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.