Good morning, angels! The first iteration of Charlie’s Angels premiered in September 1976, but the crime-fighting secret agents have never really gone out of style.
The original show followed Jill Munroe (Farrah Fawcett), Sabrina Duncan (Kate Jackson) and Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith), who worked as private investigators for the mysterious Charles Townsend, a.k.a. Charlie. Their boss (voiced by John Forsythe) was famously never fully seen onscreen, appearing only from the back or partially obscured.
During the show’s original run from 1976 to 1981, the Angels’ lineup changed several times. Fawcett left after just one season, returning as a guest star for seasons 3 and 4, while Jackson left the show for good after the third season.
Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts eventually joined the cast as additional Angels Kris Munroe, Tiffany Welles and Julie Rogers, respectively. The series also featured a ton of guest stars who were either famous in their own right or would become so later, including Tom Selleck, Craig T. Nelson, Kim Basinger, Kim Cattrall, Sonny Bono, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Two decades after the show’s cancelation, the Angels hit the big screen in 2000’s Charlie’s Angels, starring Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz as the titular trio. In 2003, they returned for the sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and the actresses have remained close friends ever since.
When Barrymore launched her talk show in September 2020, she invited her fellow Angels to join her for the premiere episode. “The thing that I love about our friendship is that we have been there in all the big and important moments, we’ve also been there in the small moments and the casual moments,” the Never Been Kissed star said at the time. “The reason we are such good friends is because it’s real and we go through real stuff with each other. It’s not a Hollywood fairy tale.”
The well-dressed secret agents returned to theaters again in November 2019, this time with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska in the starring roles. Director Elizabeth Banks described the movie as a “continuation” of the original TV series and preceding two movies rather than a reboot.
“It was important to me to make a movie about women working together and supporting each other, and not make a movie about their romantic entanglements or their mother they don’t call enough,” the Hunger Games star told Entertainment Weekly in April 2019. “When I’m at work, I don’t talk about those things. I get on with my job. It felt important to do that for the Angels, to treat them with the respect their skill set demands.”
Keep scrolling for a look back at all the women who’ve answered Charlie’s phone calls over the years: