Battle of the Angels: Who Was Charlie’s Best Leading Lady?

In the mid-’70s, three beautiful Angels appeared on our screens. They had legs for days, white pearly smiles, and the brains to crack the toughest cases around. They were recruited by Charles Townsend, a mysterious detective whom we never got to see fully.

Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore ding their Charlie’s Angels premiere 2003 / Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, and Kate Jack / Actresses Chery Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson / Angelina Jolie during Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Angelina Jolie, and Olivier Martinez Visit MTV's "TRL" / American actress Farrah Fawcett watches the on-court action
Photo by Bill Davila, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archive, Getty Images / Harry Langdon, Getty Images / Stephen Lovekin, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Fotos International, Frank Edwards, Getty Images

Through the years, Charlie’s Angels has been both praised and criticized. Some refer to the show as the first inkling of feminism, while others state the girls were a bunch of Barbie dolls prancing around in pretty clothes. We’re not quite sure which side you’re on, but we’re guessing that regardless of your view on the show, you enjoyed seeing the women in action.

With so many Angels in the franchise, it’s time to decide who’s the greatest one of them all.

Nadine Velazquez – Gloria Martinez

Coming in last is Gloria Martinez, an Angel many of you might not even know. She appeared in ABC’s 2011 (disappointing) reboot. We weren’t sure whether to put Gloria Martinez on this list because we barely got to see the Angel in action. She was killed in the first episode after her car exploded. But she was an Angel nonetheless, so she deserves a spot.

Nadine Velazquez arrives at the 2nd Annual Baby Ball Gala
Nadine Velazquez arrives at the 2nd Annual Baby Ball Gala held at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 11, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Gloria was a fast and furious car thief who was recruited by Carol City Crew. The angel’s life was nothing short of dramatic. She even took the fall for Eve’s car accident, which tragically took a cab driver’s life. All in all, Gloria popped up on our screens for less than a hot minute, but she still managed to make an impact.

Where Is Nadine Velazquez Now?

After her one and only episode as a Charlie’s Angel, Velazquez joined another action-packed series, Major Crimes, where she starred as Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios as part of the cast for Seasons 2, 3, and 6. She also appeared on the silver screen in the 2012 drama Flight. She played the supporting role of flight attendant Katerina Marquez.

Nadine Velazquez and the Cast Of “History’s Six”
Nadine Velazquez and the cast Of “History’s Six” Joins 12-Year-Old Preston Sharp For “Flags And Flowers” Event Honoring America’s Veterans at Los Angeles National Cemetery on May 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Apart from acting, Velasquez has landed several modeling gigs and was even a judge in the “Miss Universe 2008” pageant. In 2005, Velasquez married Marc Provissiero, but they called it quit in 2012. As of today, it’s unclear whether she’s single, but her social media shows a happy and healthy Nadine.

Shelley Hack – Tiffany Welles

Shelley joined Season Four of Charlie’s Angels in 1979 as Tiffany Welles, replacing Kate Jackson’s character, Sabrina Duncan. Hack was a well-known model before joining the show, and some viewers thought she was “too darn classy” to be in it. Other T.V. critics blamed her for being too stiff on camera and unnatural in delivering her lines.

Actress Shelley Hack is all smiles
Actress Shelley Hack is all smiles as photographers take her picture after she was named by ABC-TV to be the newest angel on Charlie’s Angel’s. Mrs. Hack is best known as “Charlie Girl” in the Revlon perfume commercials. Photo By Getty Images/ Bettmann

Hack was probably a better model than she was an actress. But that being said, she had an elegance to her that was hard to miss. Yes, she was a bit awkward when she first introduced herself to her fellow Angels, but her on-screen presence improved as the season progressed.

Where Is Shelley Hack Now?

After putting her short investigative career behind, Shelley appeared in several films, including The King of Comedy (1983) and The Stepfather (1987). Apart from acting, Shelley, a former cigarette smoker, became the spokesperson for the National Lung Association’s and American Medical Association’s campaign.

Shelley Hack attends the 2010 Super Mega Show & Comic F
Shelley Hack attends the 2010 Super Mega Show & Comic Fest at the Crowne Plaza on July 9, 2010, in Fairfield, New Jersey. Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage

Shelley eventually decided to take a break from acting and completed a master’s degree in business administration. Today, she serves as the co-president alongside her husband, Harry Winer, for their production company, Smash Media.

Rachael Taylor – Abby Simpson

Abby Simpson, another Angel from the 2011 series, was a skilled thief who could balance on top of tall buildings and make her way into any safe, no matter how well-guarded it was. She was a well-trained fighter who disarmed her opponents with ease. So, even though the show sucked, Abby’s skills made it a tiny bit better.

Actress Rachael Taylor of the television show “Charlie's Angels.
Actress Rachael Taylor of the television show “Charlie’s Angels” speaks during the Disney ABC Television Group portion of the 2011 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 7, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The reboot was supposed to release thirteen episodes. Still, after the fourth one, ABC announced that the ratings were too low to continue. So, they dragged it on for another four parts and wrapped up the season with eight cringy episodes.

Where Is Rachael Taylor Now?

After her main role on the short-lived reboot, the Australian actress played significant parts in several other series, including the supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue and the action thriller drama, Crisis (2014). She also starred in the Marvel-inspired TV series Jessica Jones.

Rachael Taylor attends a Special Screening of Netflix's
Rachael Taylor attends a Special Screening of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” Season 3 at ArcLight Hollywood on May 28, 2019, in Hollywood, California. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Her latest on-screen project was in 2019 when she starred in the heist thriller Finding Steve McQueen as Molly Murphy, the protagonist’s girlfriend. She currently lives in Los Angeles, but Tasmania, Australia, will forever be her real home.

Minka Kelly – Eve French

Another Angel from 2011, street racer Eve French joined Townsend Agency after her childhood friend, Gloria, tragically blew up to pieces. French took Gloria’s place and joined Angels Abby and Kate as the group’s newest member.

Minka Kelly visits
Minka Kelly visits “Late Show With David Letterman” at the Ed Sullivan Theater on September 21, 2011, in New York City. Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

French had a tough childhood growing up. She lost both her parents at a young age and had to escape the orphanage she lived in so she wouldn’t be taken away as a sex slave. Understandably, any challenge she was met with on the job as an Angel was peanuts for her.

Where Is Minka Kelly Now?

Minka Kelly is a well-established actress in the business, and one lame role didn’t rattle her career too much. In fact, the very same year the reboot launched and failed, she was nominated twice (MTV and Teen Choice Awards) for her role as Sara Matthews in the psychological thriller The Roommate.

Minka Kelly visits at SiriusXM Studios
Minka Kelly visits at SiriusXM Studios on July 26, 2017, in New York City. Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Apart from acting, Minka loves to spend time in the kitchen. She sharpened her culinary skills at the New School of Cooking in Culver City, California, graduating in 2015. As for her love life, Minka Kelly is currently dating Trevor Noah (as of 2020).

Annie Ilonzeh – Kate Prince

Kate Prince, Angel number three of the 2011 flop, was a former cop who was engaged to detective Ray Goodsonfer for a little over three years before becoming a Charlie’s Angel. Suddenly, two weeks before the wedding, Ray broke it off and left Kate heart-broken, devastated, confused, and lost.

Actress Annie Ilonzeh attends Spike TV's 5th annual
Actress Annie Ilonzeh attends Spike TV’s 5th annual “Guys Choice” Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2011, in Culver City, California. Photo By Getty Images/ Jason LaVeris

But Kate was one bad a** Russian-speaking fighter. And a little breakup wasn’t going to be the end of her. Even though the show was incredibly short, and we doubt half of you even know it existed, it’s still worth noting that Kate made history by becoming the first Black Angel.

Where Is Annie Ilonzeh Now?

After her role as Angel Kate Prince, Ilonzeh landed a recurring role in the superhero series Arrow and ABC’S family drama, Switched at Birth. Ilonzeh starred in her first significant role in 2017 when she played Kidada Jones in the biographical drama discussing Tupac’s life, All Eyez on Me.

Annie Ilonzeh attends the premiere of STX Entertainment's 'Peppermint.'
Annie Ilonzeh attends the premiere of STX Entertainment’s ‘Peppermint’ at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on August 28, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In 2018, Ilonzeh put on her crime-fighting, mystery-solving hat again when she took on FBI agent Lisa Inman’s role in the 2018 action thriller, Peppermint. As of 2020, Ilonzeh quit her main role as Emily Foster on the drama series Chicago Fire. We’re eager to see what this former Angel is planning to do next!

Naomi Scott – Elena Houghlin

Naomi Scott joined the franchise in 2019 when she starred as Elena Houghlin in Charlie’s Angels’ newest film. Together with Sabina Wilson (Kirsten Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska), the new and improved trio was ready to take on whatever the world threw at them.

Naomi Scott attends the
Naomi Scott attends the “Charlie’s Angels” photocall at the Whitby Hotel on November 07, 2019, in New York City. Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Elena was a Chief Tech Engineer before she was recruited as one of Charles Townsend’s Angels. She went from a shy scientist to a bold, confident Angel who isn’t afraid to step up to the plate and fight for what’s right.

Where Is Naomi Scott Today?

2019 was Scott’s year. She starred in both Charlie’s Angels and the remake of Aladdin as Princess Jasmine. She’s been on several talk shows and has done many interviews this past year. Still, she hasn’t participated in any significant projects just yet.

Naomi Scott attends the Premiere of Columbia Pictures'
Naomi Scott attends the Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Charlie’s Angels” at Westwood Regency Theater on November 11, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Scott married English footballer Jordan Spence, in 2014, after four years of dating. They met at a church when Scott was just 16. Even though most of us know her as an actress, Scott claims music is her first love, and she is interested in pursuing that field.

Tanya Roberts – Julie Rogers

Tanya Roberts appeared on our screens as the fifth season’s newest Angel, Julie Rogers. Rogers was different from her former Angels. She wasn’t trained to be a crime-fighting beauty. Instead, she worked as a model before joining the Townsend Agency. She even graced the cover of Elite Magazine.

Actress Tanya Roberts attends the 21st Annual International Broadcasting Awards
Actress Tanya Roberts attends the 21st Annual International Broadcasting Awards on March 3, 1981, at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Despite being inexperienced and a bit naïve, Rogers turned out to be a quick learner. With the help of her Angel sisters, she proved her worth and showed off some impressive stunts. Too bad we only got to see her for one season (due to the show’s wrap-up).

Where Is Tanya Roberts Now?

Tanya Roberts landed some incredible roles after Charlie’s Angels. Her most significant one being Stacey Sutton in the fourteenth Bond film, A View to Kill (1985). Her role as a Bond girl earned her a Razzie Award nomination.

Actress Tanya Roberts attends the 27th annual
Actress Tanya Roberts attends the 27th annual “Night Of 100 Stars” black-tie dinner viewing gala at The Villa Aurora on February 26, 2017, in Pacific Palisades, California. Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

She took on another memorable role in 1998 as the sexy mom next door, Midge Pinciotti, in That ’70s Show. As for her love life, Roberts was married to Barry Roberts from 1974 until he died in 2006. Sadly, she recently passed away as well, on January 4, 2021. In December 2020, Roberts was rushed to the hospital following a severe urinary tract infection that entered her bloodstream.

Ella Balinska – Jane Kano

2019’s Angel, Jane Kano, is an independent and courageous beauty with sick martial arts skills and sharp, analytical thinking. She joins forces with Angel Sabina Wilson to tackle a few cases before teaming up with third Angel, Elena Houghlin.

Ella Balinska attends a photocall for
Ella Balinska attends a photocall for “Charlie’s Angels” at The Corinthia Hotel London on November 21, 2019, in London, England. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Balinska is super proud to join the franchise: “…yeah, we’re Charlie’s Angels. But we’re real women. We laugh, we cry, we win, we fail, we make mistakes, we learn from them, we build. That’s a reflection of what we do in everyday life, and I’m like… Let’s celebrate that.”

Where Is Ella Balisnka Today?

After playing Kano in the newest Angel’s movie, Ella starred in the 2020 horror film Run Sweetheart Run in the lead role of Cherie, a single mother who finally gets back into the intimidating world of dating, only to regret it shortly after.

Balinska attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards
Ella Balinska attends the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 06, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Rich Fury/WireImage

According to CelebsCouples, the 24-year-old actress is currently single. But some celebrities prefer to keep things as private as they possibly can, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there was someone special in her life at the moment.

Kristen Stewart – Sabina Wilson

Sabina is probably the most memorable from the new Angels batch. In part because she’s played by Kristen Stewart, but also because she’s a fresh of breath air when it comes to Charlie’s girls. She’s gay, has short hair, and doesn’t look like a typical runway model.

Kristen Stewart attends the Premiere of Columbia Pictures'
Kristen Stewart attends the Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Charlie’s Angels” at Westwood Regency Theater on November 11, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Sabina grew up with serious abandonment issues that led to some messy incidents in her life. She got involved with the wrong crowds and ended up stealing, assaulting, and trespassing. But Charlie saved her life. After bailing her from jail, he took her in and put her wild skills to good use.

Where Is Kristen Stewart Today?

After her partying days as Sabina Wilson, Kristen starred in the 2020 film Happiest Season, where she took on Abby’s role. This woman is head over heels for a closeted girl who isn’t ready to come out to her family just yet.

Kristen Stewart attends a special fan screening of 20th Century Fox's
Kristen Stewart attends a special fan screening of 20th Century Fox’s “Underwater” at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on January 07, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

If you want to see Kristen in a different light than romantic comedies and dramas, you should check her out in the 2020 sci-fi film, Underwater. It’s creepy and eerie and a bit claustrophobic, but Kristen’s performance is excellent, and the storyline keeps you on edge. As for her personal life, Kristen is currently dating screenwriter Dylan Meyer.

Cheryl Ladd – Kris Munroe

From 1977 to 1981, Cheryl Ladd starred on the show as Jill’s (Farrah Fawcett) younger sister, Kris Munroe. Straight out of San Francisco’s police academy, Kris joined Sabrina and Kelly and did a great job filling Fawcett’s enormous shoes. Producers worried that ratings would die down without Fawcett, but luckily that wasn’t the case.

Actress Cheryl Ladd poses for a portrait
Actress Cheryl Ladd poses for a portrait in 1977 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Kris was an Angel for four years, making her the second longest-running Angel of the franchise. She was fearless of people twice her size, fearless of alligators, and had no problem breaking a sweat on the dancefloor.

Where Is Cheryl Ladd Today?

Following her role as Kris Munroe, Ladd appeared in several television films, including 1983’s Grace Kelly, where she starred as the Princess of Monaco herself. Apart from acting, the former Angel also embraced her creative side when she published a children’s book in 1996 titled The Adventures of Little Nettie Windship.

Cheryl Ladd visits SiriusXM at SiriusXM Studios
Cheryl Ladd visits SiriusXM at SiriusXM Studios on March 11, 2020, in New York City. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

In 1980, Ladd divorced her husband David Ladd and remarried a year later to music producer Brian Russell. The couple run a business together, Cheryl Ladd Signature Homes. The former Angel is a proud mom of two – her daughter, Jordan, from her first marriage. Her stepdaughter, Lindsay, from her current.

Cameron Diaz – Natalie Cook

Diaz became an Angel at the turn of the century when she starred as Natalie Cook in both Charlie’s Angels (2000) and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003). Despite Natalie’s goofy attitude and fun-loving smile, she was one smart and quick agent who could probably knock you unconscious in a matter of seconds.

Cameron Diaz plays Natalie in Columbia Pictures'' action-comedy,
Cameron Diaz plays Natalie in Columbia Pictures” action-comedy, “Charlie”s Angels.” Photo by Columbia Pictures/Newsmakers

She was a skillful martial artist with a passion for motocross, helicopters, surfing, and basically anything that shot her heart rate to the sky. We’re ranking her high up on the list because there’s nothing as exciting as a person who looks one thing (innocent and cute) but turns out to be something completely different.

Where Is Cameron Diaz Today?

Cameron Diaz is arguably the most recognized actress of all the Angels (well, maybe apart from Farrah. But then again, it depends who you ask). From The Holiday to The Mask to There’s Something About Mary, Diaz is a household name. Especially if you’re a house that loves rom-coms.

Cameron Diaz speaks onstage at EEEEEatsco
Cameron Diaz speaks onstage at EEEEEatscon 2019 at Barker Hangar on May 19, 2019, in Santa Monica, California. Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

But the last time we saw Diaz on-screen was in the 2014 adaptation of Annie. What has the actress been up to these past few years? First and foremost – taking care of herself. The actress admits she’s found peace in her soul now that she’s away from the spotlight.

Lucy Liu – Alex Munday

Strong and intelligent Alex Munday is well-deserving of this spot on the list. An accomplished physicist and aerospace engineer, Munday was an Angel who could solve any problem you threw at her. She appeared in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels and 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu. Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images

Munday went through some training of her own before becoming an Angel. She learned levitation in Tibet, defused bombs in Paris, and strengthened her body by dancing ballet (probably one of the most rigorous training out there).

Where Is Lucy Liu Now?

Lucy Liu is just as powerful off-screen as she is as an Angel. Through the years, Lui has studied various mystical ideologies like Taoism, Buddhism, and Jewish Mysticism. She’s fascinated by the supernatural and believes there’s always more to learn.

Actress Lucy Liu attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundation
Actress Lucy Liu attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: “Why Women Kill” at The Robin Williams Center on October 25, 2019, in New York City. Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

She’s mother to Rockwell, her only son, who was born in 2015 via a gestational surrogate. A single parent by choice, Liu feels it’s essential to speak up about different familial structures, and she even took part in Tylenol’s #HowWeFamily Mother’s Day Campaign in 2016. One of Liu’s most recent on-screen roles is in the 2019 series, Why Women Kill, where she brilliantly acts out Simone’s role.

Drew Barrymore – Dylan Sanders

Along with Diaz and Liu, Barrymore put on her tough angelic suit and became Dylan Sanders in the early ’00s theatrical films. Dylan had a unique on-screen presence with funky red hair and hypnotizing green eyes, unlike any of the Angels before her.

Actress Drew Barrymore strikes a pose at a press
Actress Drew Barrymore strikes a pose at a press conference for her latest movie ‘Charlie’s Angels’ held at the Dorchester Hotel, London on November 22, 2000. Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

She was a rebellious yet smart character whose motto in life was “Don’t let your past hold you back.” Not the most original statement, yes? But a necessary reminder. Dylan was the batch’s wild leader and showed nothing but loyalty to her Angel sisters and Charlie.

Where Is Drew Barrymore Today?

After Charlie’s Angels’ huge box office success, Barrymore starred in (and produced!) films like He’s Just Not That Into You, Duplex, and Fever Pitch. She even took part in the production of Charlie’s Angels 2011 remake (which sadly wasn’t her best work). Her newest film is the 2020 comedy The Stand-In.

Drew Barrymore celebrates the Launch of The Drew Barrymore Show
Drew Barrymore celebrates the Launch of The Drew Barrymore Show at The Empire State Building on September 14, 2020, in New York City. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/”Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust

Today, she has her own talk show called The Drew Barrymore Show. She discusses human stories, lifestyle topics and hosts different celebrity guests. Barrymore married three times. Her latest walk down the aisle was with Will Kopelman in 2016. The actress has two unbelievably cute daughters, Olive and Frankie.

Kate Jackson – Sabrina Duncan

One of the founding Angels, Sabrina Duncan, worked with Charlie for three years until she decided to put her investigative days behind and start a family. But until she resigned, we got to see her shine on screen, using her incredible brains to solve the issues at hand.

Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson. Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

We’re ranking her high up on this list not only because she was an incredible detective but because she was just as useful off-screen as well. When producers offered to call the show “The Alley Cats,” Jackson saved the day and suggested “Angels” instead.

Where Is Kate Jackson Today?

Jackson left the show in 1979, saying: “I served it well, and it served me well, now it’s time to go.” After her years as Sabrina, Jackson starred in the 1982 drama, Making love. The film was a bit controversial because it dealt with homosexuality and love triangles. It was simply ahead of its time.

American actor Kate Jackson
American actor Kate Jackson in a still from the television program, ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King,’ circa 1985. Photo by Warner Brothers/Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images

Jackson went on to star in the series Scarecrow and Mrs. King, but after four seasons (from ’83 to ’87), she had to take time off. She discovered a small tumor in her breast and had to undergo surgery. A few years later, she was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (an innate condition). Both experiences have affected her deeply, and she’s been very outspoken about the importance of raising awareness. In 2003, she received the “Power of Love” Award from the American Heart Association.

Farrah Fawcett – Jill Munroe

We know Jill’s career as an Angel wasn’t as long as the other girls, but her on-screen presence made such an impact that it would be weird to rank her any lower on this list. She was an expert at going undercover and knew precisely how to pull off any task she was given.

American actress Farrah Fawcett watches the on-court action
American actress Farrah Fawcett watches the on-court action at a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center charity tennis tournament, Hollywood, California, September 1976. Photo by Fotos International/Frank Edwards/Getty Images

According to Jill, “God gave women intuition and femininity. Used properly, the combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met.” She definitely jumbled the brains of her viewers. Maybe that’s the reason that despite her short-lived career, she remains such a memorable icon all through the years.

Where Is Farrah Fawcett Today?

After her Angel days, Fawcett’s first on-screen appearance was in the 1978 mystery film, Somebody Killed Her Husband. It wasn’t a huge hit (definitely nowhere close to Fawcett’s success on Charlie’s Angels), and some even stated the film should be called “Somebody Killed Her Career.”

Actress Farrah Fawcett arrives at the Comedy Central Roast
Actress Farrah Fawcett arrives at the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner held at CBS Radford Studios on August 13, 2006, in Studio City, California. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Farrah proved everyone wrong when she earned an Emmy for her incredible performance as Francine Hughes in the television film, The Burning Bed (1984). Throughout her career, Fawcett has received 28 award nominations and has won nine of them. Her cultural impact is immeasurable, and her smile unforgettable. The actress passed away in 2009 after a rough battle with cancer.

And at No. 1 – Jaclyn Smith – Kelly Garrett

One of the original Angels, Kelly Garret, was almost too pretty to look at. But let’s not dwell on her looks alone. She was also extremely proficient in both unarmed and armed combat. Her shaky upbringing as an orphan prepared her for all of life’s challenges.

Jaclyn Smith
Jaclyn Smith. Photo By Getty Images/ Bettmann

Kelly starred in all five seasons of the show, making her the most loyal Angel of them all. She resurfaced years later in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and the newest Charlie’s Angel’s film from 2019. Really, there’s no one more fit to reign as No. 1 on our list.

Where Is Jaclyn Smith Today?

After five seasons as an Angel, Jaclyn continued to appear on screen in different projects, including Jacqueline Kennedy’s role in the film Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a T.V. film.

Jaclyn Smith attends Barneys New York Celebrates the Farrah Fawcett Foundation
Jaclyn Smith attends Barneys New York Celebrates the Farrah Fawcett Foundation at Barneys New York Beverly Hills on May 23, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Barneys New York

Smith made an angelic comeback when she reappeared in the 2003 and 2019 films. She admits it’s always a pleasure to act as Kelly again. As for Smith’s personal life, she’s been married four times and is currently living with her husband, Brad Allen, to whom she’s been married since 1997. Apart from acting, Smith invests her time in designing and has been involved in the fashion industry since the mid-’80s.

Executives Didn’t Believe the Show Would Work

When the show debuted in 1976, the guys at ABC were pretty skeptical it would do well. A crime drama with three leading ladies? Why would anyone want to watch that? They almost called it off. But after several rewrites and a few desperate pleadings from writers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, ABC agreed to go through with it.

From left, American actresses Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson
From left, American actresses Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson in a scene from an episode of the television program ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ mid-1977. Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images

As much as I would love to boast about how the Angels proved the network wrong by showing them that female leads are just as deserving as men… I’m afraid the ratings were high for all the wrong reasons.

Why Angels?

Spelling and Goldberg wanted to call the show “The Alley Cats,” but Kate Jackson convinced them otherwise. She stepped into Spelling’s office one day and took note of a huge painting with three female angels that hung on one of the walls.

Lucy Liu (Alex), Cameron Diaz (Natalie), and Drew Barrymore (Dylan)
Lucy Liu (Alex), Cameron Diaz (Natalie), and Drew Barrymore (Dylan) left to right, star as a trio of elite private investigators in Columbia Pictures” action-comedy, “Charlie”s Angels.” Photo by Columbia Pictures/Newsmakers

She asked the writer, “Why don’t you call them angels?” Spelling didn’t need any more convincing. He loved the idea! At first, he thought of “Harry’s Angels,” but another show called “Harry O'” was on at the time, so he went ahead with Charlie instead.

It Inspired the Term Jiggle T.V.

Remember what I said earlier about attracting viewers for the wrong reasons? Well, many people felt that way. Including one NBC executive named Paul Klein, who classified the show as “Jiggle T.V.” The jiggly term became a thing and was then used to characterize several other shows.

Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly, and Annie Ilonzeh on the set of
Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly, and Annie Ilonzeh on the set of “Charlies Angels” T.V. series on March 16, 2011, in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo by Olivia Salazar/FilmMagic

Klein was probably jealous of ABC and badmouthed them just to tarnish their reputation. But he wasn’t lying. ABC’s cheap marketing techniques of having the girls fight crime without their bras and with platforms on was pretty tacky.

Farrah Fawcett Was Sued

In part, Fawcett quickly became the most popular Angel because of her iconic red bathing suit poster that was released a few weeks before the show’s debut. So, when she quit the series after just one season, producers were furious and decided to take legal action against her.

L-R Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett
L-R Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett ride in the back of a car while filming a scene for Charlie’s Angels circa 1977 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

ABC sued her for breach of contract, and to settle things once and for all, the actress agreed to come back as a guest for six additional episodes. We’re not sure how much that satisfied ABC, but they knew it was better than nothing.

Not All Angels Were Paid the Same

This might come as a surprise, but the Angels weren’t paid the same salary when the show first started. Both Jaclyn and Farrah were relatively new to acting, so they were offered $5,000 per episode. As opposed to their experienced costar, Jackson, whose salary was $10,000 per episode.

L-R Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, and Kate Jack
L-R Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, and Kate Jackson dressed as prisoners on the set of Charlie’s Angels circa 1977 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

I wonder if the girls knew about the financial disparity at the time of filming. I’m assuming they did. Smith eventually threatened to leave the show, so producers gave her a substantial raise to convince her to stay. They raised her salary to $40,000 an episode!

A Weird Request

The girls renegotiated their contracts with ABC as the show progressed. Farrah probably had the weirdest request of them all. She was married at the time to actor Lee Majors and wanted to make room in the evenings to spend time with him. So, she requested to leave the set each day at 7 p.m.

Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors
Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors circa 1978 in Hollywood, CA. Photo by Reed Saxon/IMAGES/Getty Images

It’s a reasonable demand when you think of it. But her explanation was a bit off. She said she had to be home at that specific time so she could cook him dinner. Despite her culinary devotion and good intentions, their marriage didn’t last.

A Lawsuit Against Spelling

Actress Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner were silent investors in the show. But things got loud after the couple sued Spelling for misusing their funds outside of the show. The lawsuit was all over the news, and the media called the battle “Angel-Gate.”

Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott
Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott attend the “Charlies Angels” U.K. Premiere at The Curzon Mayfair on November 20, 2019, in London, England. Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

In 2003, Wagner sued again, and, this time, he took Sony to court after they released The Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle film. But he lost the case. In 2011, Wagner was offered to voice Charlie in the show’s remake, but he dropped out during production due to unknown conflicts. Looks like it wasn’t meant to be between Wagner and the franchise.

Who Was Charlie?

Charlie’s face was never shown on screen, and he was voiced from afar by John Forsythe. But he wasn’t the first pick for the part. Spelling wanted Gig Young to do it. But Young showed up to work drunk and in no position to voice a strong and determined mastermind like Charlie.

Actor John Forsythe and date arrive at the premiere of Columbia Pictures
Actor John Forsythe and date arrive at the premiere of Columbia Pictures “Charlie’s Angels” October 22, 2000, at Mann”s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison

So Young was kicked out and replaced with Forsythe. The actor recalled Spelling calling him on a Friday night and saying: “I have a show, and it’s going to be a hit. We’re only missing one element – Charlie.” Luckily, Forsythe agreed to do it.

Toni’s Boys

Remember Season Four’s Toni’s Boys? The episode where Bob Sorenson, Matt Parrish, and Cotton Harper from Toni’s team come to Charlie’s help? ABC wanted them to have their own show. But the episode didn’t do so well, and the male spin-off was scrapped.

Charlie's Angels (1980), Toni's Boys S4 Ep 23
Charlie’s Angels (1980), Toni’s Boys S4 Ep 23. Source: Pinterest

The actors were relatively unknown, and they didn’t interest the crowd one bit. Charlie’s Angels was dying down as well. It had one more season in the books, and that was that. But who knows? Maybe one day, the boys might make a comeback.

The Angels Fought in $2,000 Outfits

Charlie’s Angels weren’t your average crime-fighting detectives. They were glamorous ladies who wore designer clothes and high heel shoes. The budget for their wardrobe was around $20,000 per episode. You would think producers would invest in high-quality investigative gadgets, but no, clearly, the shoes were way more important.

L-R): Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore visit Tokyo to promote their new movie
(L-R): Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore visit Tokyo to promote their new movie “Charlies Angels: Full Throttle.” Photo by noboru Hashimoto/Corbis via Getty Images

The Angels always looked great, and both men and women were pleased to see them look so good on T.V. Still, perhaps if producers had invested a little bit more in the storylines than in the clothing, the show could have succeeded more.

Ladd’s Deepest Regret

Cheryl Ladd admitted that she regrets the long workdays and the many hours she spent on set and away from her daughter: “I missed out on the part of my daughter Jordan’s childhood. She was just two when I joined Charlie’s Angels, and I was working 14-hour days.”

Charlie's Angels (First Season), Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd
Charlie’s Angels (First Season), Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, 1976. Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

She told Express Magazine: “She [Jordan] would be asleep when I kissed her goodbye early in the mornings and be asleep in bed by the time I got home to kiss her good-night. It was terrible, a big sacrifice.”

The Angel Who Struggled Financially

In 2010, Kate Jackson revealed that years of bad financial advice and wrong choices led her to bankruptcy. She decided to sue her formal adviser for £2 million, whom she believes took advantage of their friendship to persuade her to do all sorts of radical things (like buy a house in Santa Monica with money she clearly didn’t have).

Filming
Filming “Charlie’s Angels” Episode “Circus of Terror.” Kate Jackson. Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Jackson confessed it was upsetting to look back at her paychecks and realize how little she got for the work that she did: “I started out making $10,000 a week. Today, T.V. stars make ten times that much. Farrah, Jaclyn, and I really got the short end of the stick.”

Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd Didn’t Get Along

The Angelic trio looked super tight on the show. They did everything together and had each other’s backs no matter what. But things weren’t as friendly when the cameras stopped rolling. The original Angel Kate Jackson had a hard time with Farrah’s replacement, Cheryl Ladd.

Actresses Chery Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson
Actresses Chery Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, pose for a portrait in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Author Herbie J. Pilato revealed, “I don’t think she and Kate Jackson got along for whatever reason. Kate was very loyal to the original trio.” Jackson was also upset when the franchise decided to release a theatrical film in 2000.

Ella Balinska Did Her Own Stunts

The 2019 movie is full of bombastic stunts and explosions. Surprisingly, one Angel was capable of doing almost all of her stunts. Ella Balinska was so excited to take on the challenging spy role, mainly because she knew she could pull off the moves herself.

Actress Ella Balinska attends a Charlie's Angels VIP Screening
Actress Ella Balinska attends a Charlie’s Angels VIP Screening Hosted by Elizabeth Banks and Natalie Zfat, in Partnership with Harry & David at AMC Empire 25 on November 05, 2019, in New York City. Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Sony Pictures

Before transitioning to acting, Ella was an elite athlete in London. So, she felt confident enough she could choreograph and pull off the fight scenes herself. The actress told British Vogue: “I’m qualified in 12 types of stage combat, so it’s safe to say the brief for my character was very familiar.”

Angelina Jolie Was Supposed to Be an Angel

The casting search for the 2000 film was lengthy and exhausting. Dozens of actresses stood in line in hopes of becoming the next a** kicking bombshell. Still, the majority of them came nowhere close to what producers were looking for.

Angelina Jolie during Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Angelina Jolie, and Olivier Martinez Visit MTV's
Angelina Jolie during Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Angelina Jolie, and Olivier Martinez Visit MTV’s “TRL” at MTV Studios in New York City, New York, United States. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic

Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore were first to be cast but finding the perfect fit for Alex Munday proved to be a lot tougher. Diaz and Barrymore thought Angelina Jolie was just what the movie needed, and they tried to recruit her in any way they could. But she wouldn’t budge. She said she already played a similar role and didn’t want to be pigeonholed into the “tough girl” forever.

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting!

While the early ‘000s trio didn’t do all of their stunts, they did a large portion of them. For months, Diaz, Barrymore, and Liu trained for eight hours a day with a kung fu instructor, so their fighting scenes would look as believable as possible.

Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore during
Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore during “Charlies Angels: Full Throttle” Photo Call – Madrid at Villa Magna Hotel in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)

Diaz revealed that the rigorous training was her fitness wake-up call: “The day I started martial arts training for Charlie’s Angels was a pivotal moment in my life in terms of my physical fitness. It was the first time someone showed me what my very own body had the potential to do.”

Lucy Liu Wasn’t Paid as Much

Liu was just as good of an Angel as her costars, but sadly, she wasn’t getting the same paycheck. Barrymore made the most money from the film, which is understandable because she took part in its production. But Diaz had the highest paycheck in terms of acting.

“Charlie”s Angel”s” actress Lucy Liu treats a dog to the “Beneful Smart Spa,” a one-day pampering experience sponsored by Purina in Central Park July 20, 2001, in New York City. Photo by Diane L. Cohen/Getty Images

While Diaz made $20 million, Liu only made $4. That’s five times more for the same exact job. Pretty unfair if you ask us. Still, both actors made peanuts compared to Barrymore, who earned more than $40 million for both films (2000 and 2003).

Bill Murray Was a Bully

In the first film (2000), Murray appeared but never returned to Full Throttle because of the bad blood he developed with director Mcg. The two had many altercations, and one of them got so heated that Murray ended up headbutting him.

Bill Murray plays Bosley in Columbia Pictures'' action-comedy,
Bill Murray plays Bosley in Columbia Pictures” action-comedy, “Charlie”s Angels.” Photo by Columbia Pictures/Newsmakers

Murray also insulted Liu’s acting abilities. To his defense, he said he was just mocking her lines. When Liu was asked about their time on set, she responded: “There’s nothing to talk about.” Although she never spoke openly about it, her cold response said it all.