Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:51 UK

Obituary: Farrah Fawcett

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Actress Farrah Fawcett has died after a three-year battle with cancer

Actress Farrah Fawcett, who has died aged 62, achieved worldwide fame with her iconic role in 1970s show Charlie's Angels but subsequently made headlines for different reasons.

In recent years Fawcett was best known for her courageous battle with cancer.

Born in 1947 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Fawcett began her career in commercials for such products as Ultra-Brite toothpaste and Wella Balsam shampoo.

Her first significant film appearance came alongside Raquel Welch in 1970 comedy Myra Breckinridge, though the movie itself was not a success.

Her marriage to Lee Majors in 1973 boosted her profile further, especially after she made a guest appearance in his hit show The Six Million Dollar Man.

But it was Charlie's Angels that made her a star, her role as the vivacious private eye Jill Munroe transforming her into an international pin-up.

Fawcett starred in just one series of the glamorous TV show, which she found a little lightweight for her taste.

Demanding

Such was the impact of her character, however, that she periodically returned in future seasons.

Fawcett's attempts to forge a career away from the show were initially thwarted, appearances in the comedy Sunburn and sci-fi thriller Saturn 3 proving unappealing to audiences.

Fawcett with Ryan O'Neal in 1987
Fawcett had a long relationship with actor Ryan O'Neal

But her role as a battered wife in 1984 TV film The Burning Bed won her considerable acclaim, as well as Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

The 1986 film Extremities saw her take on another demanding role, playing a potential rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker.

By this time, however, her on-screen work was being regularly eclipsed by her off-screen life.

Having separated from Majors in 1979, Fawcett began a high-profile affair with actor Ryan O'Neal.

The relationship lasted 15 years and produced a son, named Redmond, born in 1985.

After she and O'Neal separated, Fawcett briefly dated the producer and director James Orr.

When she turned down his marriage proposal, however, he severely beat her - an incident she dramatically acted out later in court when he stood trial for assault.

Distracted

A 1997 appearance on David Letterman's US chat show, in which she appeared distracted and confused, drew accusations of drug abuse that she hotly denied.

The incident was memorable enough for the presenter to make reference to it after an equally uncomfortable encounter with actor Joaquin Phoenix earlier this year.

Fawcett with Kate Jackson (centre) and Jaclyn Smith at the 2006 Emmys
The original Charlie's Angels were reunited on stage at the 2006 Emmys

Fawcett turned down a part in the 2000 Charlie's Angels film, saying she would only appear as the voice of the unseen Charlie.

However, she did reunite with her former co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith to pay tribute to the late producer Aaron Spelling at the 2006 Emmy awards.

The same year Fawcett revealed she was undergoing treatment for a fast-growing tumour, saying she was "determined to bite the bullet and fight the fight".

Not long afterwards she announced she had made a complete recovery - a declaration that was revealed to be premature when her cancer returned a few months later.

Last year the star's lawyer called her a "strong person and a fighter" after details of her treatment were leaked to US tabloid the National Enquirer.

However, recent reports that she had flown to Germany to seek experimental treatment for her condition were refuted by friends.



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