When actor Cheryl Ladd joined the 1970s Charlie’s Angels series she instantly entered iconic television history.
But looking back at her time on the show, the first thing that comes to her mind is: “I survived it.”
“We did 22 episodes a year and then we were doing all these movies…in our hiatus time,” Ladd told Yahoo Canada. “We were just everywhere all the time, not to mention all those wardrobe fittings and events that we were supposed to go to.”
“When I look back, good thing I was really young because I can't believe I got through all of it, and I had a two-year-old daughter. It was crazy… When it was over, I was ready.”
While Ladd, who played Kris Munroe on Charlie’s Angels, is honest about how tough her work schedule was during that time, she is also thrilled that it was such a success and that so many people love those characters.
That's what women tell me, that they were inspired that they could do anything they wanted to do.
“It's hard for young people, young women today to understand that truly at that point in the world…women were nurses or teachers or secretaries, there were these acceptable jobs that they could find work, and in late ‘70s all that blew apart,” Ladd explained.
“I think Charlie's Angels actually helped with that in a huge way, that's what women tell me, that they were inspired that they could do anything they wanted to do, because we gave them a sense of power, which is fantastic.”
Ladd herself was steadfast in her commitment to advocate for herself on the set of Charlie’s Angels. In 2020, Ladd told Yahoo Entertainment she pushed back about wearing a bikini all the time on the show. Aaron Spelling initially agreed to make a change, but just two episodes later, the script dictated that she was back in a bikini. That led Ladd, in an act of protest, to find the tiniest bikini she could get her hands on, requiring some clever editing for the “Angel on High” episode to cover her up. It was that act of rebellion that actually led to the change Ladd wanted to see.
“You have to advocate for yourself,” Ladd said. “There are so many women directors now,...and they’re writers, there's been a sea change and it needs to continue.”
Cheryl Ladd's favourite role may surprise you
While Charlie’s Angels may be Ladd’s most known project, her favourite is actually the 1983 Grace Kelly movie, in which she played the title role, alongside Lloyd Bridges and Diane Ladd.
“I met her early on, we were in a receiving line together at a big television event in Monte Carlo, and she and I were standing next to each other, and when we were flying home on the plane my husband said ‘you should do the Grace Kelly story,’” Ladd said.
“Then I started reading about her, about her young life and how she really wanted to be an actress and her family, especially her father, was really not into that, and how she started out doing commercials, cigarette commercials. There were things about her early career I could relate to,...just her struggle, going to acting class and getting small parts and commercials, and her drive.”
'I am this part'
While Ladd has taken on several iconic roles, she’s still out there gracing our screens with a career that spans more than 50 years.
“There are so many places now that need product and there are so many wonderful actors of an age, and actresses,...you can flip around channels and find all kinds of older actresses, which is thrilling,” Ladd said. “I think it's as good as it has ever been for actresses of an age, I really do.”
“Not that there can't be more, but there are more places to work now. There used to be four studios and three television channels. So with all this streaming and all these other places, there are a lot more opportunities, and that's great.”
Most recently, Ladd is in the new movie A Cowgirl’s Song (out of VOD/digital platforms April 22), playing the a former famed country singer and widowed grandmother of Hayley (Savannah Lee May), a teen who ends up living with her grandmother, along with her sister Brooke (Darci Lynne Farmer), and starts following her in grandmother’s footsteps as an aspiring country singer herself.
"There are more places to work now. There used to be four studios and three television channels."
When asked what interested her in joining A Cowgirl’s Song, Ladd’s response was simply, “I am this part.”
“I am a grandmother but also I grew up on country music, my dad played the guitar, loved Hank Williams, my mother loved George Jones, so I love that kind of music,” Ladd said. “So the fact that I could sing and play this performer was very interesting to me.”
“The fact that when she lost her husband she lost her heart for her great music, and it is the circumstances and her granddaughters that bring her back to life in that way, there's just a lot in it… I had really strong grandmothers who were very loving and all of that I think it's all a part of so many parts of who I am.”