Farrah Fawcett liked her chocolate chip cookies extra crispy. “She’d say, ‘Can you burn them a little bit for me?’” the star’s former assistant Mike Pingel tells Closer. “She liked them a little darker around the edges.”
After many years as a fan of the late Charlie’s Angels actress, Mike felt nervous about interviewing with her for an assistant job in 2005. “I thought it would be horrible if Jill Munroe was yelling at me for something that I’d done wrong! But I took the meeting,” says Mike, author of Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels. He accepted the position because Farrah, whom he’d met briefly before, was so sweet to him. “I said yes, and we just had the best time.”
For three years, Mike helped the actress run her home and business. “I shopped for her. I cooked for her. I took phone calls. I was with her 24/7 during those years,” says Mike, who adds that despite his worries, Farrah never yelled at him. “She was everything you wanted in a boss.”
At that point, Farrah’s son, Redmond, was grown and she had more time to pursue new projects. “She was a wonderful artist. She did beautiful sculptures and beautiful paintings. She loved clothing, and we designed some shirts together,” says Mike, who believes Farrah was on her way to creating her own clothing brand.
Farrah also read scripts, but she didn’t like much of what she was offered. “Many things were coming through the door, but she was very picky,” says Mike.
This small-town girl from Texas had a good understanding of her own worth. In 1976, a photo of Farrah in a one-piece red swimsuit sold 12 million copies – it’s still among the most popular posters of all time. The same year, she helped make Charlie’s Angels a ratings juggernaut, but Farrah soon felt limited by the formula of the detective series.
“She had no regrets about leaving,” says Mike. “It’s a huge thing now with women knowing their worth and value, but Farrah always had that. She knew the strength of her name and who she was. She told me once, ‘I’m more than just hair and teeth, Mike.'”
A year into Mike’s employment, Farrah was diagnosed with anal cancer. She sought treatment, both traditional and alternative, and she never lost faith. “She fought every step of the way,” says Mike, who says that she spearheaded the 2009 documentary Farrah’s Story to share information about cancer treatments. “She wanted her journey to help others, too.”
Before her passing in 2009 at age 62, Farrah was surrounded by love. “Her face lit up whenever Redmond was around. She adored that young man, and he adored her.” Her partner Ryan O’Neal also “made Farrah laugh,” recalls Mike.
Farrah received visits from old co-stars, too. “Farrah, Kate [Jackson] and Jaclyn [Smith] were friends until the end,” he says. “They were always dropping stuff at the house. Kate would come by and get on the bed with her to watch TV. They were sisters.”
Mike left his assistant job in 2007 but also remained close to Farrah. “I still baked her cookies,” he confides. “She was not only a boss and an angel, but a friend.”