‘Dallas’ Star Linda Gray Opened Up About How Show Let Her Have Fun

by Allison Hambrick
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Dallas actress Linda Gray revealed how the hit series allowed her to be creative and fun in a way she hadn’t been before.

“When I got Dallas, it was as if the universe said ‘okay, you get to play,'” Gray told Barry Kibrick. “‘You get to play in the sandbox with these crazy, wonderful, creative people, and you get to have fun.’ That’s what it was.”

Moreover, Gray discussed how being on Dallas allowed her to make lifelong friends. In particular, she became close with her onscreen husband, Larry Hagman.

“He was my gift,” said Gray. “He was the one who took me from all of the responsible stuff in life to joining the circus, and he was a magnificent actor, a delicious friend–so supportive and truly a friend. [Hagman] and his wife were wonderful to me.”

Additionally, Hagman advocated for Gray. When producers sought to fire her, he said they’d have to fire him, too. Given the popularity of Hagman’s character, he knew full well that they would never go through with firing him.

“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,” explained Gray. “But it sounded good, and it made me feel good.” Gray went on to star in the remaining episodes of the series as well as its 2012 reboot.

The Dallas Star Appeared on a Classic Movie Poster

Though Gray is primarily known for playing Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas, she also modeled for the poster ofThe Graduate. That’s right; the leg on the poster belongs to none other than Sue Ellen Ewing. Starring a then-unknown Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate is now a classic. With incredible music from Simon & Garfunkel, the coming-of-age story remains a favorite of both audiences and critics.

Interestingly, Gray had no idea what the photoshoot was for at the time. She simply was a struggling model who took whatever work she could get.

“We did little bits of modeling for like an hour or two, and you were paid by the hour,” explained Gray. “So a photographer friend of mine said ‘can you come over? I just need you for an hour.’ I said fine, and he said ‘I need a shot of your leg.’ Okay, great. 25 bucks, I got. 25 big ones. And so, then about a year later, a movie called The Graduate came out. That was my leg on there!”

While others might have balked at their image being used that way without permission, Gray enjoyed the surprise.

“He didn’t even say poster,” Gray continued. “He said ‘it’s for a movie campaign or something.’ So that was cool. That was in maybe 1967.”

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