Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett — then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to "The Six Million Dollar Man" star Lee Majors — quickly became the most popular Angel of all.
Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah's faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favorite with male viewers in particular.
The public and the show's producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series' first season that she was leaving television's No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Ladd became the new "Angel" on the series.)
But film turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery "Somebody Killed Her Husband," flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled "Somebody Killed Her Career."
The actress had also been in line to star in "Foul Play" for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. Fawcett told the Associated Press in 1979 that Spelling-Goldberg sabotaged her, warning "all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me."
She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of "Charlie's Angels" a season, an experience she called "painful."
After a short string of unsuccessful movies, Fawcett found critical success in the 1984 television movie "The Burning Bed," which earned her an Emmy nomination.
As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in "Extremities," playing a woman who seeks revenge against her attacker after being raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.
Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type to take on roles as a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story "Small Sacrifices" and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992's "Criminal Behavior."