Farrah Fawcett's friend talks about an 'unbelievable individual'

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin
Milton Hirata
Milton Hirata

By Leland Kim bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - Every year, more than half a million Americans die of cancer. Many more, are living with the disease. Among them is celebrity Farrah Fawcett. She's been battling anal cancer for several years, and her friends, family and fans are keeping her in their thoughts and prayers.

Jonathan Franklin was Farrah's neighbor when she briefly moved to Beverly Hills. He bought her car, and they became friends. They continued to stay in touch over the years, even during the ups and downs of chemotherapy.

Farrah Fawcett lit up the 1970s. This legendary poster sold a record 12 million copies.

"She's an icon," said Franklin. "She basically defines a decade."

Her smile and trademark hairstyle captivated audiences the world over.

"She caught everyone's eye," said Franklin. "I along with every other American had basically had her poster."

Franklin grew up in Florida admiring the iconic actress, but eventually their paths crossed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

"I actually went up to her and I said, 'Excuse me, Miss Fawcett. I'm an attorney in Los Angeles and a huge fan of yours. Do you mind if I get a quick picture?' And she stood up and said, 'Sure no problem.'"

A friendship was formed, and they were neighbors at one point. Franklin even bought Farrah's 1997 Jaguar XK8 coupe.

"She's an extremely down to earth person," he said. "I was surprised how personable she was when I dealt with her directly over the Jag."

She remains grounded as she fights cancer, a disease that claims millions of lives worldwide each year.

"She's an unbelievable individual and my thoughts and prayers are going out to her in this difficult time," said Franklin.

Farrah's battle has helped bring attention to the deadly disease.

"It always brings additional awareness to cancer and it makes it a little easier," said Milton Hirata, the communications director for Hawaii's branch of the American Cancer Society. "I think people feel they'll go out and they'll get screened. We see the mammogram rates are up. We find that there are more people going out for colorectal screenings."

As Franklin keeps her in his thoughts and prayers, he says he's grateful something positive is coming out her ordeal.

"It is good that this is front and center, this issue, because obviously this is a major tragedy that she and other Americans are dealing with," he said.

Friday night, NBC aired a two-hour documentary on Fawcett's life called "Farrah's Story." It focused on her battle with cancer. And "Dateline NBC" featured an interview with Farrah right before the special.