In , Fawcett starred with Kirk Douglas in Stanley Donen 's science-fiction film Saturn 3 ; the film earned unfavorable reviews from critics and experienced poor box office sales. In , Fawcett won critical acclaim for her role in the Off-Broadway stage production of the controversial play Extremities , written by William Mastrosimone.
Replacing Susan Sarandon , she played the role of an attempted rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. Police removed the man and were only able to issue him a summons for disorderly conduct. At the time there was even talk and buzz about the possibility of her receiving an Oscar nomination for her role in the film. She appeared in Jon Avnet 's Between Two Women with Colleen Dewhurst , and took several more dramatic roles as infamous or renowned women.
The Story of Margaret Bourke-White. Fawcett brings a sense of realism rarely seen in television miniseries to a drama of unusual power". She caused a major stir by posing semi-nude in the December issue of Playboy. The issue and its accompanying video featured Fawcett actually using her own body to paint on canvas; for years, this had been one of her ambitions. She received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Actress for the film, which was highly critically acclaimed. Her character has a mental breakdown, leading to Fawcett's first fully nude appearance.
At around this time, Madonna 's brother Christopher Ciccone described befriending Fawcett and giving her a studio visit for her abstract paintings and sculpture. The sculpture was also presented in a series of photographs and a book by Rizzoli. However, the show never officially opened when it closed during preview performances. Fawcett was described as "vibrating with frustration" at the producer's extraordinary decision to cancel the production; just days earlier, the same producer closed an Off-Broadway show she had been backing.
Her work on the latter show earned her a third Emmy nomination in They had no children. During her marriage, she retained the name Farrah Fawcett-Majors in her screen credits.
From until , Fawcett was romantically involved with actor Ryan O'Neal. The relationship ended when Orr was arrested, charged, and later convicted of beating Fawcett during a fight. She explained that what appeared to be random looks across the theater was just her looking and reacting to fans in the audience. Nevius , the director of Chasing Farrah and Farrah's Story, in Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in  and began treatment that included chemotherapy and surgery.
Doctors contemplated whether to implant a radiation seeder which differs from conventional radiation and is used to treat other types of cancer. Ursula Jacob prescribed a treatment including surgery to remove the anal tumor, a course of perfusion and embolization for her liver cancer by Doctors Claus Kiehling and Thomas Vogl in Germany, and chemotherapy back in Los Angeles.
Although initially the tumors were regressing, their reappearance a few months later necessitated a new course, this time including laser ablation therapy and chemoembolization. Media reports declared her unconscious and in critical condition ,   although subsequent reports indicated her condition was not so dire.
This was a development that Fawcett had learned of in May and which her subsequent treatments in Germany had targeted. The report denied that she was unconscious and explained that the hospitalization was not due to her cancer, but instead due to a painful abdominal hematoma that had been the result of a minor procedure. Her spokesperson emphasized she was not "at death's door", adding "She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience.
She was accompanied by longtime companion O'Neal, and according to her doctor, was "walking and in great spirits and looking forward to celebrating Easter at home. Her year-old father, James, flew out to Los Angeles to visit. Lawrence Piro was treating Fawcett in L. They dispelled tabloid-fueled rumors, including suggestions that Fawcett had ever been in a coma, had ever reached 86 pounds, and had ever given up her fight against the disease or lost the will to live.
Jackson decried such fabrications, saying they "really do hurt a human being and a person like Farrah. Of the documentary, Jackson averred Fawcett "didn't do this to show that 'she' is unique, she did it to show that we are all unique On July 16, , Fawcett posthumously earned her fourth Emmy nomination as the producer of Farrah's Story. Her initial producing partner—who had worked with her four years earlier on her reality series Chasing Farrah—alleged that the editing of the program by O'Neal and Stewart was not in keeping with her wishes to more thoroughly explore alternative methods of treatment of rare types of cancers such as her own.
She had generally kept her son out of the media, and his appearances were minimal in Chasing Farrah. Farrah's son Redmond was permitted to leave his California detention center in order to attend the service, where he gave the first reading.