Mental Floss

R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett

Kara Kovalchik
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Farrah Fawcett was one of those rare "golden children." She was blessed with beauty from birth, and by the time she hit adolescence she'd been told "you're so pretty" so often that she began to feel self-conscious about it. She was voted "Best Looking" in her high school graduating class, and was a sorority sweetheart at the University of Texas-Austin. Farrah eventually succumbed to all the gushing about her looks and decided to try her luck in Hollywood. Her subsequent career had many peaks and valleys, but we at mental_floss prefer to focus on the "up and coming" portion of her life. Back when she was still a fresh-faced ingénue and hadn't yet starred in The Burning Bed or her own VH1 reality series.

Game shows used to be a useful stepping stone to fame for aspiring actors.

It was a way to get "noticed" by agents and casting directors (Kirstie Alley, Mel Harris and Kathy Najimy all appeared as game show contestants before getting their SAG cards). Farrah appeared on a 1969 episode of The Dating Game. Note that when the aspiring gallery owner was introduced, Bachelor Number One asked, "What was her name, please?" A few years later, everyone would know.

Farrah was 23 years old and had only been in Hollywood for three years when she landed a small but memorable role on The Partridge Family. Danny and Mr. Kincaid hired her to help them snap a photo of Harry Morgan bending down (to prove his "whiplash" was phony), but even 10-year-old Danny was mesmerized by Ms. Fawcett's effervescent beauty. "It was like the camera had a mind of its own," he later explained.

Ultra-Brite toothpaste was famous for its ""¦but mother never told me" advertising campaign during the early 1970s. With her mile-wide smile, Farrah was an obvious choice to feature in one of their commercials.

Farrah had the beginnings of her trademark "˜do here, but she was still considered to be the "unknown" in this Noxema commercial. Joe Namath was the star of the spot; Fawcett was cast as the typical arm candy that fawned over Broadway Joe during that era.

1975"¦a year when gasoline was cheap, cars were big, and the leonine features of Farrah Fawcett perfectly complemented Chauncey the Mercury Cougar. Would you buy a used car from this woman?

Farrah had been battling it out in the Hollywood trenches for several years before she'd earned enough money to hire a publicist, an acting coach, and "“ in retrospect, perhaps most prescient - a personal hair stylist. Hugh York first gave Farrah the layered, feathered, highlighted style that became her trademark. After she gained fame on Charlie's Angels, "stylists to the stars" Allan Edwards and Jose Eber would both help to maintain her trademark locks.

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