Though Farrah Fawcett's main claim to fame was television, the decision to leave her out of the "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars has caused quite a stir. Fawcett appeared in 14 feature films in her lifetime. Although she was first featured as eye candy in box-office bombs like "Myra Breckinridge" (1970), she went on to earn a Golden Globe nom for her starring role in "Extremities" (1986) and reap an Indie Spirit bid for her performance opposite Oscar nominee Robert Duvall in "The Apostle" (1997). One of her final film roles was as the estranged wife of Richard Gere in Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women" (2000).
Among those overlooked by the academy in addition to Fawcett were Bea Arthur and Gene Barry -- also best known for their TV work -- and Oscar nominee Richard Todd ("The Hasty Heart"). Academy executive director Bruce Davis told People, "There's nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all. They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we're sorry for it." And he said he thought it more appropriate that Fawcett had been honored for her "remarkable television work" by the Emmys last year.
It is understandable that the academy has to winnow a list of over a hundred possible names down to a manageable number -- 33 this year. However, that time constraint makes the inclusion of Michael Jackson -- who starred in just one film in his lifetime ("The Wiz") -- even more questionable. Surely -- using the same logic as with Fawcett -- the tribute to Jackson at the recent Grammys should have sufficed.
Our forum posters have pointed out this is not the first year for oversights in this Oscars segment. In 2002, Oscar nominees Dorothy McGuire ("Gentleman's Agreement") and Peggy Lee ("Pete Kelly's Blues") were left out while R&B singer Aaliyah, who starred in just one film -- "Romeo Must Die" -- before her death, was featured. And in 2004, Oscar nominee Martha Scott ("Our Town") was not included.
Photo: "Extremities" DVD cover. Credit: MGM