Charlie’s Angels gave us three sexy female private eyes to watch every week, and starred Kate Jackson (seasons 1–3), Jaclyn Smith (seasons 1–5), Farrah Fawcett-Majors (season 1), Cheryl Ladd (seasons 2–5) Shelley Hack (season 4) Tanya Roberts (season 5) David Doyle (seasons 1–5) and, John Forsythe (voice of Charlie; seasons 1–5). The show ran from 1976 to 1981. Did you know that it was originally going to be named The Alley Cats! Now that is funny!
Here is a little bit about each star of the show:
Kate got her part, playing Sabrina Duncan right off the bat due to her immense popularity on The Rookies where she played a police officer. The Rookies also starred Georg Stanford Brown, Sam Melville, Michael Ontkean and Gerald S. O’Loughlin. Kate was not at all happy with the shows title name and asked if it could be changed to Angels instead of Ally Cats. She also thought that the bosses identity should remain a mystery to us the viewers as well as the characters on the show. That is so cool that Kate’s suggestions to the producers were incorporated into the show! They were going to initially give the Angel’s boss the name Harry and the title of the show would have been Harry’s Angels but it was too close to the name of another TV series, Harry-O (another show I liked to watch, which starred David Janssen). Kate was initially cast as Kelly Garrett, but was more attracted to the role of Sabrina Duncan, and her request to switch roles was granted.
Farrah was the next to be selected to play an Angel on the show. The producers saw her in the small role she played on Logan’s Run and decided she would be good to play a lead in their show. So she too, like Kate, did not have to audition for a part.
Jaclyn was cast as Kelly Garrett after a casting call was sent out to complete their search for the last “Angel”. She won the role over hundreds of other hopeful actresses. Jaclyn had done some commercials before landing this job.
Farrah was replaced by Cheryl Ladd as Kris Munroe, Jill’s sister and a former police officer from San Francisco. Kate was replaced by Shelley Hack as Tiffany Welles, a former police officer from Boston. In the final season, Tanya Roberts replaced Shelley as Julie Rogers, a former model. Jaclyn turned out to be the only cast member to stay with the show through it’s entire 5 year run.
David Doyle was a cute little man who played John Bosley, he also worked for Charlie and gave the Angels their assignments. He actually got to see Charlie! He appeared in all 110 episodes of the series.
John Forsythe played the mysterious unseen millionaire private investigator Charles “Charlie” Townsend. Every episode we heard John in the opening credits saying … Once upon a time, three little girls went to the police academy, where they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Charlie…
During the show’s run, a countless variety of collectible items were produced, including two versions of dolls, boardgames, several posters, several sets of trading cards, notebooks, a lunchbox & thermos, Charlie’s Angels van (I had this van, mine was a model that you had to put together yourself with decals, I still have the original box somewhere), children’s beauty products and even record albums, not to mention that these actresses were splashed all over every magazine you can think of (and I bought a few of those myself, lol). Farrah’s poster, you know that one where she is wearing that revealing red bathing suit, well that poster became the biggest selling poster in history with 12 million copies sold, which in turn helped the popularity of the show! Charlie’s Angels was a huge success, and was shown in more than 90 countries.
This show had some cool guest stars which included: Kim Basinger, Dirk Benedict, Barbi Benton, Sonny Bono, Edd Byrnes, Kim Cattrall, Scatman Crothers, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Davi, Sammy Davis, Jr., Timothy Dalton, Patrick Duffy, Rosemary Forsyth, Jonathan Frakes, Tab Hunter, Tommy Lee Jones, Ida Lupino, Randolph Mantooth, Dean Martin, Ray Milland, Dack Rambo, Robert Reed, Dick Sargent, Tom Selleck, Louise Sorel, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Urich, Jane Wyman and many countless other stars!
The show sadly was canceled in 1981, I think due to the fact that the actresses that originated it left and the replacements just didn’t gel with some of the viewers. I thought all of the “Angels” did a good job but it just wasn’t ever the same after Farrah and Kate left.
ABC did attempt to bring us a spin-off of the show in 1980 called Toni’s Boys. It was a gender reversal of Charlie’s Angels, and starred Barbara Stanwyck as Antonia “Toni” Blake, a wealthy widow and friend of Charlie’s who ran a detective agency. It did not get picked up as a regular series for the following season.
Charlie’s Angels Tidbits:
-The Angels’ office phone number was 555-0267.
-Kelly was an orphan.
–Drew Barrymore owns the screen rights to the series.
-The Angels all drove Ford automobiles. Jill, and later Kris, drove a Cobra, Kelly drove a Mustang and Sabrina drove a Pinto. For the record, Bosley drove a Ford Thunderbird.
-Jill, Kelly and Sabrina were all former members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Kris worked for the San Francisco police and Tiffany was with the Boston police. The only Angel who was never a cop was Julie, who originally was a model.
-Sabrina was the only Angel that was previously married. She was married to a fellow officer when she was still a cop but the marriage ended in divorce.
-Among the actresses who auditioned over the years for the various roles as Angels were Kathie Lee Gifford and Kim Basinger. Basinger appears in the episode Charlie’s Angels: Angels in Chains as an inmate.
-One actress considered for the role of Tiffany Welles was Michelle Pfeiffer. Shari Belafonte was a front-runner for the part as well before Shelley Hack was eventually cast.
-The surname of David Doyle’s character, John Bosley, was an in-joke reference to the fact that Doyle was often misidentified as TV actor Tom Bosley.
-On her first day on the set, Cheryl Ladd wore a t-shirt that said “Farrah Fawcett Minor” as a way of breaking the ice after replacing Farrah Fawcett.
-Producer Aaron Spelling had also been the producer of the first prime-time TV series with a female private eye in the title role, Honey West starring Anne Francis. That show may have been ahead of its time, as it only lasted one season. Then in 1976, the public was ready to accept the concept and this series was a runaway hit.
-Producer Aaron Spelling had previously used Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd in the film Satan’s School for Girls.
–Priscilla Presley was considered for one of the Angels.
Naturesjoy’s Celebrity Clippings & Pinups has a wide variety of various Celebrity clippings and pinups for sale, some which include a few of the stars mentioned above.