Jaclyn Smith: One of ‘Farrah’s Angels’
Actress to Appear in Fawcett’s Cancer Documentary, “Farrah’s Story”
By Melissa Castellanos | May 13, 2009 from CBSNews.com
Back in the 1970s, “Charlie’s Angels” co-stars Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson grabbed a TV audience’s attention with their flowing locks, good looks and charisma.
Today, still on a mission, they are still making headlines, but for different reasons.
It turns out the three beauties had more in common than they bargained for – a cancer diagnosis.
Fawcett, 62, who is currently battling anal cancer, which has spread to her liver, and Smith, 61, and Jackson, 59, who both won their battles with breast cancer, know what it’s like to have their privacy invaded while undergoing treatment.
Entrenched in a media frenzy over 2 1/2 years, Fawcett spoke out – for the first time since her 2006 dignosis.
She blasted the National Enquirer for leaking information from her medical records and the UCLA Medical Center for failing to protect them, in a May 11 Los Angeles Times article.
“It’s much easier to go through something and deal with it without being under a microscope,” Fawcett told the L.A. Times. “It was stressful. I was terrified of getting the chemo. It’s not pleasant. And the radiation is not pleasant.”
Like Fawcett, Smith had a story sold to the tabloids about her breast cancer diagnosis in 2002.
“I tried to keep it private until I could get through my radiation treatment, but a story was sold, which I didn’t understand that,” Smith told CBSNews.com. “I think you have to be on the other side of it, and when you are, then you can reach out, you can help women.”
Smith travels for an organization called Strength In Knowing, that informs women about breast cancer risk factors.
Fawcett will set the record straight and share her whole story – this time her way- through a documentary called “Farrah’s Story,” airing Friday, May 15 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
“Farrah’s Story,” will be a video diary of the actress’ fight against anal cancer that has spread to her liver. Her longtime companion, Ryan O’Neal, her friend, Alana Stewart, along with her “Charlie’s Angels” co-stars, Smith and Jackson, will share their thoughts in the documentary.
“I am a part of it, I’m not narrating. I have just spoken about Farrah, my friend,” Smith said. “And I think that they’ve had people that are close to her contribute and talk and just tell a side of Farrah that may be special to them or the public doesn’t know about.”
Some fear that Fawcett may not make it to the airing of the documentary, however.
O’Neal told “Today”‘s Meredith Vieira that Fawcett “is not afraid” of losing her cancer battle, but she asked him recently, “Am I going to make it?”
“I said, ‘Sure, you’ll make it,’” O’Neal told Vieira. “And if you don’t, I’ll go with you. And she said, ‘Then stop the Gleevec – the medicine that I take for my leukemia.’ So she made a joke: ‘Stop the Gleevec.’”
Through the years, Smith has valued Fawcett’s sense of humor like O’Neal has, and commends her for her strength and her genuine ability to laugh things off.
“My fondest memory – there are so many, I don’t know if I could just say one,” she said. “Certainly the prison show when we were all chained together. So much took place in our friendships with all three girls.
“And a memory recently when she (Fawcett) was at our home for dinner. She’s positive going through so much. She’s funny, she makes me laugh and that’s something that I think is the best medicine in the world to stay positive and to find the humor in the midst of all the craziness.”
When battling cancer, Smith says to “enlighten yourself” and understand that “everybody’s situation is totally different.”
“You want to put yourself in the hands of a doctor you trust and believe in, that informs you about everything to do with your particular case,” she explained. “Certainly being a breast cancer survivor, I say yearly mammograms, self-examination certainly after 40 if there is a family history before. Early detection is key to a good prognosis – so that’s a must.”
Since her breast cancer diagnosis, Smith has changed her approach to life and attributes her good health and good looks to “clean living” and a low-fat diet.
“You become aware of what you put into your body after you have something like breast cancer, but I am married to a pediatric heart surgeon, so of course I eat a low-fat diet, I exercise and I don’t smoke,” she said.
Smith returned to her “Charlie’s Angels” roots in 2004, when she made a cameo in “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”
“Well I think it’s always hard to go back to the past. Once I got on the set though I was lifted with love and it was phenomenal. Drew (Barrymore) had asked me to do it, so as a favor to her I did the cameo.
“It was fun. I had never had been with such an enthusiastic group and to sort to reunite yourself with something that had been so much part of your history and do it in a different way was fulfilling. I liked it, I’m glad I did it.”
While reminiscing of the past, Smith can’t help, but mention her designer side and her partnership to Kmart for the past 24 years.
“As much as “Charlie’s Angels” has been part of my history, my line at Kmart has been a part of my history,” she added.
Smith, who calls herself a “frugalista,” recently, released her latest spring and summer collections at Kmart.