It should come as absolutely no surprise that Cheryl Ladd has worked to help the plight of disadvantaged kids since the 1970s. After all, she is one of the world’s most famous angels.
“I have been a child advocate my whole life. I was inspired to use my celebrity to help children,” says Ladd, one-time star of “Charlie’s Angels” and the featured speaker at Thursday’s “Fine Wines and Hidden Treasures” gala sponsored by Food For The Poor.
“So much of what (they) do is to help mothers, who have nothing to give their children to make a life. It really touched my heart. I can’t imagine being a mother loving my children and having them go hungry. The whole concept of it makes me crazy, because your mission in life as a mother is to protect your children.”
Ladd, who played crime fighter Kris Munroe on the popular ABC series from its second season in 1977 until its cancellation in 1981, has good practice with the cause. Since her “Angels” days, she has been an ambassador for Childhelp, which fights child abuse.
“I had done a movie about child abuse — I developed it — called ‘When She Was Bad,’ and when I was out promoting it on the ‘Dinah Shore Show,’ I said ‘If there are any organizations working on the problem, please contact me.’ I had no sooner walked off the set when someone from Childhelp called me and said ‘We want you, we need you.’ And I’ve been working with them ever since.”
Along with her speech for Food For The Poor, Ladd is hosting a golf tournament for Childhelp. The organization was founded by actresses Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, who played the girlfriends of Ricky and David Nelson on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and actor John O’Hurley. That event combines two of her favorite interests — helping children and golf.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to play for the last few years,” she says. “We moved to Texas, into a new home, and I was getting the house together. We’ve been here about a year and a half, because my mother, sister, brother, nieces and nephews, our daughter Lindsey and our grandchildren all live there. We have another place in California, but Texas is home.”
Though the Lone Star State is her main base, Ladd still gets to California to visit daughter Jordan, who is an actress, and to work herself. She recently appeared on an episode of “Anger Management” as the girlfriend of Martin (Martin Sheen), the father of lead character Charlie (Charlie Sheen, who is of course the real-life son of Martin).
Ladd said doing the show was “way fun, crazy fun. I hadn’t worked with (Martin Sheen) before, but I had met him years ago at a surprise birthday party for him. I was living in Malibu, and someone said ‘Hey come and celebrate Martin Sheen’s birthday; and I met him there. He’s a terrific guy, so much fun.”
That story is one of those that lends credence to the idea that Hollywood, especially Hollywood of a certain age, was just famous people all hanging out together in an endless party being fabulous and famous together.
“I guess you could say that kind of happened!” Ladd says, laughing.
While she’s worked steadily since the 1970s, the actress “absolutely embraces” the fact that she’s best known for “Charlie’s Angels,” which spawned a successful movie reboot and a not-so-successful TV re-imagining.
“I can’t believe how loyal the fans have been. Every time they play the series (on TV) we have younger fans again. Young women love the show, and it’s kind of inspiring,” she says. “There was a young women helping me recently with my iPhone, and she said she was going to be a firefighter. In the ’70s that was unheard of. I think we inspired young women to step out of basic roles and go for it. And if we did that, I’m really pleased.”
Although some people questioned whether the Angels were objectified, Ladd says she enjoyed that the show didn’t take itself too seriously, while setting the women up as role models. They were “feminine … it was about the hair and the outfits, and kind of glamorous, but the underlying message was to go for it, to have power, to have the ability to expand your mind for who you want to be.”
IF YOU GO
Cheryl Ladd: Fine Wines and Hidden Treasures Gala, for Food For The Poor, Thursday, Mar-A-Lago. More information: Foodforthepoor.org