Farrah Fawcett poster image reissued for charity -- on a T-shirt


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The famous Farrah Fawcett photo -- the one taken by Bruce McBroom of the actress in a red bathing suit posed in front of a striped blanket that would go on to sell more than 12 million posters -- is back in circulation -- on an Urban Outfitters T-shirt.

In a deal put together by the Farrah Fawcett Foundation and Culver City-based branding agency Brand Sense Partners, the $24 men’s T-shirt is being sold at the retailer’s bricks-and-mortar stores and online, with a portion of proceeds going to fund the foundation’s alternative cancer research efforts.


According to the Foundation, several months before Fawcett passed away in 2009, the actress had finally obtained legal rights to the red bathing suit photograph*, which had long the subject of legal wrangling. ‘She’d wanted to do this for a long time,’ said the organization’s president Alana Stewart.

Stewart said that now that Fawcett’s estate owns the rights to that iconic image, it can be used on a variety of products, with a portion of proceeds helping fund the foundation that bears her name (which Stewart, who was a close friend of Fawcett’s for more than 30 years, says is in accordance with the wishes of the late actress).

The Urban Outfitters T-shirt is the first of the licensed products bearing the image to hit the market since the actress’ passing nearly three years ago (although, in 2011, Mattel did release a collectible Farrah Barbie doll based on the image -- posed in a red bathing suit against a striped blanket --with a portion of proceeds going to the foundation), and Stewart hints that it won’t be the last.

‘There are some things in the works,’ she said, ‘but what’s really important to me is that it needs to be exclusive and classy -- something that Farrah would have approved of.’

Although Stewart declined to say what percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each $24 shirt will go to the Farrah Fawcett Foundation’s cancer awareness and research efforts or estimate how much the T-shirt deal might ultimately be worth, she pointed out that sales have already been surprisingly brisk.

‘I don’t think she could have imagined that all these young kids would be going into Urban Outfitters and buying a a T-shirt with her picture on it,’ Stewart said of her late friend. ‘I bet she’d think that was pretty cool.’



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-- Adam Tschorn

[*UPDATED 5/2/2012, 4:37 p.m.: An earlier draft of this post misstated when Fawcett obtained legal rights to the use of the photograph. According to a spokesperson for the Foundation, the issue was settled several months prior to her 2009 passing, not afterward, as originally indicated.]