UPDATE FARRAH’S DEATH. Original story posted: Farrah near death – we’ll never forget these pop culture images – they’re etched into our minds


With the actress Farrah Fawcett and style icon reportedly close to death, just days after longtime love Ryan O’Neal revealed the couple were getting married, it’s had me thinking about life, celebrity, perception and most importantly, the legacies that all of us _ celebrity or not _ will end up leaving.

I’ve been reading up a bit about Ms Fawcett of late and caught a great special about her and her life on Foxtel a few weeks ago. The former Charlie’s Angels star, who was never really comfortable playing the token, delicious blond bombshell in the kinda silly TV series had a tough time trying to be taken seriously, when all anyone spoke about was how to achieve her long, blonde, layered mane of hair _ The Farrah. (And haven’t you noticed a few of those around the place: case in point was the former girlfriend of designer Wayne Cooper, the model Heidi Houghting, who was channeling a ‘Farrah’ look at his recent spring/summer fashion week show.)

Anyway, back to Farrah and it is only hours ago (AEST) she was apparently given the last rites by a priest in hospital. “It was just related to me, that our Farrah just given last rites. She is not in any pain. For those who believe make contact with god now,” her PR agency tweeted.

Diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, the one man who has, so nobly stood by her is fellow actor and great love, Ryan O’Neal: “I’ve asked her to marry me, again, and she’s agreed,” 68-year-old O’Neal told Barbara Walters, in a 20/20 interview which will air Friday, US time.

While the pair began dating in 1980 and had on-and-off-again relationships throughout the years, they have a son, 24-year-old Redmond (or Red) who has had his own battles with drug convictions.

Apparently O’Neal told NBC News in May that he has fallen even more in love with Fawcett since she began her battle with cancer: “I know this, that in the last two years I loved her more than I’ve ever loved her,” he told Meredith Vieira.

“She’s so much more of a woman … powerful, courageous, fearless and all those adjectives. And I look at her with awe.”

So here we have a woman whose darn sexy and fresh 70s/80s look made her a household name but had the balls and commitment to brush off all that transparency, turning to some ‘serious’ acting, getting great reviews playing a would-be rape victim in the Off-Broadway production and consequent film of Extremities; another strong role in The Burning Bed, when she played a victim of domestic abuse and others like The Apostle, Poor Little Rich Girl: the Barbara Hutton Story and another called Small Sacrifices.

While she, at least, washed the ‘blond bimbo’ tag out of her hair (excuse the pun) the one thing that she couldn’t get rid of, celebrity or not, was the insidious nature of cancer. Proving, yet again, cancer doesn’t discriminate.

It was in the mid nineties when some of her behaviour was a tad questionable – posing nude for Playboy in 1995 and 1997 and making a talk show appearance when she appeared, quite frankly, off the air. But you know what, you have to give it to a strong woman who then allowed her entire, arduous and tragic cancer treatment be filmed for a doco.

I have this extra-ordinary memory of sitting next to Roman Polanski and Farrah (they were at the table next to us) in Paris at the Hotel Costes, when I was covering the Paris fashion shows. I was mesmerised. Sure, there looked to have been a few too many trips to the cosmetic surgeon, but just to see the woman whose poster I had in my bedroom in late 70s – hoping I could mimic her hair (fat chance!) _ was the highlight of my entire working trip away.

So, her legacy? That predictable ‘blond bimbos’ CAN outlive that kind of typecasting and let’s face it, who will ever forget that hair, those teeth and that all-American look.

So, when your time comes Ms Fawcett, may you rest in peace and leave us with lots of great memories.