Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Name: Linda Gray
Birthdate: September 12, 1940
Famous Years: 1972-Present
Currently Known For: "Hand of God"
|Networth: $12 Million||Famous For: Dallas, Models Inc., All That Glitters|
September 12, 1940
"Hand of God"
Dallas, Models Inc., All That Glitters
There are certain people that are just made for a role, and if the actor is lucky, then they’ll be remembered for that part for decades to come. That was the case with Linda Gray, who played the role of Sue Ellen Ewing on the hit series “Dallas”, but that’s far from her only acting role in a long Hollywood career.
Gray was born on September 12, 1940 in Santa Monica, California, spending much of her childhood in Culver City. Gray came from a normal background as her father made watches, with not much excitement going on around her. When she reached her 20s, things would start to become more hectic for Gray, as she started to work as a model. She’d even make appearances in commercials on television, appearing in hundreds of ads during the decade.
You might not know it, but for the movie poster for the film “The Graduate”, it’s Gray’s leg that’s on full display. Interestingly enough, Gray would end up playing the role of Mrs. Robinson on Broadway when the film became a theater production in the early 2000s. The 1960s weren’t filled with many acting credits, though, which would change drastically in the 1970s.
Gray would appear in television films throughout the decade, but found most of her success on television. After having a couple of guest appearances on various shows, she landed her first regular role in “All That Glitters” as Linda Murkland, playing the role for 65 episodes. This would help Gray land the role of a lifetime, as she was cast in the series “Dallas” as Sue Ellen, the wife of J.R. Ewing.
The series would be a huge hit for Gray, who had initially been cast as a recurring character before being added to the main cast. Dominating the ratings, Gray appeared in more than 300 episodes of the show’s original run. It wasn’t the most glamorous character and there were many fans that despised Gray that couldn’t separate reality from fiction, but it was a job that brought in a lot of money.
Even if Sue Ellen was one of the more notable characters on the show, Gray would leave the series in 1989, and would only return when the show came to a close in 1991. Gray said that she was upset with the direction of her character. “She was such a victim and in the end I was so bored of playing her,” she said. It was a big blow to the series, and marked what would be the beginning of the end.
During her long run on Dallas, Gray wouldn’t appear on any other television shows. That would change in the 1990s as she became a guest star for several shows, and then became a series regular on “Models Inc.” She’d also get back into more films, appearing in movies such as “Oscar”, as well as several television films.
Fans of the original “Dallas” were in for quite a treat in 2012 when it was announced that the series would be coming back, with Gray reprising her role as Sue Ellen. Gray had stated that she’d be interested in a reunion, even if she didn’t leave on the best terms during the original run. The original script wasn’t up to her expectations, but eventually was reworked to the point where she and Patrick Duffy were willing to come back.
The series seemed to be going well in its reboot, but would hit a snag when Larry Hagman (who played J.R. Ewing) passed away. The series just wasn’t the same, even by Gray’s own accord. “It was hard for all of us because we’d all been working with Larry,” she said. “And we knew he was frail...so that was hard.”
After the 2012 edition of “Dallas” had been cancelled, Gray said that she would be returning to the stage for a production of “Cinderella”. It’s not a job that she would have to take, saying that “I’d just finished three seasons of ‘Dallas’ and we assumed we were going to be picked up for season four, but we were wrong.”
It left Gray in a bit of limbo. “I didn’t know what to do, but then I got the call about (pantomime theater),” she said. “I’ve always loved the nomad life and the gypsy in me said, ‘Why not? I’ll pack some warm clothes and off I go, all excited about a delightful new job. It’s great to challenge your mind, to do something you’ve never done in your life.”
Just because she was focusing on her stage career didn’t mean that Gray was done with being on screen, though. She would appear in the television film “Perfect Match”, as well as the soap operas “Winterthorne” and “Hollyoaks”. In 2017, she’d be a part of the cast of “Hand of God”, and Amazon series starring Ron Perlman. Gray also has another movie coming out in the next year called “Prescience”, showing that at 77 years old, Gray still has plenty of roles left in her. She’s living a very healthy lifestyle, and it certainly shows, as many wouldn’t even be able to come close to guessing her age if they didn’t already know.