Farrah Fawcett wasn’t included in the Academy Awards’ In Memoriam segment because the actress was better known as a TV star, the film academy director says.

It was a difficult decision for the committee that assembles the Oscars segment to omit Farrah, said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences executive director Bruce Davis, who added that he’s not surprised some fans and family members are upset.

Farrah’s family issued a statement through a publicist saying they were ‘deeply saddened’ and ‘bereft with this exclusion of such an international icon who inspired so many for so many reasons’.

Davis said the academy committee debated about including the late star and Gene Barry, a longtime TV actor who died in December at age 90, in the memorial segment, but ultimately omitted both.

Davis and his colleagues thought that while the two actors appeared in movies, they were better known for their ‘remarkable television work’ and would be more appropriately honoured by the television academy at the Emmys.

The group ‘was kind of figuring that probably the Farrah Fawcett and Gene Barry omissions would be the ones we’d get the most comments on,’ he said. He acknowledged he ‘did get one letter about Miss Fawcett’.

The academy director said ‘an unusual number of extremely distinguished screenwriters’ died this year, and the academy tried to honour many of them in the short segment.

“In every category, you’re going to miss some wonderful people,” said Davis.

When asked why Michael Jackson was included when actors were left out, Mr Davis explained that Jackson had appeared in a popular theatrical film recently. “Think of all the blogging we would have gotten if we had left him out!” he said.