updated 03/10/2010 AT 6:00 AM ET
•originally published 03/10/2010 AT 6:30 AM ET
It was no oversight. The executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologized to the friends, family and fans of Farrah Fawcett, who was conspicuously omitted from Sunday night’s Oscar-event tribute to Hollywood personalities who had died over the past year.
While some agents and publicists, besides actors, were included in the memorial, Fawcett, a high-profile star better known for her TV work (who also appeared on the big screen), was not. Neither was Gene Barry – who was seen in both versions of War of the Worlds – or Bea Arthur.
Among those criticizing the Academy for its selective omissions were critic Roger Ebert and Oscar-winner Jane Fonda.
In response, the Academy’s Bruce Davis, who was responsible for the “in memoriam” segment (and has been since the tradition began in 1993), said late Tuesday: “There’s nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all. They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we’re sorry for it.”
Davis, who also says he stands by the decision about Fawcett’s absence, had considered including her, but ultimately felt her “remarkable television work” would be more appropriately honored at the TV Academy’s Emmys (which she was). He also noted that several notable screenwriters were not included in the tribute.
Oscar-winner Tatum O’Neal, whose father Ryan O’Neal was Fawcett’s longtime companion, also issued a statement Tuesday. It said: “On behalf of myself, my father Ryan O Neal and my entire family, we are deeply saddened that a truly beautiful and talented actress Farrah Fawcett was not included in the memorial montage during the 82nd Academy Awards. We are bereft with this exclusion of such an international icon who inspired so many for so many reasons. Beautiful, talented Farrah will never be forgotten by her family and amazing fans.”
Davis defended the tribute’s inclusion of Michael Jackson, who was better known for his musical accomplishment than for his screen work, because the late pop star was the subject of a successful feature documentary last year.