When Jaclyn Smith jumped onto TV screens everywhere as private investigator Kelly Garrett, she excited viewers everywhere. She and her crime-fighting Charlie’s Angels gal pals Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson sat atop the ratings chart for a good chunk of the show’s five-year run. While Smith and the other Angels were the talk of the town in the mid- to late-1970s, a lot of today’s younger audience isn’t familiar with Smith and her story—which is too bad because it’s quite an interesting one.
Jaclyn Smith’s early life was simple
Smith was born in Houston, Texas on October 26, 1945. From a young age she loved dancing; she was 3 years old when she put on her first pair of dancing shoes. She attended Mirabeau B. Lamar High School where Ruth Denney, her drama teacher, inspired her to try out the stage. Her passion was still dancing, so when she graduated from Trinity University, she moved to New York City to make it as a ballerina. While it doesn’t seem like her dancing career ever took off, her modeling career soared. And with her good looks, it’s not hard to understand why.
After turning down the role of Victoria Winters on the ABC series Dark Shadows, Smith was offered a job as a “Breck girl” for Breck Shampoo. She continued doing commercial work, eventually teaming up with future co-star Farrah Fawcett as a spokeswoman for Wella Balsam shampoo.
The heyday: 1970s Jaclyn Smith
In 1976, Smith was offered the chance to star in a TV pilot for a show called Charlie’s Angels. Not surprisingly, the pilot was a smash hit, and the show debuted on ABC. For five seasons, she played investigator Kelly Garrett, earning the distinction as the only Angel to last for the entire duration of the show.
When the program was cancelled in 1981, Smith went on to star in the TV film Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work. Later, she worked on miniseries like The Bourne Identity, Rage of Angels, and Windmills of the Gods.
MUST-SEE: See the Entire Kennedy Family!
Continued success: Jaclyn Smith today
Today, Smith is not only a proven actress but also a talented businesswoman. Since 1985, her fashion line has been sold at Kmart. She’s also branched out into home decor with her line Jaclyn Smith Today. As if that wasn’t enough, the mini mogul has her own line of wigs called STYLE by Jaclyn Smith. Talk about a triple threat!
In 2003, Smith had a health scare: She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors had found a small lump on her left breast, but thankfully it was detected early through a routine mammogram.
“When I heard that news, I panicked,” she told The New York Daily News in a 2012 interview. “The word ‘cancer’ is what stood out. That’s a word I didn’t even like to say. It was very surreal. I couldn’t get a grip on it,” she said. “I think my first words were, “Will I be here for my children?’”
During that tough time, Smith found comfort from her former co-star Kate Jackson who had also battled and beat breast cancer. After her doctors notified her with good news—the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes—she opted for a lumpectomy and eight weeks of chemotherapy.
“I’m here, and I’m so grateful,” she said. “The experience made me so aware of living life right.”
Finding love: Jaclyn Smith’s spouse
She is married to cardiothoracic surgeon Brad Allen and has been since 1997, though she was married three times prior to Allen. Her first husband, actor Roger Davis, is best known for his work on the TV shows Dark Shadows and Alias Smith and Jones. They were together from 1968 to 1975. Smith married her second husband Dennis Cole in 1978, but they divorced in 1981. (Cole appeared in a couple of Charlie’s Angels episodes, believe it or not!) After their divorce, Smith maintained a relationship with Cole’s son from his first marriage, but sadly the young man was tragically murdered in an unsolved robbery. Smith’s third marriage was to filmmaker Tony Richmond, and it lasted from 1981 until 1989. Smith and Richmond had two children: Gaston (born in 1982) and Spencer Margaret (born in 1985).
An expanding family: Jaclyn Smith’s children
Smith’s son Gaston has followed his mother into show biz, but his work has mainly been behind the camera. He’s assisted on movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel, The Kids Are All Right, and Fresh of the Boat.
Spencer, Smith’s daughter, has maintained a low profile, but she recently starred in a Kmart ad with her mother in 2015. Viewers immediately drew comparisons between the stars, as Spencer inherited her mom’s good looks. In 2015, Spencer also married actor Fran Kranz, whose credits include the horror film The Cabin in the Woods and a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
In 2016, Smith announced she was a grandmother after Spencer gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter named Bea. Smith constantly shares photos of little Bea on Instagram, and we have to say she is quite a cutie.
NEXT: See Jaclyn Smith and the rest of the Charlie’s Angels cast then and now!
Charlie's Angles Farah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009)
Farrah Fawcett was the unquestioned star of the original Charlie's Angels while she played the stunning Jill Munroe for the show's first season. After a contract dispute, Fawcett appeared on the show as a recurring guest, rather than a main cast member. Meanwhile, Cheryl Ladd joined the cast in the second season as Jill's sister Kris Munroe. When Charlie's Angels ended in 1980, Fawcett went on to star in a series of TV movies like The Burning Bed and Small Sacrifices, for which she was nominated Emmy Awards. Sadly, she died in 2009 at age 62 after a painful battle with cancer.
Charlie's Angels Jaclyn Smith
Jaclyn Smith played Kelly Garrett for all five seasons, making her the only Angel to appear as a main cast member throughout the entire series. Like Fawcett, Smith remained in show business after Charlie's Angels ended, appearing in several TV movies and shows, and she even made a cameo in the 2003 film adaptation of Charlie's Angels. She was always known for jaw-dropping good looks, but pics of Jaclyn Smith today prove she continues to dazzle at age 72. Her most recent film was a Hallmark TV movie called Bridal Wave, which came out in 2015. We can't wait to see what role she plays next!
Charlie's Angels Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson played Sabrina Duncan for three seasons on the show. After departing the set in 1979, the Charlie's Angels original cast member admitted that she was happy to be "able to hang up the halo." It gave her the opportunity to expand her horizons and try other roles on for size. She went on to appear in TV shows like Ally McBeal, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Criminal Minds. While she hasn't appeared in any shows recently, she certainly has an impressive resume to her name if she wants to revisit a set anytime soon.
Charlies Angels Cheryl Ladd
Cheryl Ladd played Farrah Fawcett's on-screen sister, Kris Munroe, for four seasons. After the show was canceled, Ladd also remained on TV screens, appearing on a wide variety of shows like Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, and NCIS. She's still acting today and regularly makes appearances in TV and movies. Her most recent role was a "deliciously demented" grandmother in the 2017 film Unforgettable. She's also working to raise awareness for cataracts surgery after her husband had the procedure done. There's just no stopping her from making her mark!
Charlies Angels Shelley Hack
Model and actress Shelley Hack was brought on to replace Kate Jackson, who departed after three seasons. But Hack, who played Tiffany Welles, lasted for just one season. After she left, she appeared on The Love Boat and L.A. Law, among other shows. While she hasn't appeared in a show recently, that certainly doesn't mean she's been less busy. Shelley Hack now is a co-president alongside her husband for the production company Smash Media, which develops and produces content for motion pictures, television, and new media.
Charlies Angels Tanya Roberts
It had to be a tough job to cast Charlie's Angels after so many changes, but the directors decided that Tanya Roberts would replace Shelley Hack for what would be final season of Charlie's Angels. She played Julie Rogers, a street-smart model and fighter, but her strong talent sadly couldn't save the show, which was cancelled that year. However, that didn't stop Roberts from achieving other remarkable accomplishments. Roberts went on to star in the James Bond film A View to Kill and joined the cast of That '70s Show.
Charlies Angels David Doyle
David Doyle (1929-1997)
In addition to Jaclyn Smith, David Doyle was the only other cast member to appear in all five seasons of the old Charlie's Angels show, playing detective John Bosley. After the show was cancelled, he appeared on shows like Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Foofur. As time went on, he opened himself up to a wide range of acting opportunities — some of which turned out to be extremely memorable characters. He even lent hist distinctive voice to the character Grandpa Lou Pickles on the popular animated children's show Rugrats until his sad death from a heart attack in 1997.