Farrah Fawcett’s Life Uncovered

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Whether it was because of her acting and modeling, or her million dollar smile, Farrah will forever remain an icon and we will always remember her. Here are some secrets that you might not know about the blonde bombshell.

Unrecognizable

In a Vanity Fair article, it was reported that Ryan O’Neal, Farrah’s longtime partner, was furious at her before she died because she couldn’t recognize him and kept calling him Steve. Allegedly, Steve is the name of her dealer.

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The Origin Of Farrah’s Name

Fawcett once said that her famous name “Farrah” was actually “made up” by her mother, Pauline Alice Fawcett, because it went well with their last name. Another theory behind the well-known name is that her father, James William Fawcett, reportedly thought it would suit her as it’s the Arabic word for “joy.” The spelling of the name which was originally, Farih, was switched after Pauline reportedly asked to change the spelling to “Farrah.” Thank goodness she did!

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W. B. Ray High School’s Most Beautiful

Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Fawcett’s early education was at the parish school of the church her family attended, which was St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. After grade school, Fawcett attended W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, where she graduated from and was voted “most beautiful” by her classmates during all four years. We can’t blame them, after all, Fawcett was clearly quite the stunner. Farrah was also on her high school’s cheerleading squad.

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New Girl On Campus

In 1965, Fawcett enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin, where she planned to study microbiology, but later decided to change her major to art with a focus in sculpting. Farrah opted for off campus housing and lived at Madison House on 22nd Street. During Fawcett’s freshman year, she was named one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Coeds On Campus,” becoming the first freshman in the school’s history to be chosen. Their photos were then sent to various agencies in Hollywood.

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College Dropout

After receiving photos from her school David Mirisch, a Hollywood agent, called Farrah and pleaded with her to fly to Los Angeles. Although she turned him down, Mirisch persisted and called her for the next two years. Finally, in the summer of 1968, following her junior year, Fawcett’s parents gave her permission to try her luck in Hollywood and she moved to California. Although this jump-started Farrah’s career, she unfortunately became labeled as a college drop out.

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She Didn’t Use A Mirror

In 1976, Pro Arts Inc. requested Farrah for a photo shoot with photographer Bruce McBroom. While getting ready for the shoot, Fawcett styled her own hair and did her makeup without any help or even a mirror! She enhanced her blonde highlights by squeezing lemon juice into her hair. From 40 rolls of film, Fawcett selected six of her favorite pictures and eventually the choice was narrowed to the one which made her famous. The resulting poster, of Fawcett in a one-piece red bathing suit.

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The Famous Red Bathing Suit

The red one-piece bathing suit Fawcett wore in her famous 1976 poster was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on February 2, 2011. The eye-catching swimsuit was designed by CFDA Award-winning fashion designer Norma Kamali and was donated to the Smithsonian by Farrah’s executors. It was Farrah’s longtime companion Ryan O’Neal however, who formally presented the bathing suit to NMAH in Washington, D.C. It’s now on display and can be viewed by the public.

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Famous Tennis Partners

Farrah and her ex-husband, television star Lee Majors, were frequent tennis partners with producer Aaron Spelling the man who cast Farrah in the production which made her a star. Spelling and his executives chose Fawcett to play Jill Munroe in their television show, Charlie’s Angels, which aired on ABC on March 21, 1976. The show starred Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith as P.I’s for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a multi-millionaire whom the women had never met.

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Distance Didn’t Make Their Hearts Grow Fonder

Because her former husband, Lee Majors, was already the star of an established TV show (ABC’s Six Million Dollar Man, which aired from 1974 to 1978) they were both very busy. This ended up putting a strain on their marriage due to filming schedules that kept them apart for long periods of time. The distance was frequently cited as the reason for their split but, Fawcett’s ambition to further her acting abilities in films has also been rumored to be an explanation.

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The Inevitable End

Farrah started dating Lee Majors during the late 1960’s. It seemed like a blooming affair that went by the book – they dated for years before finally tying the knot in 1973, and their highly publicized marriage was just short of hitting the 10 years mark. In an interview Lee gave to Fox411 many years later, he explained: “It was quite the extreme. It was probably like Brad and Jennifer when they were together. The press was all over us (…) Naturally, we really couldn’t go anywhere.”

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The Photoshoot That Caused Major Scandal

There are lines that celebrities draw when it comes to what they will and will not do, and Fawcett was one who usually didn’t cross that line. That is, until she got an offer she couldn’t refuse from a famous adult magazine. While Fawcett had steadfastly resisted baring it all in magazines throughout the 70s and 80s, she made an exception when she posed in the December 1995 issue of Playboy. This caused a major stir, and some even called the actress hypocritical.

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Fawcett Called Quits On Charlie’s Angels

In 1977, Farrah Fawcett decided to quit ABC’s Charlie’s Angels after the first season, because she did not have a contract and said that she wanted to pursue other career options that had opened up, due to the show’s spectacular success. Spelling-Goldberg Productions filed suit against Fawcett, charging her with breach of contract. The case ended with an out-of-court settlement in which Fawcett agreed to make six guest appearances over a two-year period.

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Infamously Unreliable

Her departure from Charlie’s Angels made Farrah seem like a ticking bomb in the industry. In a matter of minutes, all of Hollywood’s hottest names heard about the actress who turned down a gig after succeeding once. Leonard Goldberg, who co-produced the show with Aaron Spelling, said: “We made her a star, and she walks out after one year. We had a valid contract with her, and no major studio or production company would hire her. Producers don’t like people who walk out on contracts.”

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Close But No Cameo

What’s a remake of a classic without an appearance from one of the old characters, right? That’s why Fawcett was offered a cameo in the movie version of Charlie’s Angels alongside Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Lu. While Fawcett was excited to receive the offer and really wanted to do it, she had one condition. Farrah would only agree to take the role if she could be the voice of the new Charlie. Needless to say, there was no cameo for Fawcett.

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Love At First Sight

Not many believe in love at first sight, but for the Charlie’s Angels actress and her long time boyfriend Ryan O’Neal, they knew it was destiny the second they locked eyes. O’Neal has been quoted saying that when he first met Farrah he instantly fell in love with her. They met at a friend’s party and he saw her in the driveway. She smiled at him and he said that was the moment, he knew they were meant to be.

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Doomed From The Start

By the time Farrah and Ryan met, he already had three children from two wives, one of which was a substance user and addict. To make things worse, his career felt as though it was deteriorating fast. In 1980, he was quoted saying wryly that “Farrah’s visibility is on the rise… Meanwhile, my career is in a slump.” Not providing steady grounds for a stable, supportive relationship, some say their relationship was doomed from the very start.

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Attention Seeking

O’Neal was known to be able to throw quite a tantrum if he wanted to. In 1984, he returned home fuming after receiving bad reviews for his new movie. O’Neal was ready to begin his rant, but noticed Farrah was talking on the phone with her press agent. To get her attention, he started pacing around “until she finally pays attention to me,” wrote O’Neal in his memoir. He also wrote that he deeply believes “love is about admiration,” which could explain why Farrah felt never good enough.

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Late Show Catastrophe

After appearing on the Late Show With David Letterman in 1997, Farrah was accused of abusing her medications after the disastrous interview. The audience and David noticed that she wasn’t making eye contact and was particularly giggly. Farrah just said that she was nervous and unprepared. O’Neal also rushed to Fawcett’s defense confirming that she was not medicated but was just trying to put on a show. He said, “She was selling Playboy magazine, and she thought she was being Playmate-ish.”

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Afraid For Her Life

After Charlie’s Angels, there was such a big hype around Farrah that she needed to hire a security guard, who was attached to her by the hip 24/7. When she started dating O’Neal, he felt slightly overwhelmed by the fact they were constantly accompanied and asked if it was really necessary, teasing that if she were with him, he would be her security guard. Shortly after, O’Neal and Fawcett were spotted, and O’Neal quickly turned to Fawcett: “Remember that security guard? Can we get him back?”

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Badmouthing Her Besties

When it came to her close friends and former co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, Fawcett never had a bad word to say about them and reacted well when people would try to pry into any drama that occurred between them while filming. During an interview with controversial radio host Howard Stern, he kept trying to get Fawcett to badmouth Jackson and Smith but she refused, explaining that there was nothing but love between them. Farrah had their backs!

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The Farrah-Flip

You know that a star has reached new levels of fame when a haircut is named after them! Fawcett’s signature blonde and feathered hairstyle actually has its own name! If you want to get your hair cut like Farrah’s, all you have to do is say that you want the “Farrah-do” or the “Farrah-flip.” Using these magic words in any salon should get you a cut and or color to match that of the late movie star’s.

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The Dating Game

Before Fawcett was famous, she was a contestant on The Dating Game! It was a game show where a woman was given a choice of three single men. She could talk to them, but she could not see them until the end! You can bet that these men were dancing in their seats and trying to make an excellent impression to win their ways into the heart of the blond haired-blue-eyed beauty. Do you really blame them?

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Baby Naming

When it comes to picking a name for your baby, especially when it’s a girl, most parents want to choose a name that people will associate with a beauty icon or famous actress. Right after Charlie’s Angels made its big debut, Farrah quickly became one of the most popular baby names in the United States! But you have to admit, Farah is a pretty catchy name. It can also be seen as an alternative to the popular name Sarah.

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Contacting The Departed

Just when we thought that Fawcett was close with her former co-stars, her relationship with Tori Spelling proved to be even closer, but in an interesting way. Farrah used to be neighbors with Tori Spelling, and the two had developed such a connection that Spelling was able to contact her even after she left this world. Spelling said that she visited a psychic who helped her talk to Farrah after she had passed away. We wonder what they chatted about.

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Cover Girl

Farrah rose to stardom rather quickly, and it was only a matter of time before she was literally everywhere. That means billboards, shampoo bottles, and even a Super Bowl commercial, but some of her favorite work was modeling for magazines. Fawcett has appeared in noteworthy magazines such as Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Time, but she stated that being in Playboy was the highlight of her life. We’re sure that her spread in the magazine was also a highlight of other peoples lives as well.

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Farrah Went Plastic

It’s every girl’s dream to enter the world of plastic becoming a Barbie doll, literally! After years of fame on both the big and small screens, Fawcett finally joined the ranks of other stars who have had one of the classic dolls modeled after them. The iconic image of Farrah in a red swimsuit was ultimately recreated in a limited edition Barbie doll complete with a gold chain and her signature girl-next-door golden locks. The likeness is uncanny!

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Midnight Plane To Houston

Fawcett and her former husband Lee Majors served as the inspiration for the song Midnight Train to Georgia. Singer/songwriter Jim Weatherly, who was a friend of Majors, phoned him, but the call was answered by Fawcett. As Weatherly and Fawcett chatted, she told him she was going to visit her mother and was taking “the midnight plane to Houston.” Although Majors and Fawcett were both successful at that time, Weatherly used them as characters in his song.

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Reclaiming Her Fame

Farrah may have been America’s favorite calendar girl when she was on Charlie’s Angels, but her film career was not as successful and eventually began to decline after she starred in Sunburn, Somebody Killed Her Husband, and Saturn 3. Farrah made a remarkable comeback after finding her niche in made-for-TV movies, specifically those based on real stories, and was awarded much praise for her role in the 1984 television movie, The Burning Bed, which tells an emotional tale of domestic abuse.

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The Best-Selling Poster In History

You know the picture of Farrah that everybody knows? The one with the famous one-piece red bathing suit? Well, that’s the best-selling poster in history! The photo which was spontaneously taken resulted in the 1976 poster that wound up plastered on millions of bedroom walls. The photographer used a blanket from Mexico that served as the seat cover for his beat-up 1937 Chevy pickup with colors that matched the suit. Original copies of the poster now run anywhere from $299.99 to $399.99 on Amazon.

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Mystery Scar

The red, one-piece bathing suit that Fawcett wore during this photo shoot was chosen to cover up a scar she received in her youth. While the exact story behind the injury that caused the scar remains a mystery, sources that were close to her say that it was from an accident while trying to learn to ride her bike. Either way, it all worked out because without the scar to be hidden the red bathing suit wouldn’t have been chosen.

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Friends Orr Enemies?

After taking a brief break with her former flame, Ryan O’Neal, Fawcett later began dating producer James Orr in 1997, but the relationship almost as soon as it started. In 1998, Orr was convicted of assaulting Fawcett in a highly publicized scandal that was majorly played up in the tabloids. Neither came out from the legal battle unscathed, and since then became enemies. The bad publicity Orr received seriously hurt his name in Hollywood and had trouble finding work.

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Kids Before Marriage

Fawcett and O’Neal may have never made it down the aisle, but famously dated from 1979 until 1997 and even had a son together, Redmond O’Neal. Although the couple broke things off more than a decade before her battle with cancer began, O’Neal appeared to be a constant presence in Farrah’s life. While the pair seemed to be picture perfect, their relationship was described by some as stormy and temperamental. There was certainly more than what met the eye.

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Sticky Fingers

Just three months after ending her 17-year relationship with Ryan O’Neal, Fawcett began dating James Orr, who directed her in the 1995 comedy Man of the House. Orr’s close friend and sometimes actress Kristen Amber claimed that Fawcett had stolen $72,000 worth of her clothing that she had kept in his home. After a thorough police investigation, and Farrah’s name being dragged through the dirt, investigators failed to substantiate the charge, and Farrah was let off the hook.

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‘Til Death Do Us Part

It’s true that hardships can bring people together, and this is especially true in the case of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal. The relationship was put to the ultimate test after O’Neal fell ill and Fawcett was there for the whole ride. Although they split up in 1997, Fawcett called Ryan the love of her life, and they but got back together in 2001 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. They remained a couple until Fawcett’s death.

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Battle With Cancer

O’Neal wasn’t the only one to fall victim to cancer as in 2006, Farrah was also diagnosed. For three years, Farrah fought hard against the disease and sought various types of treatments, but her efforts were to no avail. Cancer quickly spread to the rest of her body, and she unfortunately passed away on June 25, 2009. Farrah was surrounded by Ryan and her son Redmond at the time of her death as well as the final moments leading up to it.

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Kicking And Screaming

The first time O’Neal and Fawcett decided to cease their relationship, back in 1997, was not a pretty sight. The two were screaming, scandals of infidelity hit the fan, and even news of low-level violence would surface in tabloids thirsty for information. However, just because they could no longer keep their cool enough to be interlinked romantically, did not mean they were willing to terminate any further interaction with one another altogether. Therefore, the second and last time the two parted was when Fawcett was on her death bed.

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Photo Fight

In 1980, O’Neal set up a meeting between Fawcett and artist Andy Warhol, where Warhol created two portraits of Fawcett. The one of a kind portraits were later loaned by the actress to The Andy Warhol Museum. After a 2013 court case between O’Neal and the University of Texas, whom Fawcett named as the recipient of her artwork, one of the portraits was deemed the property of O’Neal. During the court case, the portrait was valued between $800,000 and $12 million.

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Michael Jackson Overshadowed Fawcett’s Death

Fawcett died at age 62 on June 25, 2009, the same day pop icon Michael Jackson died, at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with O’Neal and Stewart by her side. Unfortunately, the news of Fawcett’s death was largely overshadowed by the coverage of singer-songwriter Michael Jackson’s death, which occurred a few hours later in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. Even in her final moments, O’Neal said that Fawcett managed to keep a smile on her face.

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Permanently Damaged Their Son

O’Neal was quoted recently explaining he fully understands the extent in which his fighting with Farrah deeply damaged their son. He elaborated: “One of us should have been the grown-up. Instead, we were two single-minded people who gave into our baser impulses…Our moral compass had become submerged in a sea of ego and confusion and our sweet little boy would bear the brunt of the corrosion.” Because of his unstable childhood, Redmond turned to substance abuse.

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Finally Out Of Jail

In 2016, the distraught son Redmond O’Nea was released from prison. After he had been jailed in 2015 for violating probation regarding previous drug possession convictions, it was rather unexpected when he was spotted out to dinner with his father, since he was initially given a three-year sentence. Redmond reportedly promised Farrah he would stay clean, but in 2011 he was found in possession of illegal substances and a firearm. He was imprisoned during Farrah’s last days, but he managed to visit her one last time before her death.

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Cheating On Every Man’s Fantasy

In 1997, the couple knew one of the hardest years of their lives due to O’Neal’s notorious inability to stay faithful. Apparently, the same woman featured on every teenage boy’s wall in the 70’s caught her long-time lover doing the dirty deed in his Malibu pad. O’Neal was forced to recount his infidelity during a testimony he gave in a lawsuit pressed by the University of Texas years later, in which he confessed to messing the sheets with Leslie Ann Stefanson, star of The General’s Daughter.

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A Valentine’s To Remember

Fawcett decided to surprise O’Neal for Valentine’s Day the day she discovered the truth. O’Neal described the horrible moment in detail: “It was terrible, I didn’t expect to see her down there. I tried to put my pants on, but I put both legs in one hole. Leslie dived under the covers.” O’Neal hoped Farrah didn’t realize what was happening, but in vain. “I thought Farrah was going to attack her, but she said, ‘What’s your name?’ Leslie said, ‘Leslie.’ And Farrah walked out.”

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Special Guest At Farrah’s Funeral

A private funeral was held for Farrah in Los Angeles on June 30, 2009, and there was a very special guest in attendance, her son. Fawcett’s son Redmond was in jail at the time of her funeral, but he was thankfully given the permission to leave his California detention center to attend the funeral, where he gave the first reading. While being released, Redmond was photographed in his blue jumpsuit. Fawcett was buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

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No Vain Bone In Her Body

One time, O’Neal asked Fawcett about her chosen and very distinct hair style: “I said, ‘Why do you wear your hair like that?’ and she said, ‘I can’t see to the right or left, and that way I don’t have to see people looking at me.’” Farrah was also not one to spend hours on grooming rituals. In fact, she once said: “I’m always more comfortable when I have on hardly any make-up, my hair is brown and I’m very unattractive.”

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The Secret Affair

According to court papers, Fawcett had a secret affair with her university sweetheart during her final years behind Ryan O’Neal’s back. He claimed in a deposition that they rekindled their relationship in 1998 and were a couple for 11 years until Farrah died from cancer several years ago while she was 62 years old. The undercover love triangle was revealed in a bitter legal battle over the ownership of a $26 million Andy Warhol portrait of the former Charlie’s Angels actress and model.

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Fawcett’s Football Flirt

Greg Lott, 67, a former football star, first dated Fawcett when they were both at the University of Texas. Lott, now a car dealer in Texas, claimed O’Neal prevented him from seeing Fawcett in her last days. “He kept me from seeing the love of my life before she died,” he said. “Photos don’t make a relationship. I know what I had with her. He didn’t have that. He blew it.” O’Neal and Lott were photographed arguing in the street several months after her death.

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A Whole Lott Of Money

Fawcett left all her artworks to her old university but when the collection was handed over it was discovered that one of the valuable portraits was hanging in O’Neal’s bedroom. O’Neal claims that before she died, Fawcett gave him the Warhol painting to pass on to their son. Fawcett didn’t include O’Neal in her living trust but left $80,000 to Lott, who testified that it was the actress’s wish to bequeath all of her artwork to her alma mater, including the Warhol portrait.

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Lott’s Love Letters

In court, Lott claimed to have years of handwritten notes between him and Fawcett. In one letter dated, Dec. 8, 2008, written from her hospital bed in Germany, Fawcett wrote, “I miss you so much, and sometimes the loneliness makes me cry. But this is a daunting journey one must take oneself, and there is very little anyone else can do to help. I wonder if at the moment of surgery I can do it, so I pray for strength and courage and it comes.”

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Close Call

Fawcett and O’Neal fought often and loudly, and these arguments took a toll on their son, Redmond. The six-year-old once threatened to hurt himself to stop his parents from fighting. O’Neal recounted a particularly heart-stopping example that occurred during an argument in their bedroom. Redmond was standing in the doorway in his Winnie-the-Pooh pajamas, holding a butcher’s knife and said, “I’m going to stab myself if you don’t stop it!” That ended the argument.

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Stick Figure Thin

When Farrah was hospitalized, she seemed to fade in and out of consciousness, mumbling incoherent matters in between. She was stick-figure thin, so her dear friend Alana Stewart made every dish on Farrah’s former favorite food list so that she and O’Neal could try to tempt Farrah to eat. She made macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and ginger cookies – but there was no use. Farrah would take a cookie, stroke it gently and hand it back to Stewart with a smile, saying “that’s so beautiful.”

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Marriage Wasn’t In The Cards

Fawcett and O’Neal had danced around the idea of marriage since before their son Redmond was born in 1985, with Farrah sometimes pushing it and O’Neal sometimes pushing it. But with three failed marriages between them as well as the difficulties in their relationship, a wedding never happen. One time, O’Neal even proposed to the actress using a cigar band as an impromptu engagement ring, but a flat tire on the way to the shotgun wedding ruined those plans.

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O’Neal’s Last Chance

Just before Fawcett’s death, O’Neal decided to ask Farrah one more time to marry him and with tear-filled eyes, she accepted. While speaking about it in an interview, O’Neal said,”The priest at St John’s Hospital arrives to marry us but administered the last rites instead.” The next day, the doctor was ordered to remove the actress’ life support, and Farrah passed away just a few hours later with O’Neal at her side.

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In Denial

Before her untimely and saddening death, Doug Vaughan, an NBC senior vice president, worked with Farrah on Farrah’s Story – a type of video diary she made detailing her battle against the disease. Doug was quoted saying: “This is so not the way she thought it was going to go, Farrah was certain that she was going to beat this.” Truth be told, Farrah was so profoundly convinced she was going to make it, the entire point of the video was to show other patients the fight is worth it.

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In Sickness And In Health

O’Neal would not leave Farrah’s side during her last days. When he was asked why, he gave a rather unpredictable answer: “She’s never been more lovable,” he said. “There’s a sweetness – she’s skin and bones, but she’s got this beautiful look. I don’t know how long I’m going to get it, but I know why I’ve been around for 30 years for this person.” Although they have certainly had their rough patches over the years, some things never change.

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Fighter Right Until The End

For two years Farrah moved back and forth between her comfortable California home and a personal German clinic. In the clinic, she underwent alternative treatments, some extremely painful and invasive. Suffering through the pain and clenching strongly to her mattress, Farrah insisted her best friend Stewart would film every single procedure she had to go through so that the documentary would chronicle her achievement in finding new means of combatting cancer. “She’s had terrible luck,” said O’Neal, “she tried so many different approaches.” Sadly, nothing worked.

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