WASHINGTON, D.C.- In a special ceremony today, actress Farrah Fawcett’s nephew, Greg Walls, and actor Ryan O’Neal donated objects from the private collection of her estate to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The donation includes the red swimsuit from her iconic 1976 poster, an original copy of the swimsuit poster, her personal Charlie’s Angels script book, a Farrah Fawcett swimsuit jigsaw puzzle, a “Farrah Phenomenon” 1976 edition of TV Guide, a Charlie’s Angels 1976 edition of Time magazine, an original 1977 Farrah Fawcett doll and a “Farrah’s Glamour Center” hairstyling doll; the objects will be a part of the museum’s Division of Culture and the Arts and will go on display this summer.
The poster featuring Fawcett in a red bathing suit was shot before her debut on Charlie’s Angels in September 1976. The photo was shot by freelance photographer Bruce McBroom with Fawcett working without a stylist, doing her own hair and make-up. The Indian blanket backdrop was a last-minute addition that McBroom grabbed from the front seat of his car. Fawcett ultimately selected which shot would be used for the poster and owned the copyright. By March 1977, the poster had sold 5 million copies, today that number has reached more than 12 million. The image, which catapulted Fawcett to superstardom, showed her as girl-next-door innocence combined with a blonde bombshell allure.
“Farrah Fawcett has made an enduring impression on American popular culture,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “We are pleased to welcome this donation into our entertainment collections.”
Fawcett got her start in Hollywood through a series of TV commercials. Following the great success of the television series and the poster, Fawcett quickly became a household name and style icon. Her image was featured on hundreds of worldwide magazine covers, and her signature feathered hairdo was copied by women throughout the world who wanted the “Farrah” hairstyle. After she left the show, Fawcett turned her attention to film roles, made-for-TV movies and stage plays.
“It’s an honor to see Farrah’s famous red bathing suit donated to the Smithsonian Institution, celebrating her place in pop culture,” said O’Neal. “The swimsuit is exactly where it belongs, and I know Farrah is looking down on us today flashing that big smile that we all loved.”
Before her death in June 2009, Fawcett established the Farrah Fawcett Foundation with a goal to make a difference to those suffering from cancer.