''Charlie's Angels'' and ''The Burning Bed'' are some of the actress's most notable performances

By Jennifer Armstrong
July 03, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

Charlie’s Angels, Season 1 (1976-77)
The guilty pleasure that spawned a new genre — ”jiggle TV” — had Fawcett playing the Sporty Spice of the crime-fighting trio, Jill Munroe. The star’s exploding popularity would famously prompt her to leave the show after one season. (She was replaced by Cheryl Ladd.)

The Burning Bed (1984)
Fawcett deglammed to deliver a raw performance as an abused wife who kills her husband in this TV movie. Based on a true story, it was the first of a handful of female-empowerment sagas she would take on (see also: Extremities).

The Apostle (1997)
She earned praise (and an Independent Spirit Award nod) as a preacher’s wife whose infidelity inspires her fiery husband to bash her lover in the head and embark on a journey of redemption. Holding her own against writer-director-star Robert Duvall was no small feat.