Farrah Fawcett joins the (Lee) Majors
Even before American men had begun nudging and winking to her name—those wispy, alliterative words so perfect for her—Farrah Fawcett changed it, adding a macho Majors to show she was attached. And not just to any man, but to the bionic one. On July 28, 1973, the budding ’70s sex princess married TV hunk Lee Majors in an L.A. ceremony.
In truth, the young model and bit-part actress hadn’t been in circulation for years, having dated Majors since she arrived in Hollywood from Texas at the age of 21. Majors, 28, a costar of the Western The Big Valley, helped her get small parts in films and a recurring role in 1975 on TV’s Harry O.
The marriage seemed regressive by ’70s standards. Majors had a stipulation put in Fawcett’s contracts that she be home in time to make dinner. And Fawcett, who rejected feminism, welcomed his Svengali-like input. “I benefit from all he knows,” she said. “He’s a Taurus and I’m an Aquarius.”
Six months after their wedding, Majors’ TV-movie franchise The Six Million Dollar Man became a series, helping to spark the decade’s TV-superhero craze; in 1976, Charlie’s Angels premiered to top ratings, largely thanks to Fawcett-Majors. She was the final Angel cast (after Kate Jackson, the series’ ostensible star, and Jaclyn Smith). But after her eye-catching swimsuit poster, the biggest-selling of the decade, Farrah-mania was everywhere: T-shirts, books, and dolls to match those of Majors’ Col. Steve Austin. Their mutual devotion made them media darlings, and though she left Angels in 1977 for a flop film career (Somebody Killed Her Husband, Saturn 3), the Farrah phenom continued, helped by a fixation on her love life, including a relationship with actor Ryan O’Neal that began in 1979 and continued in a tempestuous fashion until 1997. Majors, meanwhile, pulled the plug on his show in 1978 to see if he was worth $6 million at the cinema (The Norseman proved he wasn’t). Amid career stress, the couple, childless, split in 1979.
Though Majors had another TV hit with his ’80s series The Fall Guy, he has spent the last few years in Florida, raising his daughter, Nikki (by third ex-wife, Karen Velez, a model). Fawcett has found acting offers sparse, and last year hit a nadir when—promoting a Playboy pictorial and pay-per-view special in which she used her body as a paintbrush—she appeared disoriented on David Letterman’s Late Show. It seems that for the superhero couple of the ’70s, their powers worked best when they combined forces.