Shelley Fabares: Everyone's Sweetheart
Some of us grew up with her and today she is a role model for aging. And better yet, I don't think that is her goal, she is not trying to be a role model for aging.
I met her by serendipity. Her husband of nearly 25 years, Mike Farrell, was appearing at my local independent book store to talk about politics, M*A*S*H and his newest book. I knew she might be there, but didn't know that she would be such a treat.
I had a brief meeting scheduled with Mike for which he was late. I learned it was because his wife wasn't feeling well and he was concerned. I knew she had had a liver transplant years ago, and a hip replacement in the summer of 2008. I had been mildly interested in seeing her, even though she was a huge memory from my youth.
About halfway through the public talk, Mike stated that she was there, 'you could tell by the pink hair'. (!) I looked back and sure enough I could see pink spikes. Hmmm....
She wouldn't come up front and wasn't at the table for the book signing. So as I left, I looked for her and founding her in the stacks talking to a couple of people, admiring Quail Ridge Bookstore.
I asked her two things. One, about her career. I had read in several places that her career bagan with Mary Stone in the Donna Reed Show, I could have sworn she played with Annette on some of the Mickey Mouse Club serials they showed one day a week. I was right, she played one of the 'mean girls' in Annette.
Then I asked her about the hair. I was a bit surprized that I liked it. It looked good on her as it framed the face that obviously had never seen a surgeon's knife or a Botox filled needle. So, Shelley, what's up?
The story started nine years ago when she was in the middle of a serious illness. It lasted for years and the doctors couldn't figure it out. Eventually, she had a liver transplant. Just before her surgery she was at the hair dresser's and saw "the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I am in a business with a lot of beautiful women." The woman was 6 foot tall and a mix of black, oriental and European. She had pink spikey hair. The hairdresser suggested that maybe Shelley would like to have it done. She thought about it, realized that as an actress (since age 3) she had had to ask someone for every hair change she ever had. Plus, she really didn't know if she would out live that disease. So she did it! And she has kept it for nine years. It is blonde on the lower layer, coppery orange of the top, with pink spikes. At she looks great!
I even asked her about Cairg T. Nelson, her costar in Coach. Mike had talked about how great it was to work with like minded people on M*A*S*H, and Nelson had recently made the statement on Hannity, "I was on food stamps and welfare and nobody ever helped me then!" Indeed. Well, she said, "Craig is a brilliant actor and likes to stir the pot". She was diplomatic and still informative.
Three reasons to love Shelley Fabares
1. She was a role model for our childhood, adulthood and aging. She played Mary Stone, when we wanted to know how to be a teenager; Christine Armstrong when we liked strong women and Johnny Angel will always please our ears. She starred in more Elvis Presley movies than any other actress (3).
2. She has survived a liver transplant and a hip replacement all the while being true to herself as she ages.
3. She and her husband of 25 years (12/31/84) have worked for social justice while maintaining personal and professional lives.
Shelley Fabares Through the Years
Mike Farrell and Shelley Fabares Married 12/31/84
There Is A Lot of TV History Here
Share your stories, sightings, thoughts, rants, raves...
Shout Out For Shelley Fabares!
Thomas on July 29, 2020:
The hair has to go she looked young and classy. Now she looks like a nutty old lady.
Jennifer Shellman on December 28, 2018:
I like Shelley Fabares a lot she is a sweet person and she is my favorite actress also. She is really good on The Donna Reed Show and Mork and Mindy.
jon b on February 11, 2018:
I just can't understand her hairstyle, she struck me as a classy lady, and she would look like one too, just that hair... I prefer her classic look.
Robin Hopkins on January 21, 2018:
Just love her.....Shelley you still look "Marvelous"....wish I knew your secret!
Denise on October 09, 2017:
I think she looks absolutely beautiful especially given all she's been through. Kudos for doing her and to hell with what anyone else thinks.
Carolyn on September 13, 2017:
She was once a beauty! Looks like a bag lady now. I know she's trying to be cool but she looks ridiculous.
Ken on October 21, 2016:
Yep, she's an icon. Of course, you'd have to be a certain age to remember. I never knew that she married Mike Farrell.
anonymous on August 14, 2013:
@anonymous: I would love to write Ms Fabraes but I don't know where to send it. I have tried to look on line for a studio or some place to send her a letter. Would you be able to tell me an address that a letter could get to her? Thank you for your time. Vicky Bishop
anonymous on October 30, 2012:
I always enjoyed watching her. She is lovely and has always been. I am glad u put up a picture of her husband I always thought she was married to someone else. She has age gracefully.
antoniow on July 13, 2012:
Fantastic lens, nicely done! Squidlike
anonymous on July 01, 2012:
Shelley is such a beautiful person, then & now!
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on June 25, 2012:
Surprised by the pink hair -- she was always the well groomed All American Girl type-- but I like it. It's a unique self expression.
anonymous on June 09, 2012:
Stopping back to smile at this excellent tribute to Shelley Fabares, more reasons for us all to love her!
sheezie77 on June 04, 2012:
Interesting lens thumbs up!
anonymous on May 10, 2012:
I love you
anonymous on April 30, 2012:
I fell in love with Shelley when I was 8....at 19 I moved from Ohio to California hoping to meet her....in 1978 I not only met her, but went on to become friends and have a friendship that has endured ever since. She is as wonderful, kind, caring and beautiful as one would hope and an amazing human being. I am proud to be a fan of Shelley Fabares' work, and honored to be able to call her my friend.
SteveKaye on March 22, 2012:
Anyone with the courage to wear multi-colored hair has my vote.
Chazz from New York on March 18, 2012:
Who could forget! Shelley Fabares and Annette were my first tween crushes. Nice to catch up.
Carmel Aaron on March 12, 2012:
Thank you for this page. I have always adored Shelley Fabares. I loved the video, she still looked fabulous!!
TTMall on February 23, 2012:
anonymous on February 11, 2012:
America's Sweetheart is Right! :) Always loved character and actor! You Look FABulous! Be Blessed
anonymous on February 04, 2012:
nice lens..I love it...!
kathysart on January 23, 2012:
WOW.. long time no see.. I forgot about her. YES I loved her too! So nice to see a lens dedicated to her. Her hair is darn cute. Blessed lens.
Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on December 30, 2011:
She has seriously funky hair. I love it!!
anonymous on December 01, 2011:
Watching her now in an old Twilight Zone episode. Loved her (crushed) in the movies she did with Elvis. Had no clue she played the wife in "Coach" and I've seen the show quite a few times.
anonymous on September 30, 2011:
I always thought Shelley was fabulous, when in the Donna Reed Show and also in the movies she played with Elvis. So glad I found this lens.
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on August 19, 2011:
Shelley is a gutsy lady but a delight. I remember her on the Donna Reed show. Her hair, well, we all have to feel special and if that is what it takes, good on her. Loved everything about this lens!
anonymous on August 06, 2011:
How can I not like Shelley Fabares? My names Johnny! I'm still waiting for Virgin to offer it as a ringtone. (Shelley, please step in.)
anonymous on July 10, 2011:
Im happy to see she is doing well.She has a special quality about her she always seemed to be so genuine.She gave me so much happiness I hope she is happy also.
anonymous on July 09, 2011:
shout out for Shelley! I've liked her since Donna Reed and even more in Coach. I'm only 6 yrs younger & always said I wanted to do my hair in purple spikes, but never had the guts!
Blackspaniel1 on June 23, 2011:
I actually remember when she was on a game show as a panalist.
dellgirl on June 22, 2011:
Shelley sure is a sweetheart.
tlkool1 on June 21, 2011:
Please Support My Online Charity Funds Smile Train And The Caring For The Children Organization.Dear Family and Friends,I recently created an online fund for Smile Train, the world's largest cleft charity and the Caring For The Children Orgaization to help the homeless children in America and around the World .And also to help the children with cleft palate disease. I'd like you to Please consider donating to my Charity Funds at http://www.caringforthechildren.bbnow.org and http://support.smiletrain.org/goto/tracycollins . Whatever you can give will be deeply appreciated, and everything helps. Thank you for your support. And may God Bless You.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 19, 2011:
I have to say I agree with you and I love that new hair! I have always wanted to do something crazy like that and color my hair blue. Really cool and awesome that you got to meet her!
Ghita1985 on June 13, 2011:
Very GREAT article!
Krafick on June 03, 2011:
I didn't know her but you have convinced me that she is a fantastic personality. Rafick
ChrisDay LM on May 26, 2011:
Striking woman - I must say that some people go for striking appearance and it falls fall on its face. By way of contrast, in your first photograph of her, one can only feel the positive energy.
Linda Hahn from California on May 25, 2011:
Love her hair!
Ilona E from Ohio on May 07, 2011:
thanks for a great lens telling her story and all the great pictures of her.
RetroMom on March 24, 2011:
Love Shelley, big thumbs up for this lens.
7Suze7 on March 23, 2011:
I wish I had the guts to do something like her hair
7Suze7 on March 23, 2011:
I wish I had the guts to do something like her hair
DongMei on January 20, 2011:
Enjoyed the video of her singing very much. Lovely song, lovely voice, lovely sentiment.
anonymous on January 18, 2011:
I absolutely love Shelley Fabares! I've watched and loved her in every series she's been in (except that I didn't know until today about the Mickey Mouse Club role). I've never had the privilege of meeting her, but my sister did meet her at a Walk for Alzheimer's, and she said that Shelley is lovely, genuine, sweet, and every bit as classy as she's portrayed in her official "image". Didn't know about all of her health issues.She's as beautiful as ever--may she be blessed.
norma-holt on January 16, 2011:
Beautiful tribute lens. Love the hair. Featured this on Motivation.
anonymous on January 04, 2011:
I love the pink hair. And who can forget her big hit "Johnny Angel?" I became a fan all over again when she was on "Coach." So nice you got to meet her!
Treasures By Brenda from Canada on January 03, 2011:
Very nice! I wasn't familiar with Shelley Fabare before and I love her hair and your very well put together lens.
Amy Fricano from WNY on January 01, 2011:
What fun and what a lady.
anonymous on December 30, 2010:
A lovely lens about a lovely lady. Nicely done!
Kate Loving Shenk from Lancaster PA on December 27, 2010:
She really is a beautiful example of Grace!
John Norman Stewart from Cottonwood, CA on December 23, 2010:
Nice lens. I'm old enough to remember her...:)
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on December 17, 2010:
Wonderful tribute to Shelly Fabare. I have always loved her acting.
MBradley McCauley on December 11, 2010:
Good lens Margo. i always liked Shelley especially on Coach. She was an independent role for model for women.
Glad I found this lens--I lost touch with you somewhere along the way. You are doing a great job--so glad you joined Squidoo..
Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 10, 2010:
Wow, I wouldn't have recognized her! But I do love the hair, too. It really suits her. Funny, I knew the name and I knew the younger face, but I wouldn't have been able to put the two together until I saw this lens. What a classy lady. I like her spunk.
awakeningwellness on December 09, 2010:
Shelley was a big part of my youth, I remember watching her on TV every week and Johnny Angel was one of my favorite songs. I have to say if anyone can pull off pink spikes it's her! (o:
anonymous on November 30, 2010:
I met Shelley many years ago right before she started work on ABC-TV's "Coach"
series with Craig T. Nelson. I did an extensive interview with her as she had always
been my favorite actress. She was wonderful! The interview eventually was
published in DISCoveries Magazine.
I miss seeing her on TV. She did maybe five series throughout her career and
so many guest appearances as well as made for TV movies.
And, of course, she did three films with Elvis.
I wish her good health and happiness always.
anonymous on November 22, 2010:
I am very excited that i came across your lense. This is great. I had loads of fun and gained great knowledge from it. All thanks to you.
Lee Hansen from Vermont on November 22, 2010:
I always loved Shelley Fabares - so happy to see this profile of her as she is today. Still hip and beautiful!
CherylsArt on November 21, 2010:
Nice lens. I remember Shelley Fabares in various roles but didn't know she sang Johnny Angel! So cool!
Tarra99 on November 20, 2010:
OMG!...I had no clue who she was with the intro pic (love the hair btw!)...but the 2nd pic...I remember her from Coach...but rarely watched the show...thanks sharing and for popping into my kitchen gadget lens...I appreciate your comments.
anonymous on November 20, 2010:
Did I spell her last name wrong? I know it's Fabares!
anonymous on November 20, 2010:
This is a beautiful tribute of a lovely and greatly loved lady. I grew up with her too and always thought she was classy. I didn't know about the liver transplant, the hip replacement or her great marriage, you have now caught me up on all things Shelley Fabres! Wonderfully done and so interesting on this great lady, I like the pink hair!
Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on November 16, 2010:
I always thought she seemed like such a sweetheart. Nice showcase on her!
Jack on November 16, 2010:
I used to watch Shelley on the Donna Reed Show and Coach all the time.
JimH on November 09, 2010:
I remember her mainly from the TV series Coach, a true beauty and great talent.
Andy-Po on November 05, 2010:
Very interesting. I didn't know she was married to Mike Farrell. They both look like good example of how to stay young.
Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on November 04, 2010:
I like Shelley Fabares and I had no idea she is married to Mike Farrell. Very nice to read about her and she looks great.
KimGiancaterino on November 04, 2010:
Shelley is great ... I've run into her a few times in Studio City at (big surprise) a funky book store/coffee house. I'm featuring this on my "Johnny Angel" lens.
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on October 23, 2010:
Wonderful tribute to one of my favorite actresses! :)
blue22d on September 16, 2010:
Great lady. I didn't realize she had a transplant. I have enjoyed her acting over the years.
anonymous on June 10, 2010:
I have been a fan of Shelley's for many years, and I've talked with her in person more than once. Whether you spend a minute or an hour with her, it's easy to see that she's such a lovely person. She'll steal your heart in an instant!
jolou on April 14, 2010:
What a great tribute to her. I always liked Shelley.
MargoPArrowsmith (author) on October 19, 2009:
An angel blessing for Johnny Angel! Perfect and thanks!
anonymous on October 18, 2009:
I always liked Shelley, and I have not heard of her health problems. Thanks.
Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on October 17, 2009:
What a cool chick!
Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on October 17, 2009:
I remember Shelley Fabares from movies I watched with my mother as a child. Thank you for sharing what her life has been like ever since.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on October 17, 2009:
Oh, I read every word and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Shelley Fabares. This one well deserves an Angel Blessing so here it is!
Frankie Kangas from California on October 17, 2009:
Wow. She is as beautiful as ever. I'd recognize that lovely face anywhere. I too am surprised that I like the hair. lol It's also nice to see that others are aging besides me. I wish I looked that good! Thank you for a wonderful lens about a very special woman. Bear hugs, Frankie