Despite having a successful career and appearing in more than 300 episodes of the show, Gray also faced numerous personal difficulties.
This is the story of Linda Gray, who is still going strong at the age of 82.
Innumerable times during the development of film and television, actors and actresses have delivered standout performances. I don’t know about you, but when I watch those very exceptional performances, I frequently have the feeling that the actors were virtually born to play the roles, and no one else could do it as effectively.
Would it ever occur to you that Michael Landon might not play Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie? Or, would Mary Poppins have been equally as good if a different actor had played Bert instead of Dick Van Dyke?
There are other examples of these kind of sections, but let’s concentrate on one more. Personally, I can’t even imagine watching the classic smash television series Dallas without Linda Gray playing Sue Ellen Ewing. We are pleased that she got the part, and I think I can speak for many others when I say that.
Linda Gray’s life has been so amazing that one could almost compare it to a roller coaster. Gray has battled an addiction, a potentially fatal illness, and an unhappy marriage.
Despite the challenges she has faced, she has always come out of them stronger and more motivated than ever to live life to the fullest and have a successful and lengthy career.
In Dallas, Gray appeared alongside Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy. She now talks about working with Hagman and the elements that contributed to their chemistry on site.
Linda Gray was born in Santa Monica, California, on September 12, 1940.
When Gray was a small child, she had to deal with a lot of challenges after receiving a polio diagnosis.
When he was 17, “they didn’t know what it was, and he was always in a wheelchair,” she recounted. “Everyone in my family went nuts when I was diagnosed, but not me. I saw myself being able to use a wheelchair like Grandpa.
Gray was raised in Culver City, California, by her watch repairman father. She realized early on that acting was her calling. She performed on the streets of her area. While a student at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles, Linda played Cinderella in the performance of Cinderella.
Her father provided the protection she and her sister Betty needed.
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.
The opposite was true of Marge, their artist and former ballerina mother.
The two young sisters eventually had to take control of their home because Marge was a heavy drinker.
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.
“It tore me apart, but I just thought, ‘Well, I can make this work somehow,’” she said. I waited 21 years before divorcing my spouse.
Ed, her husband, wanted an opulent lifestyle at home and didn’t want her to pursue 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.
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 kept that letter because it was so funny.” “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 actress,” 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.
a connection to Larry Hagman
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 bad 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. They believed us to be crazy teenagers, but whenever they called “action,” J.R. and Sue Ellen would appear. 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.
The mystery surrounding who shot JR Ewing, a character played by Larry Hagman, was finally solved for fans on November 21, 1980, and boy were they interested in seeing it.
According to BT, more than 80 million people watched the show, making it the most viewers ever for a single television program in America. It held the top spot until 121 million people watched the final episode of the sitcom MASH.
Gray was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Dramatic Television Series for her work on Dallas.
Her eventual divorce from Ed Thrasher took place in 1983 as a result of Gray’s productive run on the show. In keeping with his mother’s career, her son Jeff went on to become a director.
Jeff received an Emmy nomination in 2018 for Outstanding Directing in a Multiple Camera Lifestyle, Culinary, or Educational and Informational Program for Furze World Wonders. He also won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series in 2015 for his work on Mission Asteroid.
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 brought the world tremendous love and was adored by everyone. He was the kindest, funniest, and sweetest person. May he have a magical journey,” she wished.
In an astounding 308 episodes of Dallas, Linda Gray starred as the main character. But what did she do after the performance?