‘Charlie’s Angels’ Star and Breast Cancer Survivor Jaclyn Smith is ‘Grateful’ That She Can Balance Work and Family

Published May 6, 2021

Marisa Sullivan

A Real Life Superwoman

  • Charlie’s Angels star Jaclyn Smith, 75, is proud to juggle it all and showed off a throwback pic of her and her adorable daughter Spencer on the cover of an early ’90s Working Mother magazine.
  • Smith, who is a breast cancer survivor, was proud to work on the classic show, which showcased strong women; she was always motivated to work through motherhood and her cancer diagnosis.
  • The mother and grandmother spoke with SurvivorNet in a previous interview about her cancer; plus, an expert explains guidelines for when women should get their first mammogram.

Working mothers deserve a medal, especially during the pandemic.

Actress, mother and grandmother Jaclyn Smith, 75, is proud to juggle it all. The breast cancer survivor showed off a throwback pic of her and her adorable daughter Spencer on the cover of an early ’90s Working Mother magazine.

Related: Award-Winning Actress Alison Sweeney on Covid-Era Family Life: ‘We all take turns freaking out and it’s okay’

“Being a working mother (and now a grandmother too) have been the greatest jobs of my life,” she wrote. “I’m grateful that I can balance my career and family. In fact, I just wrapped a fun project that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.”

 

 

The legendary Charlie’s Angel starred in the hit show from 1976-1981 as Kelly Garrett, the role that made her a household name along with the late Farrah Fawcett, who was on the show for just one season.

 

 

The Houston-born TV star has two children with her former husband, cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond: Spencer is now 35, and Gaston Richmond is 39. Smith has two grandchildren, Spencer’s daughter Bea, 4, and Gaston has a baby girl named Olivia Rose, age 2.

“They visit me all the time,” Smith told PEOPLE magazine. “This house is open to them. Bea knows that there’s a drawer in my closet that’s filled with candy, and she goes right for the gummy bears. She knows that I’m a soft touch for candy.”

She said she looks forward to watching Charlie’s Angels with her granddaughters.

Related: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Jaclyn Smith on Having Her Cancer Diagnosis Leaked to the Media 

“My kids never really watched it that much,” she said. “In fact, if they saw me on film, they’d go, ‘Oh, there’s Jaclyn Smith.’ They wouldn’t say, ‘There’s Mom.’ I bet I’ll have fun watching it with Bea and Olivia. That might be fun to say, ‘Hey, here’s your Mimi a long time ago.’ I’d like them to see how things change, and I think it’s important for them to see their history, to see where they came from.”

 

 

Smith was proud of her role on Angels and what it stood for.

“It was about strong women,” she said. “It was about women having each other’s backs. It was about women being their own person, being emotionally independent, financially independent, carrying out their job. The show was really about the bond of friendship.”

By the time the show ended, Smith was a mom and wanted to capitalize on that role and continue being that strong woman. She came out with a budget fashion line at the chain superstore K-Mart and that’s how her fashion empire was born. The businesswoman certainly started a trend with the actress-turned entrepreneur role that many other stars are following today.

 

 

A Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In 2002, her strength was really tested, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, she explained how she didn’t let it get her down and continued working.

“I think when you hear [you have cancer], you realize how precious life is,” Smith told us. “And hey, I’m not just gonna sit back and do nothing. Let me enjoy this moment. And I flew through radiation working, every day.”

Related: 5 Well-Known Breast Cancer Survivors Share Lessons They’ve Learned During Their Journey

Luckily, she was diagnosed at stage 1. Her treatment was a lumpectomy — a surgical procedure where part of the breast is removed — and several rounds of radiation.

Smith also talked about her former Charlie’s Angels co-stars, Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, and their battles with cancer. Jackson had breast cancer as well, while Fawcett passed away in 2009 after a long battle with anal cancer. Smith said even though they all went through their health struggles, they always tried to be there for each other.

Related: Farrah Fawcett Died of HPV-Related Anal Cancer — The Vaccine Could Change The Game For A Generation

“Kate had breast cancer — I was there for her,” Smith said. “With Farrah, I was very close to her, especially at the end. Her journey with cancer was horrific. She opened up another world about cancer with her documentary.” Fawcett died just weeks after releasing her film Farrah’s Story.

Getting Checked For Breast Cancer

Although it is always a scary situation to discover a tumor in your breast, experts say that roughly 80% of them are non-cancerous. Some women are scared to check them out right away when they do discover them, due to fear of having cancer, but getting in early is crucial just in case it is cancer; it could save your life.

When should you first start getting mammograms?

Related: ‘Ladies… Get Your Mamos!’ Says Actress Kyra Sedgwick, Reminding Women that Mammograms Save Lives

There is a wide consensus that women should have annual mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54. But there is some disagreement among doctors as to whether mammograms are beneficial for women between the ages of 40 and 45. This is an option you should, of course, discuss with your doctor, as many women are getting diagnosed earlier with breast cancer these days.

“If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year,” Dr. Connie Lehman, chief of the Breast Imaging Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SurvivorNet. “We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving.”

Dr. Lehman also explains if you’re older than 55, “you can choose to continue your annual mammograms or opt to have one every two years.”

Related: New Guidelines Say Many Women Under 50 Can Skip Mammograms, That May Not Be The Best Advice

Again, this is your choice and should be carefully considered with your doctor. And if you fit into the high-risk category, meaning you have a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer, have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or had radiation to the chest area when you were young, Dr. Lehman says you should start yearly mammogram screening as early as age 30.

“We all agree regular screening mammography saves lives,” she stresses. “Every doctor that I know, every organization that I know really encourages women to have a mammogram.”

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