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Biography

Jaclyn Smith, born Ellen Jaclyn Smith (October 26, 1947 in Houston, Texas), is a Golden Globe-nominated American actress. She is best known for the role of Kelly Garrett in the television series Charlie's Angels, and was the only original female lead to remain with the series for its complete run (1976-1981). For two decades, Smith has held the unofficial title of "Queen of TV Movies and Mini-Series", appearing in over two dozen such productions. Smith is currently the hostess of Bravo's weekly competitive reality television show Shear Genius.

Career

Charlie's Angels

On March 21, 1976, the first appearance of Smith playing the character Kelly Garrett in Charlie's Angels was aired as a movie of the week. The movie starred Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors) and Smith as private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multi-millionaire whom the women had never met. Voiced by John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character presented cases and dispensed advice via a speakerphone to his core team of three female employees, to whom he referred as "Angels". They were aided in the office and occasionally in the field by two male associates, played by character actors David Doyle and David Ogden Stiers. The program earned a huge Nielsen rating, causing the network to air it a second time and okay production for a series, with all of the principal characters save the one played by Stiers.

The series formally debuted September 22, 1976, and ran for five seasons. The show would become a smash success not only in the U.S. but, in successive years, in syndication around the world, spawning a cottage industry of peripheral products, particularly in the show's first three seasons, including several series of bubble gum cards, two sets of fashion dolls, numerous posters, puzzles, and school supplies, novelizations of episodes, toy vans, and a board game, all featuring Smith's likeness. The "Angels" also appeared on the covers of magazines around the world, from countless fan magazines to TV Guide (four times) to Time Magazine.

Media phenomenon Fawcett-Majors departed at the end of the first season, and Cheryl Ladd was a successful addition to the cast, remaining until the end of the series. Jackson departed at the end of the third season, and proved harder to replace, as first Shelley Hack and then Tanya Roberts were brought in to try and re-ignite the chemistry, media attention and ratings success enjoyed by the earlier teams. Smith played her role for all five seasons of Charlie's Angels until 1981, also portraying the Garrett character in a guest appearance in the 1977 pilot episode of The San Pedro Beach Bums and in a cameo in the 2003 feature film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Post-Charlie's Angels

Smith's first acting venture outside the Angels mold was the CBS-TV movie of the week Escape from Bogen County (1977). Then came a leading role in Joyce Haber's The Users with Tony Curtis and John Forsythe in 1978.

In 1980, Smith starred with Robert Mitchum in the suspense thriller Nightkill while divorcing husband actor Dennis Cole. The movie was touted as her first big screen role, but turned out to be a huge disappointment for Smith, as the film was largely unreleased in the cinema and quickly went to TV. But Smith's performance in the movie was lauded by critics.

Smith then starred in the blockbuster TV movie Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in 1981, and received a Best Actress nomination from the Golden Globe awards. However, she lost out to Jane Seymour who won the award for her role in the TV remake of East of Eden. In 1983, Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels arrived on Smith's doorstep. The actress was so popular that fans reportedly begged Sheldon to re-write the storyline that required Smith's character's son to die; there was a sequel in 1986.

In 1988, Smith appeared in another miniseries based from a Sheldon novel, Windmills of the Gods, this time with Robert Wagner as her love interest. It was another triumph in the Nielsen ratings.

The one that certified Smith's reign as the Queen of TV/Miniseries was the offer to star opposite the King Of TV Miniseries Richard Chamberlain in the adaptation of Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity. Smith was Chamberlain's first choice as his leading lady but she had just wrapped up with the Windmills of the Gods shoot and declined the part. The role was offered to Lesley-Anne Down who wanted her husband to photograph the film. Producers refused and again offered the role to Smith. The result was a huge hit not only in America but overseas.

In 1989, Smith starred in Settle the Score, her first disturbing role. It detailed incest, rape, killings, and other dirty family secrets. The film again proved her Nielsen ratings clout.

Other hits were Florence Nightingale, George Washington, Lies Before Kisses, The Rape of Dr. Willis, In the Arms of a Killer, and several TV versions of Danielle Steel novels. Her then-husband Tony Richmond also directed her in the 1985 feature film Deja Vu.

In 1989, Smith had the title role in Christine Cromwell, a mystery television series based in San Francisco which only lasted one season. Its cast included such esteemed actors as Celeste Holm (as Christine Cromwell's oft-married mother) and Theodore Bikel. Christine Cromwell was part of ABC's "Mystery Wheel" series which rotated with other detective shows like Columbo, Kojak and Burt Reynolds' "B.L. Stryker". Smith's show had the distinction of being the only female character of the wheel.

Smith was honored in 1989 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

From 2002 to 2004, Smith had a recurring role as Vanessa Cavanaugh in the series The District, which starred Craig T. Nelson. She reprised her Kelly Garrett role for a short cameo in the 2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle feature film, and appeared on episodes of "Hope and Faith". In May 2005, Smith starred as Judge Kay Woodbury in Hallmark’s production of Ordinary Miracles.

Her appearance on the 2006 Emmy telecast led Bravo TV’s producers to cast Smith as the celebrity host of Bravo’s weekly competitive reality series, Shear Genius, which began airing in March 2007. Shear Genius (Season 2) began airing June 25, 2008.

Designing

In 1985, Smith entered the business world with the introduction of her collection of women's apparel for Kmart. She pioneered the concept of celebrities developing their own brands rather than merely endorsing others. More than 100 million women have purchased clothing or accessories bearing her name. Awareness of the Jaclyn Smith name and brand by women 35-60 years of age is said to be higher than 80%. Industry authority Woman's Wear Daily reported that the signature Jaclyn Smith line had the highest consumer awareness of any private label apparel brand in the country.

With this strong recognition and record of success, Smith entered the home furnishings market in 2002. Her latest collection, Jaclyn Smith Home, features furniture, bedding, textiles, rugs, wall coverings and home accents at affordable prices. The designs are produced by Hickory Hill Furniture, Comfort Solutions by King Koil, Dalyn Rug Co., and Diversitex/Kingsway Fabrics, and are available through select dealers.

Personal life

Smith has been married four times; to actors Roger Davis (1968–1975) and Dennis Cole (1978–1981), to filmmaker Tony Richmond (1981–1989), and to Houston cardiothoracic surgeon Brad Allen (since 1997). Smith has two children, Spencer Margaret and Gaston, from her marriage to Richmond.

Smith battled breast cancer in 2003.

Wikipedia

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