Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering the Icons

Though I wrote this piece for January Magazine, and it ran there several hours ago, it seemed appropriate to share it with you here, as well. Especially since I’ve been ignoring this blog horribly over the last month or so. I don’t feel guilty though. I can’t. I’ve been writing: working on a brace of books, including the third in the Kitty Pangborn series. Since those books are set in the 1930s, that means I’ve been traveling back in time. Those trips exhaust me. They don’t leave much space for a great deal else.

And then, occasionally, we get days like yesterday, when two 1970s pop culture icons passed away within hours of each other.

Former Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett, 62, died of complications resulting from the cancer she had been publicly battling for some time, while 1970s child star -- and publicly off-kilter adult -- Michael Jackson, 50, died of cardiac arrest, possibly the direct result of what might have been an intentionally lethal drug overdose.

You don’t need to go far to find news stories on either icon. Or both. Of all the ones we saw, though, the most relevant to January’s readership (aside, of course, from J. Kingston Pierce’s delicate send off of Fawcett, “An Angel Gets Her Wings,” was Amy Wallace’s piece on Fawcett for The Daily Beast. Wallace’s piece illustrates Fawcett’s little known “brainy side” as well as the star’s friendship with the writer Ayn Rand.
A recent email exchange with the late Farrah Fawcett reveals the unlikely friendship between the Charlie's Angels star and the novelist Ayn Rand, who helped the actress understand her place in culture -- and longed to cast her in a TV version of Atlas Shrugged.
Wallace tells us several things “almost no one knew about Fawcett”:
1) Fawcett and the writer Ayn Rand shared a birthday, February 2.

2) Rand, the inventor of the philosophical system called Objectivism, never missed an episode of Charlie’s Angels. She was such a Fawcett fan, in fact, that she sought to cast the actress as the lead in a planned TV miniseries version of her best-known work, the gargantuan novel Atlas Shrugged. (NBC later scrapped the project).

3) Rand, perhaps better than anyone else, helped Fawcett understand her place in American culture.

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