Two days after fans of Farrah Fawcett began complaining that the late "Charlie's Angels" star had been overlooked by the Oscars, an Academy Awards representative is speaking for the first time about the omission, and revealing that it was done on purpose.
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences executive director Bruce Davis, speaking on behalf of the committee who assembles the Oscar's yearly "In Memoriam" segment, told The Associated Press that it was a difficult decision to omit Fawcett and that they expected some controversy. "[The committee] was kind of figuring that probably the Farrah Fawcett and Gene Barry omissions would be the ones we'd get the most comments on," Davis said, also naming the veteran actor whose 1963-66 series "Burke's Law" kept him predominantly remembered as a TV star. "[We] did get one letter about Miss Fawcett."
During Sunday's highly rated Oscar telecast, a video tribute was shown featuring such memorable Hollywood names as Brittany Murphy, David Carradine and Patrick Swayze. But Fawcett — who had memorable turns in such films as "The Apostle," "The Cannonball Run" and "Logan's Run," and who got Oscar buzz herself for a performance in the 1986 rape drama "Extremities" — was nowhere to be found.
Citing the "remarkable television work" of Fawcett and Barry, the Academy ultimately decided to omit the two actors intentionally. Those playing along at home, however, might point to the fact that Michael Jackson was featured prominently during the "In Memoriam" clip, but will hardly be remembered first and foremost as a movie star.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2006, Fawcett died in June 2009.
"In every category, you're going to miss some wonderful people," Davis said. "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."
Fawcett's longtime partner, actor Ryan O'Neal, said that he was confused by the omission — a sentiment echoed by several other famous folks who knew and loved Fawcett. In past years, similar controversies have erupted concerning omitted names like Brad Renfro and Gene Siskel.
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