Caller-Times file Actress Farrah Fawcett signs autographs during an appearance at the Bay Area Medical Center atrium on Dec. 30, 1993. Fawcett was in town for a fundraiser benefiting the Women's Shelter of South Texas which included a telethon of her 1984 TV movie about domestic violence "The Burning Bed."
Farrah Fawcett’s 1993 visit helped victims of domestic violence
By Allison Ehrlich of the Caller-Times
Farrah Fawcett may have been Charlie's angel in the '70s, but to others she was a crusader who lent her celebrity status to furthering awareness of domestic violence.
The Ray High School graduate's experiences starring in the 1984 TV movie "The Burning Bed" sparked her desire to help victims of domestic violence. The film tells the true story of Francine Hughes who killed her abusive husband of 13 years in 1977. Hughes was found not guilty and her story was chronicled in a book and later adapted into the movie starring Fawcett.
In this photo taken Dec. 30, 1993 Fawcett signs autographs during an appearance in the atrium of Bay Area Medical Center. Fawcett was in town for a private New Year's Eve fundraiser on behalf of the Women's Shelter of South Texas which included a three-hour telethon on KIII-TV of "The Burning Bed."
The actress, who was born and raised here until leaving to attend the University of Texas, traveled to the city with her parents Jim and Pauline Fawcett from Houston. The three had spent Christmas with Fawcett's longtime partner Ryan O'Neal and their young son. Fawcett commented that she knew exactly the last time she had visited the city, "because I was just six weeks' pregnant with my son, Redmond, who's now 8."
"I would go anywhere and do anything for a shelter," Fawcett told the Caller-Times' Elaine Liner in an interview. The telethon alone raised $324,000 toward the goal of $1.8 million to build a new shelter. Less than a year later in August 1994 the Women's Shelter opened their new building that doubled its client capacity.
Fawcett's dedication to domestic violence victims carried on until her death from anal cancer in 2009 at 62. Follow the Caller-Times’ examination of the city’s struggle with domestic violence and learn more at www.caller.com/behindbrokendoors.
Allison Ehrlich is the archive coordinator for the Caller-Times. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @CallerArchives.