Through her depiction of Sue Ellen Ewing on the popular soap opera Dallas, Linda Gray rose to fame.
Even though Gray had a tremendous career and appeared in more than 300 episodes of the show, she also had many personal challenges.
This is the tale of 82-year-old Linda Gray, who is still going strong today.
There have been countless occasions throughout the history of film and television when actors and actresses have given outstanding performances. I don’t know about you, but when I watch those genuinely outstanding performances, I get the impression that the performers were practically born to portray those roles and that no one else could do it as well.
Could you ever fathom someone else playing Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie instead of Michael Landon, for instance? Or, if a different actor had played Bert instead of Dick Van Dyke, would Mary Poppins have been just as good?
These kinds of sections have several examples, but let’s focus on one more. Personally, I find it impossible to contemplate viewing the venerable hit television program Dallas without Linda Gray in the lead role of Sue Ellen Ewing. I believe I speak for many when I say that we are happy she received the part.
One can even say that Linda Gray’s life has been like a roller coaster because it has been so extraordinary. Gray has fought with a potentially fatal illness, addiction, and an unfulfilling marriage.
She has undoubtedly experienced difficult moments, but she has always emerged from them stronger and more determined than ever to live life to the fullest and have a long and prosperous career.
Gray co-starred in Dallas with Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy. She now discusses how it was to work with Hagman and the factors that contributed to their on-set chemistry.
On September 12, 1940, Linda Gray was born in Santa Monica, California.
When Gray was diagnosed with polio as a young child, she was faced with many difficulties.
Her parents were distraught because her grandfather had previously been given the virus’s diagnosis. However, it wasn’t a big deal for Linda.
When he was 17 years old and usually in a wheelchair, she recounted, “They didn’t know what it was.” “Everyone in my family went nuts when I was diagnosed, but not me. I saw myself being able to use a wheelchair like Grandpa.
In Culver City, California, Gray was raised by her father who had a watch repair business. She was born to act when she was a small child. She gave a performance on her neighborhood’s streets. Linda played Cinderella in the production of Cinderella while she was a student at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles.
Her father gave her and her sister Betty the security they required.
Linda Gray stated in her 2015 book The Road to Happiness Is Always Under Construction, “He didn’t offer emotional support though.” He was only present, like a piece of furniture, but this was another era.
“You didn’t go to Dad about issues with your partner. Please, no. He did, however, encourage my career.
Marge, their artist and former ballerina mother, was the opposite.
Marge was a strong drinker, so the two young sisters eventually had to take over management of their house.
Linda stated, “She wasn’t falling over intoxicated, and there was never any yelling. She wasn’t malicious; she was just hazy and lost in her own world. Because of this, I started cooking for the family. Both my sister and I disliked her.
Marge gradually stopped drinking and eventually joined AA later in life. Linda thinks her mother’s drinking was a result of her being disappointed and having her creativity stifled. She became committed to avoiding her mother’s destiny.
Linda Gray said, “I thought that if I didn’t pursue my career, the same thing may happen to me.
But she had encountered several difficulties along the way. And while she was just in her 20s, difficulties began to arise.
Growing up in Culver City meant being very close to Hollywood, the center of the global entertainment industry. After school, Linda Gray loved to hang out at the various studios with her friends and acquire autographs from celebrities like Spencer Tracy and Tyrone Powers.
Gray’s early aspirations were to become a doctor. She shifted her focus, though, and realized she wanted to be an actress after growing up close to the movie studios. Gray was a model in her adolescent years for a number of airlines and cosmetic businesses.
When Linda Gray wed photographer Edward Lee Thrasher, she was barely 21 years old. But for Linda, the union devolved into something of a nightmare.
Her career as well as her desire to work in show industry were suspended. She adopted the role of wife and eventually mother instead. The couple had a boy named Jeff Thrasher in 1960, and a daughter named Kehly was born six years later.
According to Linda, Ed didn’t say all that much. Linda’s family relocated to Santa Clarita, where she currently resides, but she was adamant about pursuing her own career.
Linda claimed that their union lacked emotional warmth. She felt left behind.
She said, “It tore me to pieces, but I simply thought, ‘Well, I can make this work somehow. I waited 21 years before divorcing my spouse.
Ed, her husband, wanted an opulent lifestyle at home and didn’t want her to have any part-time employment. Linda believed that it was an opportunity for her to get into the entertainment industry, and soon she began making appearances in television ads.
Many of them.
In 1963, she had two brief uncredited cameos in the motion pictures Under the Yum Yum Tree and Palm Springs Weekend.
A few years later, Linda Gray landed a job that is now regarded as legendary. She was paid $25 to be Anne Bancroft’s body double in the 1967 movie The Graduate, which starred a young Dustin Hoffman, at the age of 27. Funny enough, Gray ended up playing Mrs. Robinson in the 2001 West End State production of The Graduate. Gray’s legs are visible in the iconic photograph.
However, not everyone adored her. Gray included a rejection letter from Glamour Magazine from the early 1960s in her memoir from 2015. But that in no way discouraged her.
Gray remarked, “I preserved the letter because it was so humorous.” “I kept the letter because I understood that everyone experiences rejection, and that was her view when I was 20 years old, so I decided to keep it. It had the potential to ruin my life. I didn’t, though. Oh, yeah? This feisty streak emerged. I’ll demonstrate to you! I treasured that letter with a lot of humor and a lot of affection. It gave me a kick in the rear and motivated me to act.
Linda was unhappy about not being able to pursue her profession even though she adored being a mother. She ultimately made the decision to enroll in acting school, but her husband wasn’t pleased.
When the kids are in college, dad suggested, “Why don’t you become an actor,” she recounted.
Linda Gray, however, entered acting classes among many younger candidates when she was 37 years old. In 1974, Gray appeared as a guest star on the television series Marcus Welby M.D. after actor Dennis Weaver recognized her aptitude and helped her land her first major acting gig.
It wouldn’t take long for things to improve after that.
Gray was cast as Sue Ellen Ewing in the brand-new television soap series Dallas in 1978. She was initially intended to play a recurring guest part for the five-episode inaugural season, but she quickly joined the cast as a regular. Her performances were what really made her a star.
The Southfork Ranch served as the setting for all the corruption, betrayal, lies, adultery, and scandals that characterized Dallas. Television critics loved Gray’s performance, and the series—which also starred Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy—helped launch her to stardom.
On Dallas, Gray became something of a sex icon, and her chemistry with Larry Hagman was genuine.
It was pure magic for CBS executives to see everything unfold in front of their eyes. However, according to Gray, there was no sexual chemistry used to create the reality.
Gray remarked, “He was the wicked big brother I never had.” “He was constantly doing something wrong in my eyes, whether it was drinking too much or something else, and I would correct him. He loved it, and he loved to do things simply to irritate me. I’d advise not eating that. Stop drinking, you don’t need that much sugar.
She said, “I was a pain in the neck, and he liked it. He would intentionally do things to enrage me. The filmmakers could only be amazed. When they said “action,” we would transform into J.R., despite their belief that we were insane teenagers. Sue Ellen, too. It went smoothly. We are unaware of what transpired. It was genuinely magical. We were fortunate, as we felt.
Dallas received high marks not only from television reviewers and industry leaders, but also from the audience, who adored it to the hilt.
The program became one of the most popular things on television after breaking numerous watching records. It’s one of the longest-running programs in American prime-time television history even now.
On November 21, 1980, fans got their answer as to the mystery of who shot Larry Hagman’s character, JR Ewing, and boy did people want to see it.
More than an estimated 80 million people watched the episode, making it the greatest audience for a single television program ever in America at the time, according to BT. Up until 121 million people saw the final episode of the series M*A*S*H, it was at No. 1.
For her work on Dallas, Gray received nominations for two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Dramatic Television Series and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
The successful run Gray had on the show led to her final divorce from Ed Thrasher in 1983. Her son Jeff became a director, continuing in his mother’s career.
For Furze World Wonders, Jeff was nominated for an Emmy in 2018 for Outstanding Directing in a Multiple Camera Lifestyle, Culinary, or Educational and Informational Program. For his 2015 Mission Asteroid, he also received a Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series.
But tragedy struck in 2020 when Jeff suddenly away after allegedly fighting leukemia.
Linda Gray paid tribute to her late son on Instagram.
“A celebration of the life of my son Jeff. He was the funniest, sweetest, and kindest person I’ve ever met. He was adored by many and brought so much love into the world! May he have a magical journey,” she wished.
On Dallas, Linda Gray played the lead in a staggering 308 episodes. What did she do, though, after the show?
She proceeded to appear in other television shows, and in 2012, when Dallas was extended for two more seasons, she returned to the role of Sue Ellen Ewing. In addition, Gray received a Special Award at the 2014 USA Film Festival.
She is currently 82 years old. yet continues to look very gorgeous!