Once upon a time (1976) there were three beautiful actresses (Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith), a pudgy personal assistant (David Doyle), all playing private eyes. They worked for a mysterious producer (Aaron Spelling) and an unseen actor (John Forsythe) who talked via a speakerphone. It was a big, jiggly hit.
After one season its biggest star (Fawcett) left and was replaced by a bubbly blonde (Cheryl Ladd). Then the smart one (Jackson) split in the third season and was replaced by another gal (Shelley Hack). That actress barely made it through one season before being replaced by another beauty (Tanya Roberts).
Then: The Houston hottie auditioned for the show at the age of 30 after working as a makeup model for Max Factor and hawking shampoo as a Breck Girl. The street-wise angel with big brown hair was the only original cast member (along with the fourth angel, David Doyle) to make it through all 113 episodes of the series. She was also the only ‘Angel’ to take a bullet during the show’s entire five-season run.
Now: Smith, 63, became the queen of the miniseries, appearing in more than a dozen of them in the ’80s. She made a cameo in the big-screen sequel, ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.’ But Smith is best known nowadays for her collection of clothes at K-Mart, where 100 million women have bought her apparel since 1985. She even has her own home furnishing line and just added a line of wigs into the mix. Like her fellow ‘Angel’ Kate Jackson, she has suffered from and fought breast cancer. She had a successful recurring role on CBS’s ‘The District’ and today she’s the hostess of the hairstyling reality show ‘Shear Genius.’ The multi-hyphenate business titan also has her own website.
Then: South Dakota sweetheart, Cheryl Ladd sang backup as Melody on the ’70s ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ cartoon. She had hundreds of commercials under her belt before becoming Farrah Fawcett’s replacement as Jill Munroe’s younger sis, Kris, after season 1. The cheerfully bland angel recorded two albums during the series, ‘Cheryl Ladd’ and ‘Dance Forever,’ sang on ‘Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert’ and competed in the ‘Battle of the Network Stars.’
Now: Ladd, 57, played a desperate housewife in the teen flick ‘Poision Ivy’ with future movie ‘Angel’ Drew Barrymore. She penned an autobiographical book, ‘Token Chick: A Woman’s Guide to Golfing With the Boys’ and was also seen in national menopause ads. Recently Ladd was playing James Caan’s wife on NBC’s ‘Las Vegas.’ She lives in Santa Ynez, Ca., with her second hubby Brian Russell, and recently put up their 7,000 sq. ft. home for sale, complete with a horse facility, tennis court and swimming pool, for $5,795,000. Ladd also keeps her own website.
Then: The brainy babe from Birmingham, Ala., was the first ‘Angel’ to receive her wings for the show and the second one to leave after Fawcett took a bow. Prior to ‘Angels,’ she landed a role on producers’ Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg’s ‘The Rookies,’ playing a nurse. When that ended, Jackson helped develop ‘Angels’ with Spelling — no wonder she was known as the smart angel. Spelling later refused to let her go when she was offered the lead in ‘Kramer vs. Kramer,’ which went to Meryl Streep as well as a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. However, Jackson received two Emmy and three Golden Globe noms during her three seasons before Sabrina left to get married and raise a family.
Now: Jackson, 60, went on to star in another hit, ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King’ playing a snooping housewife, married to a spy and raising two boys. She took a break from acting when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and joined the campaign to promote mammograms. Recently she voiced an episode of the ‘Family Guy’ as Mrs. Amanda King in a ‘Deep Throats’ episode and has a recurring role on ‘Criminal Minds’ as Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss. Last year she reunited with fellow ‘Angel’ Smith when they re-created their famous ’70s hairdos for ‘Shear Genius.’
Then: Who didn’t have a Farrah Fawcett-Majors swimsuit poster on their wall? C’mon you know you did. The titillating Texan and college dropout was paid a reported $10,000 per episode to appear on the show about the time her poster started to sell — 12 million have sold around the world to date. The iconic sex symbol was the first ‘Angel’ to leave (after only one season) to pursue a movie career. Her character Munroe was written off the show to become a Grand Prix racer but came back after a well-publicized lawsuit with Spelling. She reluctantly returned to appear in a number of guest spots over two seasons.
Now: Fawcett, 62, didn’t make it big in movies but is still an enduring pop culture icon. She scored Emmy noms for ‘The Burning Bed’ and earned accolades on stage and screen in ‘Extremities.’ Her union with Lee Majors ended after nine years; she then hooked up with actor Ryan O’Neal. The on-off lovers have been steady tabloid fodder, and their son, Redmond, 24, is making headlines of his own. She did Playboy in December 1995 at 50 and again two years later. Her incoherent ’97 appearance on ‘David Letterman’ is one for the ages, but for the past few years, Fawcett has had bigger concerns: She’s been battling cancer, and has now been hospitalized in L.A. as her condition worsens. But producer Craig Nevius says “She’s doing fantastic … She is not on death’s door.”