It’s not often you get to see an angel in person — but this spring I got to do just that, when I met “Charlie’s Angels” star Cheryl Ladd at the Chiller Theatre Convention in New Jersey.
In September 1977, I was one of 50 million people who tuned in to watch the Angels when Cheryl Ladd made her debut. At age 15, I just started my freshman year at Honeoye Central and earned a spot on the newly formed JV soccer team at school. Quality time was also spent with my family watching our favorite shows, and “Charlie’s Angels” was a truly great TV series. Just like my dad, who was an avid Perry Mason fan, I shared his love for good detective and police dramas.
When Cheryl Ladd joined “Charlie’s Angels” in its second season, I remember critics voicing doubt that the singer-turned-actress could successfully replace then-superstar Farrah Fawcett. Those critics were quickly silenced.
Ladd, not content with being a cookie-cutter replacement for Fawcett’s character Jill Munroe, pushed for a role that was quirky, funny and imperfect. So, producer Aaron Spelling partnered with her to develop the character of Kris Munroe, Jill’s little sister. As a rookie detective, Kris Munroe was a comedic underdog who made mistakes but somehow always emerged victorious over villainous foes.
Kris Munroe soon became my favorite angel. Like her, I was an outsider coming into a big world — high school — and felt like I had to prove myself. Ladd’s role of an enthusiastic novice trying to overcome obstacles resonated with me at the time.
Ladd created another unforgettable memory with her performance of the national anthem at Super Bowl XIV in January 1980, dedicated to the American hostages in Iran. One of the service members being held prisoner was U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Schaefer, the son of our neighbors in the Times-Union Tract on Honeoye Lake. I followed news coverage closely throughout his ordeal and hearing Ladd sing in his honor was moving.
To meet the star of these special moments was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. After waiting in a long line at the Chiller convention, I got the chance to shake Ladd’s hand and tell her I was honored to finally meet an Angel. She smiled and told me she was honored, too. She could only spend a moment with each fan, but in that time she made us feel we were the only person in the world that mattered.
Fans’ love for Ladd’s spirit and the “Charlie’s Angels” theme of a strong crime-fighting trio working together seems to be universal. When I got home from the convention and shared the photo taken with Ladd to Facebook, it quickly attracted a lot of likes from family and friends across generations.
Meeting a star with the multi-talents of Cheryl Ladd was a special privilege and she’ll always be an Angel in my eyes.
Steve Barnhoorn, of Honeoye, is a frequent Messenger Post contributor.