Family & Companions
Proving that nothing was as sexy as a beautiful female crime fighter, kicking butt with gun in hand, Jaclyn Smith found her life changed virtually overnight, following the premiere episode of producer Aaron Spelling's TV monster - the show that typified the 70s' phrase, "jiggle TV" - "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981). As the pretty, feminine brunette of the bunch - which included Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Kate Jackson - Smith as private detective Kelly Garrett was the only original Angel to stay with the show through its entire five year run. A smart cookie, Smith parlayed her "Angels" fame into a highly lucrative business relationship with the department store chain, K-Mart, as well as becoming known for one brief time in the early to mid 1980s, as "queen of the miniseries."
Smith was born Jacquelyn Ellen Smith on Oct. 26, 1947 in Houston, TX to Jack Smith and Margaret Ellen Hartsfield. She graduated from high school in 1964, originally aspiring to be a famous ballerina like so many other young girls. After high school, she studied drama at Trinity College before moving to New York City to try her hand at modeling and acting. She worked in regional theatre and performed in such plays as "West Side Story" and "Bye, Bye Birdie," but her first taste of commercials success came in 1973, where she became the quintessential "Breck Girl" in numerous print and TV campaigns for Breck hair care products. In the mid '70s, Smith moved to Hollywood and received her first film break with a small role in "The Adventurers" (1970) and "The Bootleggers" (1974). From those films, she segued into guest appearances on various TV series, including "McCloud" (NBC, 1970-77) , "Get Christie Love" (ABC, 1974-75) and "Switch," (CBS, 1975-78), the latter of which starred Robert Wagner.
The veteran actor was so impressed, he recommended the budding actress for a role in a new all-female detective series, "The Alley Cats," being executive-produced by Aaron Spelling. That series was later renamed "Charlie's Angels," debuting in 1976 to unimaginable success. Although the media and fans predominately latched on to the token blonde with the million dollar smile, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Smith's character - the brainy, leggy Kelly Garrett - was a close second. Playing Garrett week to week provided a level of fame most actors only dream of, as well as financial security, with Smith earning $40,000 a week.
While her career was riding high, her personal life was occasionally choppy - much to the delight of tabloids of the time who relished every Angel marriage gone awry. She married four times - to actors Roger Davis (1972-75) and Dennis Cole (1978-1981), to filmmaker Tony Richmond (1981 - 1989), with whom she had two kids, and to surgeon Brad Allen (since 1997). Through all the very public tumult, Smith managed to successfully balance family and work, acting in numerous post-"Angels" television projects, including Sidney Sheldon's "Rage of Angels" (NBC, 1983), the highly rated TV biopic, "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy" (ABC, 1981) - for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination - "Florence Nightingale" (NBC, 1985), and in the Robert Ludlum suspense thriller mini-series "The Bourne Identity" (ABC, 1988) (the first incarnation of the now-popular feature trilogy starring Matt Damon). In 1990, People magazine named Smith as one the "50 Most Beautiful People in The World."
When her third marriage collapsed after eight years, Smith decided to take a break from acting and dedicate herself to her children. Eventually she became restless, and of all things, decided in 1985 to launch her own low-priced clothing line at Kmart. From a business perspective, the creation of the Jaclyn Smith Collection was a savvy move on the actress' part. She became the first celebrity to launch a popular fashion collection which, to this day, generates $300 million a year in sales. Smith balanced her new fashion empire by returning to her first love, acting, starring in as the title character in the short lived series, "Christine Cromwell" (1989-90). Although the series did not last, Smith continued to land roles in TV movies, such as "In the Arms of a Killer" (NBC, 1992), "Married to a Stranger" (Family Channel, 1997) and "Three Secrets" (CBS, 1999), as well as guest spots in various TV series.
In August of 2002, she underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatment for breast cancer after a lump was detected during a routine check-up. Ironically, for a show renowned for its ample (for the time) display of "T & A," Smith was the second Angel to go public with her breast cancer scare - the first being Kate Jackson. Fortunately, the two actresses, who had remained good friends throughout the decades, both successfully won their battle against the disease. She fully recovered and joined the cast of CBS' "The District" (2002-04) as Craig T. Nelson's love interest, Vanessa Cavanaugh.
The 50-something actress was introduced to a younger generation when the Drew Barrymore/Cameron Diaz feature flick, "Charlie's Angels" paid homage to its earlier TV angels, scoring big at the box office. At that time, a flurry of tributes were paid to the groundbreaking series, with Smith and her fellow Angels only too eager to revisit the vehicle that made them stars, interviewing for various TV Land and VH1-style documentaries on the show. Smith was asked by Barrymore (who produced both films) to make an appearance in the sequel "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003). Smith gladly accepted, appearing in her cameo as Kelly Garrett, offering advice to the latest generation of Angels.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Appeared as a model in the feature film, "Goodbye Columbus"
Landed a job as a "Breck girl" for Breck Shampoo
Starred as Kelly Garrett in the popular ABC detective drama, "Charlie's Angels"
Co-starred with Robert Mitchum in the feature film, "Nightkill"
Played the title role in the TV-movie, "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress
Starred in Sidney Sheldon's TV-movie, "Rage of Angels"
Played the dual roles of Maggie Rogers and Brooke Ashley in the suspense thriller, "Deja Vu"
Designed and promoted a clothing line for Kmart
Co-starred in Robert Ludlum's "The Bourne Identity," with Richard Chamberlain
Played the title role in "Christine Cromwell," part of four installments of the rotating TV-movie series, "The ABC Saturday Mystery"
Had a recurring role as Vanessa Cavanaugh in the CBS show, "The District"
Reprised her role as Kelly Garrett in a short cameo in the feature, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"
Hosted the Bravo reality series, "Shear Genius"