Is there a red-blooded man who grew up in the '70s who did not have the red bathing-suit-clad Farrah Fawcett poster on his wall? (Photographer Bruce McBroom took the photograph at her house in 1976.)
Called "undeniably an icon" by David Letterman, blonde sex symbol Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett (1947-2009) first gained fame for her role as Jill Munroe on the popular TV series, Charlie's Angels.
Born on this day in Corpus Christi, Texas, the all-American miss was voted the most beautiful girl on campus in 1965 while studying sculpture at the University of Texas.
About her looks, Fawcett once said, "I thought Marilyn Monroe was the most beautiful woman in the world and Elizabeth Taylor breathtaking. But when I see myself on the screen I say: 'Oh shoot! What are they talking about?'"
With trademark lion's mane hair and toothy Pepsodent smile, Fawcett proved she could act, winning critical acclaim for dramatic roles in Murder in Texas, Burning Bed (1984) and Extremities (1986). Her 17-year relationship with actor Ryan O'Neal produced her only child, Redmond, born in 1985.
"The great thing about my career is that I would not have been devastated had it not worked out," she explained. "I had no expectations. So by not having expectations, I had no knowledge of the rules."
In 1997, the actress turned 50, made a controversial, off-the-wall appearance on Letterman's show, and posed nude for Playboy magazine. The next year, she won good reviews for her riveting role with Robert Duvall in the The Apostle.
"You work, work, work and every once in a while in your career something comes along to remind you: This is why you do it, this is why you're an actor." said Fawcett, who shared her pain with fans (Farrah's Story, 2009), then lost her long battle with anal cancer.
Rely on the wisdom of your intuition.