Only a miracle can save me now, says Farrah Fawcett
Actress lays bare her struggle with cancer
Friday 15 May 2009
Defiantly promising that she "will not go gently into that good night," Farrah Fawcett is taking her battle against cancer to the airwaves, sharing intimate and sometimes graphic details of the illness she claims left her feeling like "a blonde nothingness".
The 62-year-old actress, who is fighting for her life at home in Los Angeles, will tonight talk America through her painful struggle against the apparently terminal disease, which she dubbed her "terrorist" when it was first diagnosed more than two years ago.
In a two hour documentary, Farrah's Story, she chronicles every stage of her decline. Some scenes show her writhing in pain in hospital beds; others show her lying comatose, with dozens of needles penetrating her body. One particularly harrowing episode sees her vomiting continually, and unable to sleep.
Perhaps the most moving scene shows Fawcett tearfully cutting off what remains of her famous blonde hair, and shaving her scalp. It was filmed shortly after she learned the anal cancer had spread to her liver and intestines.
"You wouldn't stop until you got my hair," she jokes to doctors, adding that she's unable to eat liver any more after seeing pictures of her tumour. "I feel like Alice in Wonderland, it's so surreal. I feel like a blonde nothingness, alone in my own body... today it's not drugs that fill my body, it's despair."
The film premiered at an emotional screening in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night, attended by dozens of Fawcett's closest friends, including Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, the actress Jacqueline Bisset, and her best friend Alana Stewart, who was responsible for much of the camerawork.
Fawcett maintains her sense of humour throughout, but the tone changes at the end of the film, when she makes an impassioned plea for America to reform its dysfunctional healthcare system, and urges the government to modernise cancer screening.
The film also shows her frustration at the media's intrusion into her treatment. Last year, police were called into her hospital after it emerged that a member of staff had sold her medical records to the National Enquirer.
An employee of the hospital, Lawanda Jackson, pleaded guilty to violating federal medical privacy laws. But Jackson died from cancer last week, before sentencing could be completed.
The public nature of Fawcett's illness has drawn comparisons with Jade Goody, the British reality TV star whose death earlier this year led to an overnight rise in the number of women seeking breast cancer screening.
In an uncanny parallel with Goody, who was married in her last weeks, Fawcett – once one of the most famous women in America, who sensationally posed for Playboy in the 1970s – has now reconciled with long-term partner Ryan O'Neal.
"Farrah is in a solid place emotionally, but physically she's a wreck," O'Neal told reporters this week. "It's a very rocky place. We put on a brave front, always, when we're with her, so she doesn't know how scared we are... in the last two years, I loved her more than I've ever loved her. I look at her with awe."
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Naomi Wolf reacts to Isis 'conspiracy theories' critism after she questions whether beheading videos are real
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
New York police shooting: thousands turn out for the funeral of Rafael Ramos
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...