Shelley Fabares: Everyone's Sweetheart
Some of us grew up with her and today she is a role model for aging. And better yet, I don't think that is her goal, she is not trying to be a role model for aging.
I met her by serendipity. Her husband of nearly 25 years, Mike Farrell, was appearing at my local independent book store to talk about politics, M*A*S*H and his newest book. I knew she might be there, but didn't know that she would be such a treat.
I had a brief meeting scheduled with Mike for which he was late. I learned it was because his wife wasn't feeling well and he was concerned. I knew she had had a liver transplant years ago, and a hip replacement in the summer of 2008. I had been mildly interested in seeing her, even though she was a huge memory from my youth.
About halfway through the public talk, Mike stated that she was there, 'you could tell by the pink hair'. (!) I looked back and sure enough I could see pink spikes. Hmmm....
She wouldn't come up front and wasn't at the table for the book signing. So as I left, I looked for her and founding her in the stacks talking to a couple of people, admiring Quail Ridge Bookstore.
I asked her two things. One, about her career. I had read in several places that her career bagan with Mary Stone in the Donna Reed Show, I could have sworn she played with Annette on some of the Mickey Mouse Club serials they showed one day a week. I was right, she played one of the 'mean girls' in Annette.
Then I asked her about the hair. I was a bit surprized that I liked it. It looked good on her as it framed the face that obviously had never seen a surgeon's knife or a Botox filled needle. So, Shelley, what's up?
The story started nine years ago when she was in the middle of a serious illness. It lasted for years and the doctors couldn't figure it out. Eventually, she had a liver transplant. Just before her surgery she was at the hair dresser's and saw "the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I am in a business with a lot of beautiful women." The woman was 6 foot tall and a mix of black, oriental and European. She had pink spikey hair. The hairdresser suggested that maybe Shelley would like to have it done. She thought about it, realized that as an actress (since age 3) she had had to ask someone for every hair change she ever had. Plus, she really didn't know if she would out live that disease. So she did it! And she has kept it for nine years. It is blonde on the lower layer, coppery orange of the top, with pink spikes. At she looks great!
I even asked her about Cairg T. Nelson, her costar in Coach. Mike had talked about how great it was to work with like minded people on M*A*S*H, and Nelson had recently made the statement on Hannity, "I was on food stamps and welfare and nobody ever helped me then!" Indeed. Well, she said, "Craig is a brilliant actor and likes to stir the pot". She was diplomatic and still informative.
Three reasons to love Shelley Fabares
1. She was a role model for our childhood, adulthood and aging. She played Mary Stone, when we wanted to know how to be a teenager; Christine Armstrong when we liked strong women and Johnny Angel will always please our ears. She starred in more Elvis Presley movies than any other actress (3).
2. She has survived a liver transplant and a hip replacement all the while being true to herself as she ages.
3. She and her husband of 25 years (12/31/84) have worked for social justice while maintaining personal and professional lives.
Quick, what do you think of Shelley Fabares?
Shelley Fabares Through the Years
Mike Farrell and Shelley Fabares Married 12/31/84
There Is A Lot of TV History Here
Share your stories, sightings, thoughts, rants, raves...