‘Dallas’ Star Linda Gray Reflected on Her Battle With Bullies

by Allison Hambrick
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Linda Gray poses at the launch of 'Dallas' on Foxtel's SoHo at The Loft on August 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Dallas actress Linda Gray discussed how she overcame her insecurities and became a success in such a vanity-driven field.

“That was a hard time,” Gray told Barry Kibrick. “It’s hard no matter what age you are. Right now, it’s really hard for book people bullying everybody. Which I find death devastating, but when I was growing up, it was the same. I had big eyes. The face didn’t match the eyes, and I had buck teeth and very long, stringy dark hair. Put those all together, and it’s not a pretty package. So I gradually… I was just very tall, very skinny. There’s a funny book and a picture in the book about dancing with the shortest guy there.”

Of course, Gray was referring to a photo of her teenage self, which she included in her book. Titled The Road to Happiness Is Always Under Construction, the book was released in 2015. It is a memoir, which chronicles not just her time on Dallas, but her whole life.

“I was just this tall, skinny, not attractive…” Gray continued. “Frog eyes, they called me, so that was a devastating time in my life, as I’m sure everybody goes through that.”

Even so, Gray proved all of those bullies wrong. Not only was she a massive success, but she was a success in an industry where looks are essential.

“I find that I always try to encourage people going through these awkward stages,” said Gray. “Hang in there. Know who you are.”

Dallas Star Modeled for The Graduate Poster

Moreover, Gray went on to become an actress and a model. While she is largely known as Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas, the actress has another major claim to fame. In her younger days, she took whatever modeling gigs she could scramble up.

“We did little bits of modeling for like an hour or two, and you were paid by the hour,” explained Gray in an interview. “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!”

Hilariously, Gray was completely unaware what the gig was for.

“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.”

Thankfully, the Dallas star had no ill will about the photoshoot. Year later, Gray still laughs about the iconic shot. After all, she did ultimately reach international fame on the hit series. Why hold a grudge over one photo of her leg? To be fair, it is a pretty good photo.