Farrah Fawcett, Sex symbol and Actress, dies in Santa Monica

Los Angeles – The 1970s did not lack for sex symbols. That, the ubiquitous Farrah Fawcett poster made sure of.

Fawcett, the feather-haired founding member of TV's Charlie's Angels and pinup icon whose second act was marked by bids to showcase her acting chops and whose third act was marred by on- and offscreen problems, died this morning at a Los Angeles-area hospital, some two-and-a-half years after being diagnosed with anal cancer. She was 62.

The actress passed away at 9:28 a.m. Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's longtime leading man, and friend Alana Stewart were with her at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, per a rep at Rogers & Cowan, Fawcett's publicity firm.

In an interview to air tonight on 20/20, O'Neal said he'd recently proposed to the ailing Fawcett, and that she'd accepted. The Love Story actor sounded certain the longtime unmarrieds would—finally—tie the knot.

"We will, as soon as she can say yes," O'Neal said. "Maybe we can just nod her head."

They never made it.

Fawcett, who in recent months had stopped receiving cancer treatment, talked frankly about her battle in Farrah's Story, a raw, camcorder-shot documentary that aired in May on NBC.

"I know that everyone will die eventually, but I do not want to die of this disease," Fawcett said in the film.

"I want to stay alive."

Becoming an Angel

Even alongside Kate Jackson's smart Sabrina Duncan and Jaclyn Smith's beautiful Kelly Garrett, Fawcett stood out as sunny, sun-tinged private-detective Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels.

Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Fawcett moved to Hollywood in the late 1960s and found the town a pushover for her breathy twang. She began landing bit TV parts and lathering up football hero Joe Namath with shaving cream for a commercial.

While Fawcett stood out, she wasn't yet a star.

That would change—and change quickly—with producer Aaron Spelling's uncanny mix of feminism and jiggle. Within two months of Charlie's Angels' Sept. 22, 1976, premiere, Time magazine declared Jackson, Smith and Fawcett: "TV's Super Women."

On a show that sold sex, nobody sold more of it than Fawcett. Especially in poster shops.

"Nipples. It was the first time people had been exposed to nipples," the late Jay Bernstein once told Britain's Channel 4. "Hundreds of thousands of men had their first sexual experience with Farrah Fawcett. She just wasn't there."

The poster went on to sell a reported and reputedly record 12 million copies, one of which was launched into orbit by an appreciative NASA.

Fawcett, known during the height of her 1970s fame as Farrah Fawcett-Majors, from her then marriage to Six Million Dollar Man star Lee Majors, secured her exit from Charlie's Angels after only one season (although producers obliged her to return for a handful of episodes through 1980). Fawcett sought more money, bigger projects and, ultimately, respect.

"I became famous almost before I had a craft," Fawcett told the New York Times in 1986. "I didn't study drama at school. I was an art major. Suddenly, when I was doing Charlie's Angels, I was getting all this fan mail, and I didn't really know why. I don't think anybody else did, either."

Victories and Defeats

Fawcett's initial post-Angels projects were duds—the sci-fi clunker Saturn 3, among them.

A turning point in Fawcett's career came in 1984, when she earned an Emmy nomination, and finally respect, as the battered wife in The Burning Bed. She went on to rate two more Emmy nods, one for the 1989 TV-movie Small Sacrifices and one for a 2001 guest appearance on The Guardian. She garnered Oscar buzz for playing a revenge-seeking rape victim in the 1986 film Extremities, a project she first tackled off-Broadway.

The 1990s was a tough decade personally and professionally for Fawcett. Her brand of TV-movies died. Her attempt at a sitcom, Good Sports, didn't take. Her relationship with O'Neal seemed over.

In 1997, Fawcett put in a loopy, trainwreck of an appearance on David Letterman's Late Show. In 1998, she reluctantly, and tearfully, took the stand in the trial of director James Orr, who was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of beating his Man of the House leading lady.

If anything, Fawcett's Playboy pictorial was the highlight of the period. Age 48 and sans a red—or any other kind of—bathing suit, Fawcett posed nude and brought Hugh Hefner's empire its best-selling issue of the decade.

In 2006, Fawcett reunited with Jackson and Smith at the Primetime Emmy Awards for a tribute to Spelling, who'd died earlier that summer.

"The three of us didn't experience the Charlie's Angels phenomenon like the rest of the world did," a tearful Fawcett told the audience. "We experienced it from the inside—the eye of that televised storm—together."

The Fight

Just weeks after the Emmys, in October 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer. She was declared cancer-free in early 2007, just before her 60th birthday, only to have a new cancer diagnosis a few months later.

"I am resolutely strong, and I am determined to bite the bullet and fight the fight," Fawcett said after her initial 2006 diagnosis.

Fawcett seemed to battle the tabloid press as much as her disease. She and her reps seethed at headlines, dating back to 2006, that declared: "Farrah Begs: Let Me Die!" Much as with Chasing Farrah, Fawcett sought to control her story by producing a documentary on her cancer fight.

Last year, Fawcett's battle took her to Germany, where she underwent treatment before returning to Los Angeles and being admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in early April. While some reports at the time described Fawcett's condition as grave, her doctor said the actress was being treated for bleeding unrelated to the cancer. And while Fawcett headed home on April 10, there was not much to celebrate: Her doctor also noted the cancer had spread to her liver.

Fawcett was married to Majors from 1973-82. Although she announced her split from Ryan O'Neal in 1997, the two were an on-again, off-again couple since about 1982.

The couple never seemed more on-again than when Fawcett took ill.

"In the last two years, I loved her more than I've ever loved her—ever," O'Neal told Today this year.

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Archos 9 mini tablet PC with Windows 7 OS

Archos has announced the Archos 9 mini tablet PC, which comes with a 9 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600.

The Archos 9 features an Intel Atom Z515 processor, 1GB of RAM, built in 802.11 b/g WiFi, a 1.3 megapixel camera, VGA out, and the option for 3G connectivity and a DVB TV tuner.

Following up its lacklustre Archos 10 netbook, the French PMP maker has decided 9-inch tablet computers running a full-blown Windows 7 installation is the way forward. And we've got to admit, that's new.

The grammatically questionable Archos 9 pctablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z515 CPU, coupled with up to 120GB of hard-disk storage and Wi-Fi. With built-in DVB-T antennas it should pick up and record UK Freeview TV no problem. A 12-inch version will launch in 2010, but this 9-inch model goes in sale in the UK in the autumn, with prices still to be announced.

The important question is why would you want a tablet? The Archos 7 is essentially a tablet, but Archos pulled it off by giving it a media-centric custom OS built to be used on a touchscreen, and it worked well. Our own PC editor Rory Reid claims using tablets is essentially "like using a disabled PC", which while arguably true, isn't very PC at all*. But we shall not judge until we use.

Also announced at a recent Archos event in France was the Archos 10s and 13s netbook/mini PC/laptop models. The 10s is a thin little 10.2-inch netbook, running Windows XP atop an Intel Atom 1.6GHz chip, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard disk, with either a questionably low-capacity three-cell battery, or a slightly better six-cell option. A bunch of free software comes pre-loaded for you to have immediate fun uninstalling upon purchase, and while all very average in netbook terms, will probably bode well with the patriotic types in France.

The Archos 13s is more interesting. It's a 13.3-inch ultra-portable, powered by Intel's 'Ultra Low Voltage' Celeron CPU, which should offer decent battery performance over many 13.3-inch models. It's got the latest Wi-Fi technology (802.11n), an LED-backlit screen, HDMI output and 160GB of hard disk space. It's also an impressive 27mm thick. The Archos 9 will run Windows 7, and comes with a 120GB hard drive, it will go on sale in October for around $700.

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