Friday, 17 July 2009

Farrah Fawcett

Everyone over a certain age knows Farrah Fawcett. Back in the '70s she had the best hair ever, any girl who claimed to be female had a 'Farrah flick', and she had the biggest and best smile ever. She invented the American smile. She was also an original Charlie's Angel. Some things matter, and Farrah matters.

She died the same day/night that Michael Jackson died so all the media and publicity jumped on his bandwagon. To a degree, I'm pleased that happened - Farrah died with her dignity intact and didn't suffer the meedja circus of Michael.

The documentary of Farrah's last two years was shown tonight - I think it was shown just a few weeks before she died in America. It chronicles her fight against cancer over the last couple of years, her trips to hospital, her private moments, the lot, all filmed by her friend to be a public record. One of the key moments was showing a young Farrah in her 20s doing a commercial for cancer charities and then showing Farrah last year going through her cancer treatment.

A shocking moment was, late in the film, when we saw an almost bald Farrah, having lost most of her hair from the drugs. For someone who's been identified for over 30 years by their magnificent hair it was quite touching to see Farrah show herself without a hat or wig. Shortly before that scene we'd been shown Farrah and her personal hairdresser and friend combing her hair and clumps coming out, then singing and dancing to Michelle Shocked's 'When I Grow Up'. It was also nice to see her fellow 'Angels' who were still friends and still part of her extended family.

The documentary closed with Farrah's son, who'd been released from prison for 3 hours to see her, lying on the bed beside her talking to his mother. Ryan O'Neil did part of the narrating, assuring her son that she recognised him and knew who he was, being a good father.

It was all very touching. Farrah Fawcett was one of the golden people and, in a way, I'm pleased that her death was 'hidden' by Michael Jackson dying - at least she has her dignity. I hated the scenes in the film of the papperazzi taking photos of her going into and leaving hosipital - that was awful. How can people do that? Cancer saps enough of your strength and will without having to fight publicity hungry scum.

Everyone fell in love with Farrah in the '70s and through her subsequent work. I'll always remember the blond hair, big smile and beautiful woman. That can only be enhanced by her bravery during her cancer treatment, being filmed in the most unflattering ways but ways that help us understand the personal disaster of cancer. Let's hope her film improves cancer research and treatment. She was a beautiful and brave woman.

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