Sunday, August 02, 2009

Farrah Fawcett's life and death become an E! True Hollywood Story

When NBC Dateline took Farrah Fawcett’s cancer documentary (as was its right since the network paid for it) and turned it into a morbid maudlin “mainstream news” version of a tabloid television special, critics groaned, millions watched in horror, the original producer sued and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave it an Emmy nomination.

When The E! True Hollywood Story dedicates an hour to “the life and legacy of the iconic Hollywood beauty” on Wednesday night, there may not be awards cast in its direction, but viewers can expect they'll be able to sit down to a compelling hour of tabloid show business biography.

The E! True Hollywood Story is television’s premier entertainment biography show, turning each of its stories into a down-and-dirty Hollywood noir, laying its subjects bare while treating them with the respect and awe that their achievements and status command. Whether Natalie Wood or Ray Combs, Liberace or Jan-Michael Vincent, Rebecca Schaeffer or Joe Piscopo, all the THS subjects wind up together in the equivalent of a low-rent Sunset Boulevard motel-- not diminished but enshrined equally as True Hollywood Stars, for why else would we care so much about their personal travails?

It’s a pre-TMZ approach that comes closest to the Hollywood myth-handling of the early days of tabloid television when James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis were still fertile subject matter.

As for the series’ latest portrait of Farrah-- she was featured in 1999, in Season 3-- take it from the press release :

“In 1976, a famous hairstyle and a red swimsuit turned unknown actress Farrah Fawcett into a pop culture icon, but the Texas-born beauty never lost her girl-next-door humility and charm. Diagnosed with cancer in 2006, Fawcett was also an inspiration to many people as she waged a courageous battle with the disease that ultimately took her life. THS chronicles the complicated journey of this blonde bombshell through intimate interviews with those who knew her best…”

The hour-long episode features a rare interview with Farrah’s college friend Sylvia Dorsey, “who sat with Fawcett in the hospital during her final days, along with Farrah’s longtime stylist Mela Murphy and “Charlie’s Angels” creator Leonard Goldberg.

There are also “never-before seen photos taken by her best friend, Alana Stewart.”

In light of the turmoil among those closest to Farrah in the weeks preceding and after her death, those alone should make for a very interesting hour, while adding to the bigger picture.

“Farrah Fawcett: The E! True Hollywood Story” premieres Wednesday, August 5th at 10 pm Eastern and Pacific, and ten show up throughout the E! schedule.


Anonymous said...

Did Tabloid Baby see the same documentary I did? I didn't think it was "morbid and horrific". I thought it was raw and emotional and everything she wanted it to be. I felt priveleged to watch her share her life with us that way. I hope she gets her Emmy.

Mother of the year said...

Haven't watch THS yet; did record it.

While I understand what we were shown as "Farrah's Story" was not what she visioned, I still enjoyed it.

I'm not sure if the public is ready to see what cancer is really about.