She became a star on ‘Dallas’ – take a deep breath before you see her today, at 82

She became a star on ‘Dallas’ – take a deep breath before you see her today, at 82

Through her portrayal of Sue Ellen Ewing on the beloved soap opera Dallas, Linda Gray skyrocketed to fame. Not only did Gray have an impressive career spanning over 300 episodes of the show, but she also faced personal challenges that shaped her remarkable life. Today, at 82 years old, Linda Gray continues to inspire us with her resilience and passion.

The Power of Outstanding Performances

Throughout the history of film and television, there have been unforgettable performances that leave a lasting impact. These actors and actresses seem born to play their roles, bringing a unique touch that no one else could replicate. Think about Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie or Dick Van Dyke as Bert in Mary Poppins. Can you imagine anyone else in those roles?

One such example is Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas. It’s hard to imagine the hit TV show without her incredible talent. I’m sure many of us agree that Linda Gray was the perfect fit for the role, and we’re grateful she got the part.

A Roller Coaster Life

Linda Gray’s life has been nothing short of extraordinary, resembling a roller coaster with its ups and downs. Throughout her journey, she faced a life-threatening illness, addiction, and a challenging marriage. Despite these obstacles, she emerged stronger and more determined than ever to live life to the fullest and achieve a successful career.

Working alongside Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy on Dallas, Gray formed a special bond with Hagman. She shares stories of their on-set chemistry and the factors that contributed to their incredible relationship.

Born on September 12, 1940, in Santa Monica, California, Linda Gray faced difficulties from a young age. Diagnosed with polio as a child, she didn’t let that stop her spirit. Linda’s father, who repaired watches for a living, provided her and her sister Betty with the support they needed, even if not emotionally.

Linda’s mother, Marge, on the other hand, had her own struggles. She turned to alcohol, leading Linda and her sister to take on the responsibilities of managing the household. Linda was determined not to follow in her mother’s footsteps and sought a different path for herself.

A Passion for Acting

Growing up in Culver City, the heart of Hollywood, Linda Gray was surrounded by the magic of show business. She spent afternoons hanging around the studios, collecting autographs from the stars she admired. Initially, Gray had aspirations of studying medicine, but the allure of acting drew her in. As a teenager, she worked as a model for various beauty companies and airlines.

At the age of 21, Linda Gray married photographer Edward Lee Thrasher. Unfortunately, the marriage became a nightmare for her as she put her own ambitions on hold to fulfill the roles of wife and mother. Despite the difficulties, Linda was determined to make her own mark in the world.

While her marriage was emotionally cold and unsupportive of her dreams, Linda Gray found ways to pursue her acting career. She started with small roles in television commercials and uncredited appearances in movies. The rejection she faced early on, like a letter from Glamour Magazine, only fueled her determination to succeed.

Rising Star on Dallas

At the age of 37, Linda Gray finally took the leap and joined acting classes. This decision led her to her breakthrough role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the television soap opera Dallas in 1978. Initially intended as a recurring guest role, Gray’s exceptional performances quickly made her a regular cast member and a star in her own right.

Dallas became a cultural phenomenon, captivating audiences with its tale of corruption, betrayal, and scandal set on the Southfork Ranch. Linda Gray’s portrayal of Sue Ellen Ewing garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Her on-screen chemistry with Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing, was electric, though their connection was more like that of siblings.

The Magic of Dallas

The success of Dallas extended beyond critical acclaim. It broke viewing records and became one of the longest-running shows in American prime-time television history. The episode revealing who shot J.R. Ewing attracted over 80 million viewers, making it the most-watched episode of its time.

Linda Gray’s remarkable work on Dallas earned her multiple award nominations, including Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award. Her talent and dedication to her craft were undeniable.

Life After Dallas

After 308 episodes on Dallas, Linda Gray’s journey continued. She faced the end of her marriage to Ed Thrasher in 1983. Her son, Jeff, followed in his mother’s footsteps and became a director, earning an Emmy nomination and a Canadian Screen Award.

Tragedy struck in 2020 when Jeff passed away after battling leukemia. Linda Gray shared a heartfelt tribute to her late son, celebrating the love he brought into the world.

Today, Linda Gray has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Her talent, resilience, and ability to overcome challenges are an inspiration to us all. As we reflect on her journey, we see a remarkable woman who continues to shine brightly, even at 82 years old.