The actress who began as everyone’s favorite pinup (mine, too–I’m of that vintage) has died after a long and public battle with cancer. Hers was a remarkable journey, really, from those blow-dry feathered hairdos to really superb acting roles to the latest cancer icon, and martyr.

Farrah Fawcett.jpgWith anyone so embedded in the public consciousness in one particular role, or manifestation, it takes a while to change perceptions. That must go doubly for a blonde like Fawcett who started out in the Glory Days of 1970s TV series like Charlie’s Angels (and married at the time to “The Six Million Dollar Man.”)  

But I finally woke up to her journey when I saw her in the Robert Duvall vehicle, “The Apostle,” which I think one of the best cinematic portraits ever of a pastor–in his case Pentecostal, but it could almost have been any man of the cloth. She played his long-suffering wife.

Fawcett apparently was Catholic, which I never knew. She dies at 9:28 a.m. PST on Thursday at St. John’s Heath Center in Santa Monica, Calif., with longtime partner and troubled actor Ryan O’Neal at her side:

“She’s gone. She now belongs to the ages,” O’Neal tells PEOPLE, also confirming that she received last rites. “She’s now with her mother and sister and her God. I loved her with all my heart. I will miss her so very, very much. She was in and out of consciousness. I talked to her all through the night. I told her how very much I loved her. She’s in a better place now.”

Added O’Neal: “She was with her team when she passed…Her eyes were open, but she didn’t say anything. But you could see in her eyes that she recognized us.”

The two were planning to wed, but there was no time in the end, according to the People magazine account. But, the magazine writes, “Friends and family plan to honor Fawcett with a funeral service at a Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles in the next few days.”

That would be Our Lady of the Angels, I assume.

RIP, Farrah Fawcett.


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