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Farrah Fawcett, Poster Girl

Adam Tschorn of the LA Times pens a gentle remembrance of his favorite pin-up and that famous Farrah Fawcett poster:

It’s impossible to imagine a poster today being as beguiling and mysterious. The photo seemed as if it had been taken almost surreptitiously, a woven blanket in the background. The rust-red, one-piece swimsuit seemed damp and noticeably cool, and a thin gold chain around her neck dipped into her decolletage. She was seated, her left arm resting on her left knee, her left hand tousling her hair, her head tilted back at a 45-degree angle from the camera, a smile so wide and bright that by today’s standards it is full-on caricature. The shot looks ever so slightly exploded — as if someone had enlarged what should have been a much smaller print.

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Today we know that the poster image was shot by freelance photographer Bruce McBroom on behalf of a now-defunct Ohio company called Pro Arts Inc., using a Nikon-F camera. He took it in early 1976 near the pool at the Bel-Air home that Fawcett-Majors shared with her then-husband, when she was 29 and had not yet made her TV debut as “Charlie’s Angels” crime-fighter Jill Munroe (that debut came on Sept. 22, 1976, around the same time the poster was released).

There was no stylist — Fawcett-Majors did her own hair and makeup. And the Indian-blanket backdrop was a last-minute addition that the photographer grabbed from the front seat of his ’37 Chevy. The subject of the photos decided which shot would become the poster. She eventually would own the copyright to the image as well.

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