Cheryl Ladd Reflects on Working With Farrah Fawcett on 'Charlie's Angels'

Charlies angels
Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

When it comes to shows that have lost famous leads, few have recovered as divinely as Charlie's Angels. ABC's fashionable drama about three private eyes who work for an unseen boss (voiced by Dynasty's John Forsythe) made instant stars of Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett when it launched in 1976. But after Season 1, Fawcett and her iconic feathered locks quit the Charles Townsend detective agency in search of cinematic glory, leaving überproducer Aaron Spelling to fill the breakout blonde's shoes.

"I didn't know how it would work for anybody to try to replace her," admits Cheryl Ladd, who initially shot down Spelling's offer to take over for Fawcett. "I mean, what a task, right?" But then he approached her again and had the "'genius" idea to make the new role a relative of Fawcett's Jill Munroe. "He said, 'Why couldn't you be Jill's little sister and you're already part of the family?' I said, 'I'm in!' It was brilliant."

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Ladd's eager Kris Munroe proved a perfect successor with her Season 2 bow and, in Season 3, finally got to play opposite her onscreen sis when Fawcett returned to fulfill her contract with a series of guest spots. Those appearances include "Angel in a Box," the final hour of Saturday's three-episode block. Jill races back to L.A. from Montreal to help Kelly (Smith) and Sabrina (Jackson) save her kidnapped sibling.

"She was really happy to see the girls," the Texas-based Ladd recalls of the on-set reunions, adding that Fawcett's megastar status never impacted her professionalism. "She said, 'I'm here, and I'm going to do the best work I can and make this work.'"

Charlie's Angels

(Credit: Everett Collection)

As for Ladd, still tight with Smith and set to appear in a Lifetime holiday movie later this year, she remembers the episode fondly for another reason: It also gave her a break from Angels' endless wardrobe changes. "I was in the same suit the whole time!" she says with a laugh. "Farrah was in fabulous clothes every time she showed up onscreen.… She was gorgeous and sophisticated, and then there's little Kris. One hairdo and one outfit — it was heaven!"

Charlie's Angels, Saturday, June 6, 5/4c, Cozi TV