Gray Matters: An Interview with Linda Gray

Soap Opera Digest: What have you been doing since your last appearance on B&B?
Linda Gray: There was the DALLAS REUNION [RETURN TO SOUTHFORK] and I did a Hallmark movie with John Larroquette called [McBRIDE:] IT’S MURDER, MADAM. I finished that in the beginning of December and then there were the holidays and here I am. Digest: Have you resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll always be known as Sue Ellen?

Gray: It’s like William Shatner. He’ll always be [associated with] STAR TREK. I’m part of DALLAS. Digest: Were there some scenes from DALLAS that you had forgotten until you participated in the reunion?
Gray: We had not seen the shots they had chosen, so we were like little kids sitting on the stage watching, too. Then we were talking later going, “They forgot this,” and “Why did they take that out?” There were also very funny outtakes that they chose not to show.Digest: Maybe enough material for another reunion?
Gray: No. We’re done. You can only take it so far. What are you going to do after that?Digest: It was sure fun for us viewers to go down memory lane again.
Gray: We never knew what a phenomenon the show was going to be. Then the “Who Shot J.R.?” thing happened.Digest: That is certainly one of the most memorable cliff-hangers of any show. Then the premiere of the following season was delayed because of the writers’ strike, so the interest in who shot J.R. was at a fever pitch.
Gray: I know. If one more person asked me “Who shot J.R.?” I was gonna punch them. Oh, I couldn’t handle it.Digest: According to the stories around that time, not even the cast supposedly knew who the shooter was until the last minute. Did anyone really know?
Gray: I knew. They didn’t want to do it on camera because the whole crew would know, so they took me into a sound booth and if you watch that episode, you’ll hear me [say] in voice-over, “Kristin, you shot J.R.”Digest: Charlene Tilton (ex-Lucy) was listed as co-executive producer of the reunion special.
Gray: It was her idea. When the four of us, Charlene, Patrick [Duffy, ex-Bobby], Larry [Hagman, ex-J.R.] and myself had done SOAPnet, she saw how excited the audience was to see us all together again and, smart cookie, she called [Executive Producer] Henry Winkler. They came here to CBS and sold it in five minutes. They said they would give them an hour and Charlene said, “No, please give us two hours!” So they did. Charlene was a huge help.Digest: Have you seen Mary Crosby [ex-Kristin] lately?
Gray: I see her occasionally. I see Larry all the time; we have lunch a couple of times a month. I see Patrick when he flies down from Oregon. The three of us see each other the most out of everybody. We run into Charlene here and there. But that’s about it.Digest: No Victoria Principal (ex-Pamela)?
Gray: Nobody ever sees her. She’s not done anything with us in the past, but I think that would have been a big mistake had she not shown up for the reunion. Digest: Any chance of getting Larry to guest-star on B&B like originally planned last year?
Gray: Larry will do whatever I tell him to do, but you can’t tell him that [laughs]. In 1991 — I had [already] left DALLAS and he was on the last year of the show — I was asked to perform Love Letters and they said, “Choose a partner.” I called Larry and asked, ‘Will you do it with me?” He said, “Hell, no! I’m not doing any play!” A week later, the DALLAS producers asked if I would be on their final show. So I called Larry and said, “They asked me to come back and I’m thinking about it.” And he said, “What do you mean? You have to come back.” And I said, “Do you know that Love Letters that I wanted you to do?…. That’s the deal, Larry.” I blackmailed him. You don’t get those chances very often.Digest: Do you watch DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES?

Gray: Yes, I love it!Digest: Do you think the prime-time soap is on its way back?
Gray: I think people love entertainment like that. If you do it right and the writing is well done, I think people will tune in. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES has a bit of humor, a little satire going on…. Sue Ellen was the original desperate housewife. Digest: Would you do a guest-starring role on that show?
Gray: Oh, yes! I can’t wait. I have a great idea and I’m going to pitch it. Why not? [She laughs.]

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