In its latest issue, on newsstands now, Closer Weekly talks to cast members and producers of the popular television show Charlie’s Angels in celebration of the program's anniversary. The series made its debut 40 years ago on Sept. 22, 1976, and has made a lasting impact on TV to this day.
Some things never change, and one of them is the show’s appeal. “It’s amazing how many people liked Charlie’s and still do,” Shelley Hack — who became an Angel in 1979 — tells Closer. “We showed how women can kick butt and look good, too.”
Surprisingly, ABC executives doubted the series would be a smash before it premiered. “They didn’t seem to like it very much,” executive producer Leonard Goldberg tells Closer.
Stars Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack and Jaclyn Smith in 1979. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
After primetime vets Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were cast as LA police academy grads Sabrina Duncan and Jill Munroe, producers had to fight for less experienced fashion model Jaclyn Smith to play rookie P.I. Kelly Garrett. Recalls Goldberg, “I said, ‘We’re not exactly giving them Shakespeare to do. She’ll be fine.’”
That she was, and the show shot to the top of the ratings. “Jackie and I toasted each other with some good rosé champagne,” Goldberg exclusively tells Closer. “By the way, she looks exactly the same as she did 40 years ago.”
The original actress’ connections remained equally strong. “Kate and Jaclyn rallied around Farrah when she had cancer,” says Mike Pingel, author of two books about Charlie’s Angels.
Jaclyn, Farrah and Kate in 1976. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“Jaclyn was always dropping off yogurt for her, and one time I walked into Farrah’s room, and she and Kate were in bed watching [the season one episode] ‘Angels in Chains,’” Pengel — who also worked as Farrah’s assistant — tells Closer.
Tragically, Farrah died at 62 in 2009, but her spirit lives on, as does the show’s legacy. Exec producer Aaron Spelling “had lightning in a bottle when he put these actresses together,” says Pingel. “Everybody always asks, ‘Are they Angels?’ and I say, ‘They are — they’re complete Angels.’”
To read the full story on Charlie's Angels, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!
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