Actor, Farrah Fawcett, had said in various interviews over the years that the work she was most proud of was her role as Francine Hughes in The Burning Bed. Adapted from the non-fiction book by Faith McNulty, the television movie helped give the problem of domestic abuse another face–a familiar and glamorous one that television audiences knew well.
The book was about a woman who had lived with her husband hitting her for quite some time. Finally, one night after he raped her in their bed, she set the bed on fire with him in it. It was a true story.
Fawcett was perhaps best-known for her role as Jill Munroe on the popular detective television series, Charlie’s Angels. However, when she undertook the serious part in The Burning Bed, she allowed herself to look, not like the poster pin-up she had become, but instead as a battered and beaten woman–bruised, sweaty, hair messed up–a woman distraught; and a woman torn. Her performance in the film made those who had not done so before look at Ms. Fawcett as having the talent of a serious actor.
There will be eulogies and tributes to Farrah Fawcett now at her passing. People will remember her for many things–poster girl; Charlie’s Angel; a spokesperson for cancer patients in her later days–but perhaps considering a list of works she found most satisfying in her chosen profession is one of the best ways to remember her. The Burning Bed is certainly one of the prime candidates for that list.
R.I.P., Farrah Fawcett.