Actress Jaclyn Smith was the only “Angel” to appear in all five seasons of Charlie’s Angels. Now, the fan-favorite is speaking out on the loss of her former co-star, Tanya Roberts, who passed away on Monday, January 4.
Jaclyn Smith Honors Tanya Roberts
“Tanya joined #CharliesAngels for the final season, closing it out as it was initially intended with a red head, a brunette and a blonde,” said Smith, referring to Roberts (the redhead), herself (the brunette), and Cheryl Ladd (blonde). She brought joy to so many people and had a career spanning decades. Good bye angel, Rest In Peace 🙏.”
Reports of Roberts’ passing went widespread on Sunday and early Monday, but they were premature. Roberts did not die until the evening hours on Monday.
Charlie’s Angels first aired as a TV-movie in March of 1976. The movie earned a 54.8 share among viewers (meaning more than half of TV sets on were watching Charlie’s Angels). These numbers prompted ABC to order a TV series based on the film. The weekly show debuted later that year on September 22.
The original trio was composed of Kate Jackson (Sabrina Duncan), Farrah Fawcett-Majors (Jill Munroe), and Smith (Kelly Garrett). After the first year, Fawcett-Majors quit, leading producers to hire Ladd as Kris, Jill’s adorable and slightly quirky younger sister.
Two years later, Jackson exited, so producers hired Shelley Hack as Tiffany Welles. For some odd reason, the show seemed hesitant to incorporate the likeable Hack into storylines for the first part of the season. Eventually, she was given episodes that focused more on her character.
With failing ratings, a decision was made to drop Hack and go on the hunt for a new angel, hoping the publicity would garner renewed interest in the series. Roberts was cast not to play a former police officer (as the other five had been), but rather an ex-model, Julie, who was drawn into a case on which Kelly and Kris were working. Julie worked so well with Kris and Kelly that she earned a private eye’s license and became a part of the Townsend Agency. The fifth and final season of Charlie’s Angels aired only for 16 episodes.