 1982.
  10. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leone claimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20. 

  11. Teri Garr, Mr Mom, 1983.    In  his first starring role, Michael Keaton was a sudden  house husband. His working wife - Mrs Dad? - was selected from Garr, Fawcett, Karen Allen, Valerie Curtin. and Sally Field.
  12. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  13. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  14. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  15. Ann Magnuson, Night of the Golden Eagle,  2001.     Fired! According to The New York Daily News. Not so, said Farrah. She was trying to fit the film in as a favour for the director but it clashed with her CBS tele-film, Jewel. Besides why share a movie with porn players Ron Jeremy and Kitten Natividad?
  16. Bo Derek, Tommy Boy, 1995.        Battle of the blondes to be... Rob Lowe’s mother and Chris Farley’s stepmother.
  17. Taylor Schilling, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.







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