Today marks the 3 year anniversary of the passing of two beloved stars, one that was expected, one that was a complete shock.
On June 25th, 2009, Farrah Fawcett succumbed to her battle with cancer and Michael Jackson, on the verge of a comeback tour, had a fatal heart attack.
The two are forever linked together in history.
I recall that I had swine flu at the time so it forced me to do nothing but relax, sleep, and watch TV. Surprisingly, while watching two back to back specials about their lives, I saw some major lessons on success.
I’ll admit it, Farrah was my first crush. I was one of the 12 million who bought the eye POPPING red bathing suit poster (above) and proudly had it on my wall. She was a natural beauty. In 1976 she burst onto the scene as an angel, long before Victoria’s Secret.
Farrah wanted to be seen as having more depth, and more substance, so, not satisfied being perceived as a babe, she quit Charlies Angels after just one season. She was sued and blacklisted for doing so.
“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
This was her opportunity to take risks and control her destiny. She did bit parts here and there and then, it happened. In 1983, following a series of commercial and critical flops, Farrah took on the role formerly held by Susan Sarandon in the off Broadway play Extremities, she was a would-be rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker.
Farrah described the role as “the most grueling, the most intense, the most physically demanding and emotionally exhausting” of her career.
This undoubtedly prepared her for her next role. She played an abused wife in the fact-based made for TV movie, The Burning Bed. This earned her the first nomination of what would be three Emmy Nods throughout her career. It was the highest rated TV movie of the season!
She surprised everyone, except herself.
“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” ~ Frederick B. Wilcox
She also earned Four Golden Globe award nominations, all this after her brief career as an angel. The girl next door was suddenly a woman of substance – on her terms, by taking risks and following her heart and of course with a bit of perseverance thrown in for good measure.
Thrilling a Nation
I still remember walking in the schoolyard with a boombox cranking up Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. I was immediately drawn to it’s rhythms. I was an MTV junkie, and even though I gravitated to the hard rock hair bands I liked it. Then Beat It caught my attention, with Eddie Van Halen and Steve Lukather (Toto) playing guest guitar on the recording. It rocked, with the West Side Story type of gang video and EVH rippin up the solo. But that was only the beginning.
Can anyone forget the Motown awards show where Michael performed Billie Jean and astonished the crowd as he popularized the moon walk. That was an iconic moment in history and catapulted Michael over the top.
Then came the Thriller video! John Landis directed a 14 minute epic that cost $500K to make. Michael owned MTV and the nation, then the world. Rumor has is that the music industry executives thought Thriller would sell about 2 million records, but Michael had other ideas.
They showed an interview with Micheal’s brother Jermaine at poolside. Jermaine recalled that Michael used to have posted up on his mirror a goal that Thriller would be the number one selling album of all time.
It was. And it still is.
“Make sure you visualize what you really want, not what someone else wants for you.” ~Jerry Gillies
RIP Farrah and Michael, you are missed and loved!
Rock Star Success Coach & Sales Trainer