Fawcett, the younger of two daughters, was born in Corpus Christi, on the Texas Gulf Coast. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw Fawcett doing commercials and TV guest spots. In April 1976, a poster company Pro Arts Inc., that had started out making anti-war posters, started to hear about a young up-and-coming beauty named Farrah Fawcett doing Wella Balsam shampoo commercials.
On 22 September 1976, the first episode of Fawcett playing the character Jill Munroe in the TV series Charlie's Angels was aired. Charlie's Angels went on to become a huge hit, but after just one year Fawcett left the show.
Fawcett achieved critical praise and the first of three Emmy Award nominations as a serious actress for her role as a battered wife in the 1984 television movie The Burning Bed. She also won acclaim in the stage and movie version of Extremities, in which she played a rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. She then played a predatory role in another miniseries, Small Sacrifices, receiving a second Emmy nomination. Her third Emmy nomination came in 2004 for her work in The Guardian. Fawcett has been nominated for several other awards as well a Golden Globe and ACE awards.