May 18, 2009 / 8:28 PM / 10 years ago

Farrah Fawcett cried, joked about her documentary

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Farrah Fawcett became emotional while watching a television documentary about her losing cancer battle but still had the wit to make an old showbiz joke, according to her closest friends.

Farrah Fawcett releases a live Monarch butterfly in West Hollywood, California on October 5, 2005. REUTERS/Staff

“She cried a few times. It was very emotional for her,” her friend Alana Stewart, the former wife of rocker Rod Stewart, told NBC’s “Today” program in an interview on Monday. “It’s been a very, very long journey, you know, and going back through it was probably a bit painful.”

Nearly 9 million viewers tuned in to watch the video diary, “Farrah’s Story” that aired on Friday, NBC said.

The 90-minute film, much of it narrated by Fawcett, makes clear the actress is nearing the end of her life. It shows the actress’ numerous medical treatments over the past two years and recent weeks when she has been bedridden, heavily medicated and barely able to recognize her son.

Ryan O’Neal, Fawcett’s long term boyfriend, told “Today” that Fawcett had a “very low pulse” when she began watching the film that “kept going up and up” throughout the viewing.

She also had the clarity to make a showbiz joke about whether the ratings were any good.

“I said, ‘We did very well last night,’ And she said, “What were the numbers?’ ... and it made me laugh that she would still have those terms in her head,” O’Neal said.

Fawcett, 62, the former star of the TV show “Charlie’s Angels,” was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and it spread to her liver two years ago. The film includes footage of Fawcett shaving her own hair late last year when it began to fall out after chemotherapy.

The actress was too ill to attend a screening of the documentary in Beverly Hills for close friends last week.

The show drew mixed critical reactions. The New York Times described it as “awful” and “exploitative.” Entertainment Weekly said it was “sometimes almost unbearable, sometimes fascinating.”

O’Neal has spoken tearfully in recent days of a life without Fawcett.

But Stewart, who helped film the documentary, said in a separate interview that she still hoped for a miracle.

“Ryan has loved her for 30 years. She’s the love of his life. He does go to worst possible case scenario. He’s very emotional about it. I’m different. I’m stubbornly insistent there can be a miracle. talked about once. We didn’t allow any outcome into our minds except getting well,” she told Entertainment Tonight in an interview to be broadcast on Monday evening.

editing by Jill Serjeant

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