CHARLIE'S ANGELS - 'Consenting Adults'

'Charlie's Angels': See Who's Played the Glamorous Gumshoes

A look back at the crime-fighting trio from the late 1970s TV drama and beyond

Good morning, angels! Director and producer Elizabeth Banks announced the cast of her new big-screen reboot of "Charlie's Angels," on July 26. The new angels — Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott (the live-action "Aladdin"), and newcomer Ella Balinksa — will play the next generation of detectives at the high-tech Townsend Agency. (In addition to directing, Banks will take on the role of their sidekick Bosley.) The new women will have some big shoes (and hair) to fill. The iconic original TV series about three crime-fighting women, who work for a detective agency run by the mysterious Charlie, ran for five seasons between 1976 and 1981 and spawned two movies in the early 2000s, plus a brief TV reboot in 2011. Here, a look back at all the angelic incarnations.

THREE AMIGAS ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images THREE AMIGAS The original cast members Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett in 1976. (They played Sabrina, Kelly, and Jill, respectively.) The premise of the show was outlined like a condescending fairy tale in the opening credits: The three women (or "little girls" as Charlie says) were standouts at the police academy, but were assigned to undemanding duties. They were quickly recruited to work as private investigators by the shadowy Charles Townsend. Charlie, who was voiced by "Dynasty" star John Forsythe, never appeared onscreen and communicated only via a speakphone. Soapy, silly, and somewhat exploitative, it came to exemplify the term "jiggle TV." It was also, perhaps unsurprisingly, an instant hit on ABC. ANGEL ON WHEELS ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images ANGEL ON WHEELS The angels had an impressive array of skills: For instance, in the season 1 episode "Consenting Adults," Fawcett's Jill masters the art of skateboarding in order to elude a racketeer's henchman.

More Stories From FOTO

MIRROR, MIRROR ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images MIRROR, MIRROR A double dose of angels, circa 1976. ALL SAINTS ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images ALL SAINTS Fawcett, Jackson, and Smith photographed in 1976. The fashion on the show left little to the imagination, with the angels often solving crimes in skimpy costumes like bikinis (save for Kate Jackson, who refused to wear some of the more revealing outfits). CHAIN GANG ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images CHAIN GANG In one of the most famous (or infamous) season 1 episodes, "Angels in Chains," the three go undercover in a corrupt, yet campy, all-women's prison that they discover is actually a prostitution ring. RIGHT-HAND MAN Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images RIGHT-HAND MAN Played by David Doyle for all five seasons of the show, the character of John Bosley was the angels' loveable sidekick and the only one who knew what Charlie actually looked like. Above: Smith, Doyle, Fawcett, and Jackson on set in 1977. DANCING QUEENS ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images DANCING QUEENS The angels in matching disco jumpsuits, 1976. HEADSHOTS ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images HEADSHOTS At the end of season 1, Fawcett announced that she would be leaving the series in order to focus on her film career. After a legal battle over her contract, the actress eventually agreed to make guest appearances in later seasons. Above: The original three angels in 1976. A NEW ANGEL Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images A NEW ANGEL Following Fawcett’s departure, ABC brought in Cheryl Ladd to play Jill's sister Kris. Pictured: Smith, Ladd, and Jackson in 1978. LOOK WHO'S BACK ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images LOOK WHO'S BACK One of Fawcett's contractually obligated guest appearances in 1978. ALMOST THE '80S ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images ALMOST THE '80S In 1978, Jackson had the opportunity of a lifetime: She was the early frontrunner for the role Meryl Streep eventually played in the 1979 Oscar winner “Kramer vs. Kramer.” But Jackson's complicated "Angels" schedule forced the filmmakers to look elsewhere. Following the missed opportunity, as well as other disagreements with the producers, Jackson opted to leave the series after season 3. She was replaced by model-actress Shelley Hack (right) for season 4, leaving Smith (center) as the only original angel on the series. ONE MORE TRY ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images ONE MORE TRY Facing continuing drops in viewership, ABC decided to part ways with Hack after just one season and replace her with Tanya Roberts (second from left) for the fifth season. However, the cast changes were not enough to revive the ratings, and the show was eventually cancelled in 1981. TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY ANGELS Archive Photos/Getty Images TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY ANGELS In 2000, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore teamed up for a feature-film remake that took the franchise into the new millennium. Still keeping with the campy style of the original series (coordinating undercover outfits included), the reboot grossed over $246 million and led to the 2003 sequel "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." TV REBOOT Uri Schanker/WireImage TV REBOOT In 2011, Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly, and Annie Ilonzeh were tapped for a TV remake, but the ratings were low, and the show was cancelled after only eight episodes. THE NEW KIDS Venturelli/WireImage; Mike Pont/FilmMagic; Ricky Vigil M/GC Images THE NEW KIDS Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska will star in the new "Angels" reboot, playing just one team among many working for the Townsend Agency, now a global security and intelligence firm. They'll be flying to theaters on Sept. 27, 2019. TOGETHER AGAIN Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic TOGETHER AGAIN Original cast members Fawcett, Jackson, and Smith pay tribute to the late executive producer of the series, Aaron Spelling, at the 2006 Emmy Awards. (Fawcett would die of cancer in 2009.) During their emotional reunion, Smith said, "Miracles do happen, Aaron. I’m sure that he’s looking down and smiling on us right now knowing that he brought us together again."

For more FOTO stories directly in your inbox, sign up for our free weekly newsletter.