FBI Unveils Plot to Kidnap ‘Charlie’s Angels’

The calm, beautiful Hawaiian surf seemed an unlikely backdrop for danger and intrigue. The producers of Charlie's Angels had chosen the exotic setting for a special two-part episode to kick off the new season, but little did they suspect the island paradise would become a living hell for stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

While most of the cast and crew looked forward to the completion of each day's shooting so they could get a chance to dip their feet in the resort's famed crystal blue water, all Kate and Jaclyn had to look forward to was a closely-guarded trip back to the hotel where they would be in protective custody around the clock. Some fun. But even though they were never without a guard, kate and Jackie still feared that somehow the worst would come true...

Thank God the plot had been uncovered. Yet, until the FBI managed to find out exactly who was behind the scheme to kidnap two of the top actresses on television, Kate and Jackie felt they'd never rest easily. Both had taken to having constant protection before the incident, due to the throngs of peoplewho mob them wherever they go. But, actually knowing there was someone out there sinister enough to threaten physical harm made them wonder if the price of stardom was too high.

Steps to protect the actresses against their potential kidnapper would never have come to pass if it hadn't been for a certain "foreign woman" who learned of the alleged plot. The mysterious woman overheard three men discussing the kidnap of Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith while dining at Gilhooley's Restaurant in Eagle Rock Plaza, Los Angeles. After thinking if over, the woman wrote a letter to famous Hollywood gossip Rona Barrett, explaining exactly what she'd heard. Barrett promptly got in touch with Universal Studios where Charlie's Angels is filmed. The company was sufficiently alarmed to begin preparations to protect the stars. One fact alone made them take the threat seriously: that the kidnappers knew the 'Angels' were going to be on location in Hawaii. There was no way for either the woman informant, or the three alleged kidnappers, to know that so far in advance unless, perhaps, they had somehow gained access to secret information. "We didn't know until a week before they were to leave that Hawaii had been chosen for the location shooting," said an ABC spokesman.

Barrett revealed the plot to the whole world during her segment on Good Morning America, then promptly got in touch with the FBI. Filming of the show continued on schedule in Hawaii, but not before a protective web of security was put around the two beautiful stars. From the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the location of shooting, the girls were in constant protective custody.

Tension filled the air, and everyone visiting the set was screened and rescreened before they were allowed near the actresses. Even actor Dennis Cole, Jaclyn Smith's boyfriend, was agitated by the turn of events. He accompanied Jackie to Hawii, and you can bet that he did so not only to be near her, but to act as a kind of protector against any unwelcome advances.

Fortunately, the plot never came to pass, be we'll never know whether to credit the extensive security arrangements or disiss the entire incident as a hoax. However, in this day and age, you can't blame the officials for doing everything in their power to protect the actresses. By now, you might think that Kate and Jackie would have gotten used to this type of situation. But, never have any previous threats seemed as dangerous.

Kate Jackson & Jaclyn Smith in Police Proective Custody

Ever since Charlie's Angels first became a smash hit, its stars have been barraged with crazy letters and calls. Of the more than 33,000 letters that pour in every month, most are from admirers. But then there are the inevitable cranks that threaten the girls with rape, kidnap and other vicious acts. No matter how calmly the actresses try to take it, it can't help but make them afraid.

Jaclyn had an upsetting experience with an obscure phone caller. Over a period of time, the caller hounded her on the set of the show. Finally, after an exhaustive investigation, the culprit was revealed to be a young man who worked in the mailroom at Universal Studios. Jackie was terrified, though, until he was found out. Jackie, like her co-stars, has been subject to being mobbed wherever the show goes on location. The studio prefers to place the girls in outdoor scenes to show off their beauty against the natural backgrounds and to create adventures for them that just wouldn't come off in a studio setting. But sometimes things have gotten so out of hand, with men constantly coming up to the girls during shooting, that special bodyguards had to be hired by the studio. Often, the girls have even needed the protection of the real police. Jaclyn describes one experience: "I was really terrified when I had some trouble at the studio. A guy stopped and tried to kiss me. It was awful." Jaclyn was so upset that she screamed: "Get away from me - don't touch me." Now, this man might have just been a perfectly innocent admirer who wanted to brag to his cronies that he had managed to kiss one of the desirable 'Angels', but how could Jackie take any chance?

However, the bad times are offset by the admiration of genuine fans. For example, one man wrote "I wish I could be there to comfort Jaclyn Smith when she is threatened with danger." In reality, most of the letters received by the actresses are flattering. Still, for all the pleasant notes, there are many that have caused the girls anguish, and made them long for a plain, ordinary life away from the limelight.

Of the three 'Angels', Farrah Fawcett-Majors probably has received the most unwelcome attention during her season on the show. One time, a man made such a nuisance of himself that the usually upbeat, happy blonde turned snappish. "On the way to the ladies' room," she revealed, "a man said something very vile to me. I don't know why - whether it was out of angery, envy, or just plain ugly manners. But I was shook up and Jay Bernstein, my publicist and manager, was very angry. Jay decided not to tell Lee [Majors, her husband] about the comment until things cooled down because Lee is so protective of my honor that Jay was frightened he would become violent. Sometimes." Farrah added, "I think Lee loves me too much. That scares me a little because I think he'd kill somebody if they hurt me. I have to watch how I explain things to him - I mean the way I'm treated by people."

On one occasion, a 'fortunate' drunk was saved from a nasty blow by Lee Majors due to a quick-thinking maitre d' at a restaurant. The slovenly intruder interrupted Lee and Farrah's peaceful dinner with an undisclosed obscene remark aimed at the blonde star. Lee was up in a flash and would have flattened the main if the culprit hadn't been quickly ushered out of the restaurant.

Dining out in public has virtually become a thing of the past for Mr. and Mrs. Majors - and the other 'Angels' and their men as well. But Lee and Farrah have adjusted. They don't mind staying at home at night; since they don't see each other as often as they'd like to, the time they spend together is very precious. However, there are times when they have to make public appearances, and it is those times in which they must remain ever-vigilant. Once, Farrah and her agent Jay Bernstein were leaving the premiere of a movie when actor Ben Murphy, who starred on Gemini Man, approached them. Unfortunately, Farrah din't recognize the actor fast enough, and in her fear she yelled out, "Kepp this guy away from me. Just keep him away from me!" Naturally, Murphy was appalled, and so was Farrah when she came to her senses and recognized the blunder. The incident proves that the numerous threats against her have honed her sense of danger and have succeeded in terrifying her. But, in addition to fearing physical harm, Farrah has also become paranoid about being photographed with men other than her husband. Such photographs have led to unfounded rumors of problems in her marriage, and Farrah has had her fill with that kind of gossip.

The actresses who play Charlie's Angels have been criticized for the sexy way they dress, and for the nature of the show's scripts, which definitely exploit their beauty. Farrah, Kate and Jaclyn were all former models who have had the experience of being propositioned by men who believed they might be willing to compromise themselves to get ahead. but all deny they've ever compromised themselves to get where they are today. Still, they can't deny that the show takes advantage of their sexuality. They often wear revealing slinky outfits and bathing suits and even go braless. Of course, that's an accepted mode of dress today. But, because they are seen by millions, the girls have become targets. Some viewers have eben blamed them for encouraging lusty behavior! Perhaps that's one reason why Farrah decided not to go back to the show this season. The actress has repeatedly insisted that money is not the issue in her refusal to return. She was offered a reported increase from $5,000 to $25,000 and episode, but still turned it down.

Obviously, Farrah was not included in the recent kidnap plot simply because she would not be on location with the rest of the cast in Hawaii. However, during her time on the show, she'd had her share of threats and frightening incidents. At times it's made her and Lee Majors' lives sheer misery. Although stardom has been fulfilling, Farrah can't wait for the day to call it quits and start a family.

Being a celebrity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are the benefits of fame and fortune. Yet on the other, there are the dangers of being in the public eye, such as the kidnap plot that cost Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith their peace of mind. Fortunately, this time they came out of it safe and sound. But, what will happen the next time?

BACKGROUND CHECK

Author unknown 1977