‘Dallas’ Star Linda Gray Also Played Another Role Behind the Scenes

by Allison Hambrick
SOLTAU, GERMANY - AUGUST 03: Linda Gray attends the Late Night Shopping at Designer Outlet Soltau on August 3, 2018 in Soltau, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Designer Outlet Soltau)

Dallas actress Linda Gray is a jack of all trades. Back in the late 1980s, she tried her hand at directing five episodes of the series.

The first episode Gray directed was called “Just Desserts.” The episode features Gray, Larry Hagman, Steve Kanaly, and Victoria Principal. Priscilla Presley also guest starred as Jenna Wade, a flame of Patrick Duffy’s Bobby Ewing. Reeling from a traumatic event in Martinique, each member of the Ewing family’s inner circle has their own drama to explore. Notably, this episode takes place during the “dream season.”

For one year, Patrick Duffy chose to exit Dallas to pursue other career options. As a result, the series killed off Bobby and carried on without him. That is, until Duffy chose to return. The writers chose to make the events of season nine non-canon to the rest of the series. It became something of a punchline when the entire season was revealed to be a dream of Pamela Barnes Ewing, played by Principal.

The second episode directed by Gray was season 10’s “Revenge of the Nerd.” The episode sees J.R. Ewing once again at odds with Pamela’s brother Cliff Barnes. Additionally, J.R. suspects that Pamela betrayed Bobby and the rest of the company to her brother. Subsequent episodes directed by Gray were season 11’s “Brotherly Love” and “Things Ain’t Goin’ So Good at Southfork Again,” both of which focus on the Ewing family’s attempts to secure their businesses. The final episode directed by Gray was “The Great Texas Waltz” from season 12, and it sees J.R. caught between his wife and the one that got away.

After Dallas, Gray never directed again.

Another Dallas Star Vouched for Gray

When Gray first asked to direct an episode of Dallas, the producers of the series met her request with a resounding “nope.”

“In the 80s, I was getting bored Sue Ellen Ewing as an actor,” Gray said. “She was drinking and having an affair, or having an affair and drinking, so I had two notes to play. I had always wanted to direct, so I think year eight it was, I approached the production staff, and I said I would like to direct one episode in the next two-year cycle. And they said, ‘Nope.’ I said, ‘I don’t want any more money, I don’t want anything–I would just like to direct.'”

According to Gray, the back and forth went on for some time. That is, until Dallas fan favorite Larry Hagman stepped in.

“I wasn’t invited back for year nine,” Gray revealed. “Because if that was my only request, they didn’t want me back. Mr. Hagman took a deep breath and said, ‘Well, now…’ This is what he tells me he said to them, ‘If Miss Gray is not coming back, I am not coming back.’ Knowing Larry the way I do, Larry probably never said that because he would always go back and play J.R. Ewing, with or without me.”

Even so, Gray expressed that Hagman’s support “felt good.” The two remained close friends until Hagman’s death in 2012.