Television

Farrah Fawcett-Taggart

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Ayn Rand adored beautiful actresses, pretty unreservedly–her essay on Marilyn Monroe's death is quite emotionally affecting, and explains a great deal in terms the non-philosophically inclined can understand about the sources of the volatile Russian-born novelist's loves and hates.

Rand extended that love to the beauty icon of her, Rand's, fading years, Farrah Fawcett, who died yesterday. At the Daily Beast, Amy Wallace has the scoop on the relationship between the philosophical libertarian novelist and the sunny starlet.

The excerpts below are from emails Fawcett sent to Wallace about her relationship with Rand, in the months before Fawcett's death, and show Fawcett definitely understood Rand's literary theory:

Ayn contacted me with a personal letter (and a copy of Atlas Shrugged) through my agents. Even though we had never met (and never did), she seemed to think we must have a lot in common since we were both born on the same day: February 2nd….

When we finally spoke on the phone (actually she did most of the speaking and I did most of the listening), she said she never missed an episode of the show. I remember being surprised and flattered by that. I mean, here was this literary genius praising Angels…..

Ayn said that while Angels was uniquely American, it was also the exception to American television in that it was the only show to capture true "romanticism"—it intentionally depicted the world not as it was, but as it should be. Aaron Spelling was probably the only other person to see Angels that way….

She kept saying that someday somebody would offer me a script (and a role) that would give me the chance to "triumph as an actress." Ayn wanted that script to be Atlas Shrugged and that role to be her heroine, Dagny Taggart….

I remember liking the [Fountainhead] movie because it was unique in that the characters seemed to be the embodiments of ideas as opposed to real flesh and blood people with interests and lives. Now that I think about it, I think that's why Ayn was drawn to Charlie's Angels. Because the characters that Kate, Jaclyn and I played weren't really characters (the audience never saw us outside of work) as much as personifications of the idea that three sexy women could do all the things that Kojak and Columbo did…..

But I also responded to The Fountainhead because, as an artist (a painter and sculptress) myself, I related to the architect's resistance to make his work like everyone else's—which was, of course, what Ayn's own art was all about. And that resistance to conformity is probably one of the reasons that she was so determined to see me play Dagny: At the time I would have been the completely unexpected choice…..

Later, when I read Atlas Shrugged, I was reminded of my first and only conversation with Ayn and how some of the characters in her novel(s) take an immediate liking to each other, almost as if they had always known each other—at least in spirit. And this was the feeling I got from Ayn herself, from the way she spoke to me. I'll always think of "Dagny Taggart" as the best role I was supposed to play but never did…

My 2005 essay on the sources of Rand's enduring appeal.

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97 responses to “Farrah Fawcett-Taggart

  1. Too bad Rand was of the wrong age to date Camile Paglia. They would have been the most interesting and craziet lesbian couple in history.

  2. Ok, that’s really weird.

  3. But also really accurate.

  4. So Rand was a switch-hitter, eh? That surprises me. I thought she was too into the rape fantasy to dig women.

  5. “Farrah Fawcett-Taggart”

    Don’t forget Michael Jackson Meigs and Ed McReardon.

  6. “[T]hat resistance to conformity is probably one of the reasons that she was so determined to see me play Dagny: At the time I would have been the completely unexpected choice…”

    Rand’s The Romantic Manifesto is required reading for anyone who is puzzled by this seemingly odd relationship. Chapter 8 (“Bootleg Romanticism”) is particularly cogent.

  7. So Rand was a switch-hitter, eh?

    There is no credible evidence to support this bit of slander that I am aware of.

  8. “There is no credible evidence to support this bit of slander that I am aware of.”

    Why is it a slander? There is nothing wrong with being gay. Beyond that, I don’t quite see how you can be a tall woman with so much masculine charm and run around writing worshipful pieces about Marylyn Monroe and then complain will people suspect you play on the other team. Rand sets the gaydar off a lot more than more famous switch hitters of her generation like Catherine Hepburn. To me learning that Rand is a switch hitter is about as surprising as the day I found out Dusty Springfield was one.

  9. What about Farrah Fawcett’s testimony? Sounds compelling to me.

  10. Well, Micheal Jackson is a character in the Elvis Shrugged comic…

  11. Why is it a slander?

    By its context, obviously. Men can’t admire other men without being called “homosexuals”?
    The same goes for women. Rand admired achievement in other humans.
    That doesn’t make her a lesbian.

  12. “Rand admired achievement in other humans.”

    Well that is one way to put it.

  13. I don’t quite see how you can be a tall woman with so much masculine charm

    Get your facts straight, John. Rand was rather small, about 5′ 2″. Let me know when you can point to a credible source about her alleged lesbianism.

  14. Farah Fawcett died and went to heaven. God said, “Since you were such a great person, let me give you one wish.”

    Farah replied, “Please keep all the children safe.”

  15. (John googles furiously. Ed goes on to other things.)

  16. “Get your facts straight, John. Rand was rather small, about 5′ 2″. Let me know when you can point to a credible source about her alleged lesbianism.”

    I never realized she was that small having only seen pictures of her. No, no one knows that she was a lesbian. Her sex life was her business. Regardless, her and Paglia would have been a great couple.

  17. “Too bad Rand was of the wrong age to date Camile Paglia.”

    I was going to say–she sounds like the Paglia of her time in these quotes.

  18. Didn’t google at all Ed. I know that no one knows what the hell Rand’s sex life was. She didn’t advertise it and good for her. But, only a serious Rand worshiper would not admit to the distinct possiblity that she didn’t switch hit a bit. And only a paranoid would be offended at the accusation.

  19. Wait, Dusty Springfield was gay?

  20. “I was going to say–she sounds like the Paglia of her time in these quotes.”

    She does.

  21. “Wait, Dusty Springfield was gay?”

    Queer as a three dollar bill. Look it up.

  22. Out of all the books that were written with the explicit goal of condemning Rand and her life, not one of them has ever mentioned bi-sexuality.

    But saying her admiration of certain actresses makes her gay is like saying her love of wearing capes makes her the drummer for Cream.

  23. Really? Rand and Fawcett were long distance friends? Kinda . . . weird.

  24. “Too bad Rand was of the wrong age to date Camile Paglia. They would have been the most interesting and craziet lesbian couple in history.”

    I have loved Paglia for decades.

  25. Who the devil is “Dusty Springfield”?

  26. Hush, Brooks, the adults are talking…

  27. “But saying her admiration of certain actresses makes her gay is like saying her love of wearing capes makes her the drummer for Cream.”

    I’m told they let her sit in from time to time because she was a hell of a drummer. Some campared her to Buddy Rich.

    I remember Rich being on the Tonight show and Carson asked him if he thought America had a drug problem. He said, “Hell yeah it has a drug problem. They cost much, much more than they should.”

  28. Who the devil is “Dusty Springfield”?

    The only legitimate female soul singer ever produced in Britian. And easily the greatest white female soul singer ever. You have probably heard, if nothing else, “Son of a Preacher Man”. Yes, that song is sung by a tall blond, british woman with nice legs not an American black woman.

  29. I guys are friends in reality or in fiction, modern revisionists always deem them gay. Holmes and Watson? Gay. Magnum and T.C.? Gay. Spock and Kirk? Gay.

    So why do you wish to discriminate against women? Besides, we’re only calling Rand bisexual, not Fawcett.

  30. Oops. That should be “If guys. . . .”

  31. Higgins seemed a bit fruity.

  32. “Higgins seemed a bit fruity.”

    No doubt Higgins had some Lawarence of Arabia type experiences while in the Japanese POW camp if you get my drift.

  33. Christ, can you not express simple admiration without some kind of sex-negative piece of shit falling from the mouths of folks around here?

    There should be a logical fallacy of reductio ad sexium, wherein you lose the argument if you accuse someone of having a sexual fantasy and/or a desire to have sexual relations with the object of praise.

  34. “There should be a logical fallacy of reductio ad sexium, wherein you lose the argument if you accuse someone of having a sexual fantasy and/or a desire to have sexual relations with the object of praise.”

    Wow. Touch a nerve there AO?

  35. If you’ll excuse the intrusion, Captain…

  36. Actually, setting Atlas Shrugged in the ’70s and featuring Farrah Fawcett would have been pretty damned awesome. Wesley Mouch would have shown driving his AMC Pacer around self-righteously.

    They would have had to figure out a way to insert a humongous car chase featuring lots of blown-up Plymouth Furies, though.

  37. It is okay AO. The fact that you have that 20×30 poster of Patrick Stewart in your room does not give anyone the right to think you are gay.

  38. ChrisO,

    Who would Burt Reynolds have played? No 70s movie is complete without Burt and his stache.

  39. mmmmmmmm Patrick Stewart

  40. Please. John Hillerman is a Texan. Texans can’t be gay. It’s like a law or something.

  41. Wow. Touch a nerve there AO?

    He’s sick of people thinking he’s a lesbian.

  42. actually, John, this is just a convenient place to air my grievance. how many people say crude things like “liking the taste of Obama/police/state/Bush dick” in the mouth everytime someone says something praiseworthy of those entities.

    It’s childish, stupid and takes positive sexual actions and casts them in a negative light, which is extremely regressive.

  43. Steers and Queers Pro. Steers and Queers.

  44. That’s Oklahoma, John.

  45. “It’s childish, stupid and takes positive sexual actions and casts them in a negative light, which is extremely regressive.”

    That or maybe they are funny, descriptive and crude.

  46. It’s childish, stupid and takes positive sexual actions and casts them in a negative light

    Well, it IS the internet.

  47. “That’s Oklahoma, John.”

    That is what the Texans say.

  48. I don’t have a dog in that fight, but I will say this: One state is a musical. The other is not.

  49. “I don’t have a dog in that fight, but I will say this: One state is a musical. The other is not.”

    I never understood why people Oklahoma were not offended by that musical. It was written by New Yokers and makes them look like stupid hicks. They made it the state song for God’s sake.

  50. “I never understood why people Oklahoma were not offended by that musical. It was written by New Yokers and makes them look like stupid hicks. They made it the state song for God’s sake.”

    asked and answered

  51. Was Ayn Rand a lesbian?

    Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.

  52. John,

    I never understood why people Oklahoma were not offended by that musical.

    Maybe they just really, really, really like fringe. And tops.

  53. Wait, is Patrick Stewart wearing a shirt in the poster?

  54. I was going to say–she sounds like the Paglia of her time in these quotes.

    Bingo. That would have been a hell of a dinner party.

  55. I thought she was too into the rape fantasy to dig women.

    What makes you think that she wouldn’t be the dom?

  56. I really doubt Rand was a lesbian. I can see her being attracted to female beauty, but there’s a big difference in liking and appreciating a female’s form and spirit and being sexually turned on by her. In other sense, I think she liked power, and you can really have someone in your hands (whether in a manipulative way or a positive way) by praising them. Besides, the only two sex partners I’m aware she’s had (out of everything I’ve read by her) would be her husband, Frank, and her male-mistress, Nathaniel.

  57. “…the relationship between the philosopical libertarian novelist and the sunny starlet.”

    Small point: Rand didn’t consider herself a libertarian, I don’t think. In fact, I believe she actively disliked libertarianism.

    And, “philosophical” was misspelled. Heh.

  58. I’ve been thinking about this, and maybe there’s an alternative explanation: Rand wanted Fawcett to be raped (or “raped”) by some guy, all while Rand watched and took notes. I think this explanation is more consistent with the Rand we all know.

  59. her male-mistress, Nathaniel

    The correct term is manstress.

    Library of Congress used to accept “cabana boy” but it has since been deprecated.

  60. ChrisO,

    Who would Burt Reynolds have played? No 70s movie is complete without Burt and his stache.

    He’d make a swingin’ Francisco D’Ancona. Complete with Trans-Am.

  61. I like it, SugarFree. Quite the portmanteau.

  62. zoltan,

    Wikitionary notes: “The term itself was first coined by a Christopher Kader of Hamilton, New Zealand, linguist.”

    I can’t remember the first time I heard it though.

  63. as a big Ayn Rand fan, I am of the opinion that Rand can say she didn’t like libertarianism all she likes, but she actually didn’t care for libertarians.

  64. Nobody likes us, TAO. It’s because we’re so chiseled, musky, and well-endowed, or something.

  65. It’s because we’re so chiseled, musky, and well-endowed, or something.

    I’ve always chalked it up to having a penis as thick as a soup can.

  66. …as thick as a soup can.

    But only two inches long, right?

  67. Who would Burt Reynolds have played? No 70s movie is complete without Burt and his stache.

    He’d make a swingin’ Francisco D’Ancona. Complete with Trans-Am.

    FTW!!

  68. “Please. John Hillerman is a Texan. Texans can’t be gay. It’s like a law or something.”

    Three things come from Texas: Beers, steers and queers. Ergo, Texans who are neither beers nor steers must be inclined to engage in homosexual relations.

  69. “I’ve always chalked it up to having a penis as thick as a soup can.”

    Hey, now I understand why some people don’t like me too! Thanks,

  70. But only two inches long, right?

    Too bad there’s no jealousy font for you to type your childish slander in.

  71. Shew, SF, for a minute there I thought mentioning my massive manhood had killed yet another thread…

  72. It does cast a giant shadow.

  73. “Please. John Hillerman is a Texan. Texans can’t be gay. It’s like a law or something.”

    As everyone knows there are only two things in Texas — steers and queers.

  74. Why is it that the same people who like Ayn Rand are the same people whose listening is limited to Duran Duran and Men Without Hats?

  75. Damn! John beat me.

  76. “But only two inches long, right?”

    You got a problem with that, Pilgrim?

  77. How about misteress?

  78. Who would Burt Reynolds have played? No 70s movie is complete without Burt and his stache.

    John Galt, of course, with Dom Deloise as Francesco D’Antconia.

  79. It’s funny that Rand referenced Fawcett’s role in Charlies Angels. I thought her role on 3’s Company was far more Randian.

  80. Alan,

    I like Rand within certain limits, and I don’t like either of those groups particularly. Well, maybe I liked “View to a Kill”, but that’s probably more of a Walken thing than a Rand thing.

  81. Actor Rossano Brazzi believed Ayn Rand was lesbian. He thought it obvious, from my memory of his yammerings-after-the-fact of the Italian filming of We, The Living. I believe he knew Rand from his later Hollywood days. Rand possessed a male gaze (as Paglia would put it) towards attractive women. That might have given Brazzi the impression.

    There is no evidence that she slept with women. I don’t know whether she wanted to. I don’t find it slanderous to speculate, nor of much moment to dismiss the speculation.

    Rand was very peculiar. And so more normal folk tend to heap on imputations of other peculiarities.

    Farrah Fawcett was an attractive woman, when young, but her acting never reached great heights. The Paglia/Rand camp of fixating on image alone doesn’t strike me as very profound. Oh, well.

  82. Three things come from Texas: Beers, steers and queers.

    A sentiment commonly voiced by those threatened by the innate masculinity and irresistible sexual magnetism of Texans. Project much?

  83. Ed you are supposed to say “There is no evidence to support that slander. Not that there is anything wrong with that.“.

  84. Christ, can you not express simple admiration without some kind of sex-negative piece of shit falling from the mouths of folks around here?

    That is why I never mention Derek Jeter in these parts.

  85. “A sentiment commonly voiced by those threatened by the innate masculinity and irresistible sexual magnetism of Texans. Project much?”

    If the sexual magnetism of Texans is irresistible, it stands to reason that male Texans would be unable to resist the sexual magnetism of other male Texans. The next thing you know, you have man on dog.

  86. I just don’t get objectivists. You would think being able to have sick lesbian fantasies and speculation about their intellectual mentor would be viewed as something positive rather than a slander to be rebuked.

  87. “A sentiment commonly voiced by those threatened by the innate masculinity and irresistible sexual magnetism of Texans. Project much?”

    I took a shit in Texas once.

  88. “The next thing you know, you have man on dog.”

    Your disrespect for female Texans (or dogs as you call them) is most understandable.

  89. “I just don’t get objectivists.”
    precisely

  90. I took a shit in Texas once.

    I peed on a tiny little landmark, onetime. No bigger than the typical texan’s dick.

  91. I’m used to my share of Texan slander, but from an Oklahoman that’s just precious.

  92. I took a shit in Texas once.

    Did you drop your drawers first? Everyone knows how scuzzy Okies are.

  93. Everyone knows how scuzzy Okies are.

    Hell, do they even wipe afterwards?

  94. BoscoH, Farrah was never on Three’s Company. That was Suzanne Somers, who has had breast cancer.

  95. John | June 26, 2009, 1:36pm | #

    I never realized she was that small having only seen pictures of her.

    You should get out more, John. There’s a whole wide world beyond Hit & Run. Girls ‘n’ things!

  96. That was Suzanne Somers, who has had breast cancer.

    From the Thighmaster and all that Aquanet.

  97. I will always remember her bringing us jiggle tv and the most iconic of hairstyles. Thanks Farrah and so long

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