‘Dallas’ Star Patrick Duffy Reflects on Brotherhood With Larry Hagman

by Allison Hambrick

“Dallas” actor Patrick Duffy looked back on his relationship with Larry Hagman, who passed away in 2012. They starred side by side from 1978 to 1991, except for a brief stint when Duffy left the show for its ninth season.

In the series, they played feuding brothers Bobby and J.R. Ewing, whose family ran an oil company and a ranch. Other stars included Linda Gray, Jim Davies, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Victoria Principal, among others. The series was a smash hit. It consistently dominated ratings for its time slot in its early seasons.

Perhaps its biggest achievement was the 1980 episode “Who Done It,” which remains the second most-watched primetime broadcast of all time. The previous season ended on a cliffhanger in which J.R. was shot. Most of the cast had cause to kill him. As a result, speculation ran wild. “Who Shot J.R.?” also remains one of the best television mysteries in history.

Despite their onscreen rivalry, Hagman and Duffy were very close in their private lives.

“From the moment we met, we became best friends to… Literally, I was with him maybe an hour and a half before he died,” Duff told Entertainment Tonigh. “He and Linda Grey, we were the three musketeers. It was the best job I’ve ever had. I got to play with my two best friends for 16 years. When the show was finally canceled, I had two weeks off and then signed my Step By Step contract.”

Inside the Relationship Between Happy Days and Dallas Stars

In the same interview, Duffy discussed his new relationship with a familiar face: Linda Purl. Purl starred on Happy Days as well as on Matlock, as the title character’s daughter. The two have an unusual romance, but not because they are mismatched. The two began dating via Zoom in 2020.

“We Zoomed every single night for at least two to three hours,” revealed Duffy. “So we explored all our history, our past, our loves. We listened to music together and covered all that ground you normally cover over months of dating.”

The Dallas star, who had been widowed in 2017, drove 20 hours to see Purl. She fondly remembered her anxiety waiting for his arrival.

“I was standing out in the driveway, jumping up and down. I’ve made a total fool of myself. It’s remarkable that you didn’t turn around.” According to Duffy, his anxiety felt much the same. He pulled over after 23 hours, five minutes from her house, to change clothes.

For perspective, it’s important to note that this was in the middle of Colorado Springs. So out in the street, Duffy cleaned himself up very quickly and tried his darnedest to make a good impression. A year later, they are still going strong.

“Life is full of surprises, both good and bad,” said Purl. “Patrick and I weren’t looking for this. We didn’t expect it or see it coming when our paths crossed. Don’t ever give up.”