Ladd replaced Fawcett and played her character's sister Kris Munroe for 90 episodes between 1977 and 1981.
But the actress was convinced she'd face a bitter backlash from Fawcett's loyal fans.
She says, "I was really nervous because I was stepping in and hoping beyond hope the show would work with me in it. Let's face it, there were big shoes to fill. So I said, 'OK, if I could be funny and make mistakes, then I have something to play that makes sense to me.'"
Ladd paid tribute to her predecessor at Saturday's (17Apr10) TV Land Awards, where Fawcett was honoured with a special tribute - 10 months after she lost her battle with anal cancer.