Angels’ Brainiest Kate Awaits Time to ‘Burst Forth’

In the first season of ABC's Charlie's Angels the three comely costars - Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett-Majors - were supposed to be on a par, with Jackson, as befitted her greater acting experience and a $10,000 weekly salary, double that of her ex-model partners, being first among equals.

Instead, Fawcett-Majors (who hasn't reported for the sophomore season) reaped the lioness' share of attention. Her braless poster became a record bestseller. Her picture appeared on so many magazine covers that the New Times sardonically used Farrah's face outside with a promise that there was nothing about her inside.

Did this unexpecting topsy-turvying of the angelic pecking order stir devilish thoughts in the less-publicized Jackson?

No way.

"I wasn't competing with Farrah, Jackie or anyone else," she insists. "Just myself. It's wonderful that Farrah got so much attention. She seemed to need it and to enjoy it more than I did. And I don't mean that as a put-down.

"When the time comes for me to REALLY burst forth, I'll do so. You can count on it. I'll be around at 70. I'll have written things; I'll have been involved in lots of creating. I'll be in control, calling the shots, doing things of value that I really want to do.

"Charlie's Angels is only a plateau, not my ultimate goal. It's putting me in a position to do other things, to form a production company, to develop worthwhile projects. That's exactly what I should be doing. I don't have to be on the cover of every magazine in the world!"

Although she has been rather fobbed off as "the brainiest" of the Angels, as if a superior IQ compensates for a relative lack of beauty, Jackson is eminently whistleworthy.

Voicing forthright opinions, the tall (5 feet 8) slim, brown-haired, brown-eyed, 28-year-old Alabaman, for four years a The Rookies costar, was a most fetching filly.

Dubbed "the sexiest" of the Angels by no less an authority than Burt Reynolds, Jackson insists that she doesn't resent "the fuss over Farrah and Jaclyn's looks."

"I think my looks are just fine," she said. "There's a twinkle in my eyes I'm most pleased about."

Nor does she mind all the hoopla about the sports skills of Fawcett-Majors, who claims she's a better tennis and golf player than her college football start husband, Lee Majors, who plays the title role in The Six Million Dollar Man.

"I'm a better athlete than Farrah," Jackson said matter-of-factly. "I played tennis so well until I was 15 that it came to the point where I had to decide whether to think about becoming a pro or concentrate on other things, like 'going to New York.' That was my euphemism for 'becoming an actress.' Earlier, in my imagination, I was always at Wimbledon!"

Later she aspired to be a member of the U.S. women's ski team at the 1976 Olympics.

So if Jackson has so many plusses, why did Charlie's Angels inspire the frenetic Farrah fad?

"Jackie and I are both brunettes," Jackson noted. "Farrah's very obviously blonde and has a hairstyle that's quite distinctive. Often things other than the heart and the soul of an actor can make people seem magical. Stars, in quotes, can be made by the way they're lit."

"Farrah's a little more - I don't know if 'willing' is the best word - anxious? That sounds weird, too. She's more open to being interviewed. I've been a big hindrance to my publicity people because I don't do many interviews. I felt for a long time that I didn't have much to say. That's why I wouldn't go on Tonight. I was waiting until my life had a little more shape. Does Farrah have much to say? That's not for ME to judge.

"By nature I'm a very shy person. Even a good interviewer can't get a good interview. I admire those who are articulate, but I've always felt I can't push myself. I go entirely on instinct. If the time seems right," she snapped her fingers, "I do it. If not, I don't.

"Farrah gets a lot of press because she has more stamina, I guess. At the end of a 14-hour work day, I've got to go home and go to sleep. Because she started as a model and in commercials, I think she enjoys being on still cameras more than I do. Also, there's the husband-and-wife thing.

"Sometimes I think the work I do on the show is so obvious that it's invisible. Sometimes the better an actor is, the less he's noticed. When the three of us are in a scene, maybe I don't tend to stand out because I'm in character. I've had training and experience."


By Harry Harris Knight-Ridder Newspapers August 15, 1977

“I’ll be around at 70, in control and calling the shots.”

Kate Jackson