Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Farewell, Farrah Fawcett

I have long held Farrah Fawcett in esteem for being a white woman with blond hair who had struggled very hard to be "more than that". She knew within one year of starring on Charlie's Angels in the 1970s that the show would do nothing to help the general public and Hollywood in particular take her seriously as an actor. So she set about to prove she was, in fact, just that: an actor. She was superb in a film about a woman battered by a man called The Burning Bed, and on stage and again on screen in productions of Extremities, about a woman who holds her rapist captive.

I have admired, as well, her refusal to marry, stating the reason as a quest to maintain her own independence, to not be controlled by a man, even a man she loved very much to the end, Ryan O'Neal.

But what has really impressed me most recently is her fearless battle against cancer, which in many ways she won, even if it did ultimately take her life. She refused to let it dictate the terms by which she lived with it, seeking out all treatments available, fortunately with the means to do so.

I don't find anything wrong with walking with fear in one's various battles with what the world gives to us and takes from us. But it is always remarkable to me when someone finds a form and depth of inner strength that assuages fear, while fighting so long and so hard, against great odds, for her own life.

Rest in peace, Farrah.