Farrah Fawcett, 1947- 2009

Legendary style icon Farrah Fawcett succumbed to cancer today at the age of 62. Throughout her nearly 40 years in the entertainment industry, Fawcett set record sales and gained the public's affection of almost everything she touched.

Farrah Fawcett

    She starred in "Charlie's Angels" for only one season, which could have made Farrah Fawcett just another television footnote. But beyond her Chiclet smile and her sexy-yet-wholesome jiggle, there was The Hair -- a perfect storm of long, blond, feathered and feminine, with floppy bangs and bouncy sides, setting her apart from co-stars Jacqueline Smith and Kate Jackson (left and center). The look, created by Santa Monica snipper Allen Edwards, catapulted her to pop-cult stardom and hair history. Click on for more of its angel-winged legacy

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    In the mid-70s, when hair was either over-shagged or over-done, Farrah was a gorgeous Texas-born shampoo model whose mane was notable for its volume. Allen Edwards was a young California hairdresser with several salons and a sturdy celebrity clientele. "I remember seeing her on a Wella Balsam commercial and saying, 'Someday I'm gong to do her hair," Edwards told StyleList. Coincidentally, customer Jane Brolin (Josh's ex) walked into Edwards' Woodland Hills shop one day with Fawcett by her side. "It was," he laughs, "the weirdest thing."

    Hulton Archive, Getty Images

    Farrah's tresses had been kept by hairdresser Hugh York, was looking for something beyond her tow-head blond color and her electric-roller curls, Edwards says. He decided to give her hair more layering and her color "lighter-brighter" highlights. (He used a dizzying 80 foils.) "She was pretty open to it," he says. "When a celebrity is kind of new -- at this point, the show hadn't started -- they're pretty open to change."

    Globe Photos

    In the sexually-liberated 70s, Farrah's loose, sexy mane wasn't just a departure, it was a revolution, as free as a night on the disco floor. "Women were used to Sassoon cuts and stiff bobs," says New York A-list hairstylist Oscar Blandi. "Everything was much more contained, much more coiffed. This was a more natural, free way to look. Farrah was the one who crossed over, and -- boom! -- everything changed. It was radical, in a soft, easy way."


    What made the cut so radical, Edwards says, were the layers. "The layers around the face are shorter. What made it different was that it wasn't full on top. It was flatter, and the 'Farrah' part was the edges, which went flipping back." Instead of rollers, Edwards used a small brush to curl the hair back when it was almost dry, working section by section, twisting from the middle of the hair shaft to the edge. "I'd curl, pin, curl, pin. And when it was done, I took the pins out, turned the hair upside down and brushed it out so you wouldn't have a 'set' look." The look complimented her facial structure, he says.
    "She has a very strong, squarish jaw, and with her hair long and moving away from her face, it took your eye away from it."

    Hulton Archive, Getty Images

    In 1977, Farrah quit "Charlie's Angels," determined to become a more "serious" actress. She quit Edwards too. "When she went on the Merv Griffin Show, she said she did her own hair. I got angry with her, and I never saw her again. I said that's not fair. But she was so tired of everyone talking about her hair. It was when she was going through a period of, 'No one is taking me seriously.' She never came back to me. I guess she was mad because I told her to leave the salon."

    Hulton Archive, Getty Images

    The stampede was inevitable. "She was the hottest thing on TV," says Edwards. "Because of the Sassoon sensation, everyone had ignored long hair. This was the first long hair style to be exciting." Edwards estimated that his salons alone were cutting several hundred copies a week. Farrah-the-Hair, of course, opened doors for Farrah-the-Celebrity. Faberge introduced Farrah Fawcett Shampoo, with the less-than-Farrah-licious tag: "I have a terrific new way to wash my hair. A shampoo with vitamins, minerals, proteins and herbs."


    Farrah eventually won acclaim for more serious movies like "The Burning Bed" and plays like "Extremities," and even changed her hair. Diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006, she says people still ask her about her hair.

    Kevin Winter, Getty Images

    Her famous hairstyle has now had three decades of influence and imitators. Heidi Klum, seen here in 2007, has riffed on it, albeit with a less feathery, more modern look.

    Henning Kaiser, AFP/Getty Images

    Madonna wore a Farrah-derived shag look to the 2008 Grammy Awards.

    Kevin Winter, Getty Images

After being voted Most Beautiful in 1965 at WB Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, Fawcett starred in commercials for Noxema, Ultra Brite toothpaste, Wella Balsam Shampoo, and even the Mercury Cougar car.

Fawcett broke into the Hollywood scene in 1976 when Aaron Spelling cast her as Jill Monroe, a sexy and smart private investigator on "Charlie's Angels." Although she only appeared on the television show for one season, her popularity spawned a new hair frenzy – every woman in the mid-70s wanted the "Farrah Do" -- and her 1976 sultry "red bathing suit" poster sold more than 8 million copies (and continues to hold the record for poster sales).

Fawcett continued to gain acclaim as an actor and even more as a style and beauty trendsetter. After appearing in dramatic roles and on the stage, Fawcett posed nude for the first time in the December 1995 issue of Playboy – it remained the best-selling issue of the magazine for the 1990s.

Fawcett most recently received her third Emmy in 2003 for per performance in "The Guardian" and chronicled her battle with cancer in the yet-to-be-released documentary, "A Wing and a Prayer." She leaves behind her longtime beau, Ryan O'Neal, and their 24-year-old son, Redmond.