‘Dynasty’ Star Linda Evans Opens Up About How ‘Horrible’ Split From John Derek Helped Her Land Role on Show

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Cue the trumpets from the iconic Dynasty theme song. Linda Evans, who forever will be Krystle Carrington in our memories, is reflecting upon her time with the 1980s-era prime-time soap.

Evans is 78 now. And she sat down with People magazine to chat about her life since Dynasty. The story is in this week’s issue.

Evans said that if she’d never suffered through a divorce from her husband in real life, she probably would never have landed her role as the second wife of Blake Carrington on Dynasty.

Let’s throw it back to the late 1960s for more details. Evans was a co-star in Big Valley. That was the ABC series about life on one of the biggest ranches in California’s central valley, circa a century ago. Evans was Audra Barkley, the daughter of Barbara Stanwyck’s Victoria, the matriarch of the family. Big Valley was Yellowstone or Bonanza with a twist.

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Long Before Dynasty, Evans Fell in Love with John Derek

She and John Derek married in 1968, a year before the show ended. Evans said that Derek, a noted actor and director, didn’t want her to work. They divorced five years later. Derek had a type. He loved beautiful, prominent women. His first wife was a Russian prima ballerina, while the second was actress Ursula Andress. He was married to Evans, then he met the perfect 10, literally. He began an affair with Bo Derek, who in 1979 was the perfect woman in the comedy 10.

Linda Evans didn’t work for years. Dynasty offered her a chance to revive her career.

“John and I broke up nine years after we met — he fell in love with Bo,” the Dynasty star said. “And then I called my agent and said, ‘I want to work again,’ and he said, ‘You’ve been away for so long. How are we going to pull this off? Everyone’s forgotten about you.'” 

She added: “If I had stayed married to John, who didn’t want me to work, I could never have done Dynasty. I would never have known all the magic that followed that show or that experience, which to me is just like, one of the most beautiful things anyone could even hope to experience in a lifetime.” 

Dynasty premiered in 1981 as ABC’s solution to Dallas, which was on CBS. Like Dallas, Dynasty was about an oil-rich, prominent family. But this prime-time soap created by Aaron Spelling was based in Denver. John Forsythe portrayed Blake Carrington. And as the series premieres, Carrington introduces his new wife, Krystal, to the family. Krystal was Blake’s secretary at Denver-Carrington. Fallon, Blake’s beautiful, headstrong daughter, didn’t like Krystal.

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Show Hit Primetime Gold with Addition of Joan Collins

Dynasty hit prime-time gold when it added Joan Collins to the cast in the second season. Collins portrayed Alexis Carrington, Blake’s ex wife. She was beautiful, stylish and confident. And she could be as cold and devious as J.R. Ewing from Dallas. Krystle and Alexis always were at odds. In 1983, the two beautiful women even got into a fight, with both ending up in a swimming pool. Fans loved it.

After Dynasty ended, Evans moved to a rural part of Washington. But two years ago, she came out of retirement for the movie Swan Song, which is now playing in theaters.

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