Okay, freeze! When you played Charlie’s Angels at recess, were you Sabrina, Kelly, or Jill? Or was your bedroom wall papered with Farrah Fawcett-Majors posters? It has been 13 years since the gun-toting, hair-feathering, halter-top-sporting Angels went to TV heaven. Granted, Perry Mason it wasn’t: Who but the Angels would go undercover at a roller derby to stop foul play? ”I knew it wasn’t Shakespeare,” says Cheryl Ladd. ”I knew I had to look good in a bikini.” Still, the 1976-81 series did clear the beach for other such action-babe series as Baywatch and Acapulco H.E.A.T. Isn’t David Hasselhoff just a buffed Bosley, and Pamela Anderson simply Fawcett’s Jill with a knowledge of CPR?
Ladd is back in action — and a bikini — this week in One West Waikiki, but what has befallen the other Angels? Fawcett, who last May starred in the TV movie The Substitute Wife, is currently shooting them feature film Man 2 Man with Chevy Chase and George Wendt.
Kate Jackson was reportedly one of TV’s highest-paid women when she starred in Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1983-87); recently she has concentrated on TV movies, including last January’s Armed and Innocent. The only Angel to stay with the series throughout its run, Jaclyn Smith went on to star in a spate of small-screen movies and miniseries and to hawk her very un-Angelic line of clothing for Kmart. Shelley Hack has settled into a life of child-rearing and grassroots politics in L.A., including a run for a county committee seat.
The last Angel, Tanya Roberts, once remarked, ”It’s easy to make a Chekhov soliloquy sound brilliant, but if you can pull off lines like, ‘He went that way,’ you’re in good shape.” Maybe not: Despite a noble attempt to establish a movie career (Beastmaster, Sheena, A View to a Kill), she can now be checked out in the ”Adult” section of your local video store.
As for the series’ males, John Forsythe (the voice of Charlie) won the role of the patriarch in Dynasty (1981-89) and currently has a two-movie deal with NBC, which cancelled his short-lived The Powers That Be in 1993. David Doyle (who played sidekick Bosley) has taken a Charlie-like path: True fans will recognize his froggy rasp as Grandpa in Nickelodeon’s animated Rugrats.
Perhaps the Angels’ legacy is best summed up by Doyle, who observes, ”There won’t be another show like it — which opens the way for a lot of people to say, ‘Thank God.’ ”