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Video Interview: Linda Gray Talks WINTERTHORNE Experience, Previews Her New Memoir & If She Would Want To Play DALLAS’ Sue Ellen Ewing Again!

Courtesy/Winterthorne

As the highly-anticipated online series Winterthorne is set to have its online debut this Thursday August 27th, leading up to it over the next few days, On-Air On-Soaps will be bringing you some red carpet video interviews with the cast taped at the Winterthorne premiere and screening held just over a week ago.

We caught up with cast member Linda Gray, who became a TV icon in her role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the original CBS primetime soap opera Dallas, and more recently appeared in the same popular role in the TNT revival of the series.  For Gray, being part of the cast of Winterthorne and doing an online series was a first for her.

Linda related why she chose to do the show:  “In my career,  I have chosen to do things that I have not done before.  It has served me well.  I get to meet new people and I have never done anything like Winterthorne before, and so I wanted to experience it.   My character is the matriarch of the candy empire!”

In addition to her role in Winterthorne playing Martha Madison’s on-screen mom, Gray is set on September 8th to release her first memoir entitled The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction.  Linda’s fans can pre-order it now on Amazon.com.

Courtesy/Amazon.com

Gray revealed that she was indeed scared to write her memoir relating when speaking to the publishers: “Well they asked me to write a memoir, and I said, ‘I’m not old enough to write a memoir.’   I remember being in New York and they kind of looked up and gave me a funny look and said, ‘Well, in September you’re going to be 75.’   Then, I thought … maybe it is time.” (Laughs)

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As for digging in and recounting her life and the ups and downs of it, Linda shared: “It was hard, but I just started writing.  It’s what I do.  I jumped into the deep end.  I loved it.   Stuff came in and it was almost like a download.  It is a memoir and it reveals a lot of stuff about my life that people don’t know about.”

The big question of the day was posed to Gray, and that was if somehow Dallas got resurrected in some form:  TV, motion picture, online series, whatever … would she be up for playing Sue Ellen one more time.  Linda simply answered, “Of course, darling.”

Watch the video interview with Linda Gray after the jump.  Then let us know if you are intrigued to see her in Winterthorne?  Interested in checking out her memoir and what she might reveal? Would you want to see her play a boozin’ Sue Ellen Ewing one more time if Dallas could ever be revived again?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Frank
Frank

Wow I love this lady, Linda Gray is a sassy, classy lady and a wonderful actress. She looks beautiful for 75 years old, she looks natural, no plastic surgery at all.

k/kay
k/kay

My heart breaks to know so many years have past for all of us Dallas was wonderful until 1985 ! Sad days still has great legs!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Those years from the late 70s up until ‘the dream year’ was Dallas at its best!!!

Frank
Frank

Linda Gray is amazing. I would love to see Dallas back on TV but I want to see a powerful and strong Sue Ellen. TNT took her too low again. I didn’t care that she started drinking again but she should’t have lost control. It should have been her vice and give her the courage to do bitchy things.

Charday
Charday

She’s great. I miss DALLAS. Look forward to her memoir.

Janie
Janie

I would love to see Linda as Sue Ellen in Dallas again. She was always so awesome

Dadou
Dadou

Amaizing classy lady. The one and only . Got The chance to talk to her in London…caring and so so sweet charming she is. She really likes people and every moment of her life

Rose
Rose

Michael…it’s August 27. Where can we view Winterthorne?

Barb
Barb

I too, love Linda Gray and Dallas (especially miss Larry Hagman). I bought the entire series and am up to season 10 now. Contrary to most opinions, all the seasons up to 10 were really good writing and acting. I have found it hard to get into season 10 like I did before. But I am still a huge Dallas fan-always and forever! Perhaps, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy and the new generation Ewings could meet up and some how cross over onto the new Fall series Blood and Oil. What you think? Dallas was the Best Show ever!!!

All My Children

ABC and PEOPLE’s ‘The Story of Soaps’: What Was Your Review Of It?

Tuesday’s night airing of ABC and PEOPLE’s two-hour special The Story of Soaps featured many notable daytime and primetime soap stars, past and present, clips from backstage to classic memorable moments, and some participants who were providing commentary on the erosion of the daytime soaps in our culture.  Still others, maintained and realized that everything today is serialized from the news we watch, to some of Netflix’s most binge-watchable series, and of course, the birth of reality-programming.

Throughout the airing of the special, The Story of Soaps was trending on Twitter and social media either at the #2, #3 or #4 spots for the entire duration of the broadcast presentation, and the cancelled and beloved All My Children was also at one point trending.

However, known soap writers, journalists, ardent fans, and actors of the genre, were all on Twitter last night live-tweeting their thoughts as the special went down, and there was definitely mixed reactions and reviews, when all was said and done.

What the special did not shy away from, but tackled, was Luke’s rape of Laura at the campus disco on General Hospital. and how that moment now, as Genie Francis (Laura), so eloquently put, would be considered as ‘date rape’ in our culture.  The series even included a pivotal moment where Laura addresses Luke (Tony Geary) about the rape years later, after helping Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) through her rape ordeal.

John Stamos (Ex-Blackie Parrish, GH) got a bevy of “Right On’s!” for his comment that the soaps do not get the credit that they deserve and clearly came through as one of the soaps greatest supporters, as did former The Doctors and Knots Landing star, Alec Baldwin.

However, throughout the two-hours, Andy Cohen’s commentary was thread throughout; mostly citing soap’s demise and the creation of reality-programming and his “Real Housewives” franchise, that the special touted as the new soap operas.  It continued on the narrative that people preferred to see real-life drama then made-up drama on a fictional soap.  And while, that has been a trend in American culture for decades, the commentary came off as often out of place in a celebration of the soaps; and bringing in a lot of negativity to the special that soap fans were tired of hearing.

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In a lighting rod moment, Cohen stated: “I know Susan Lucci doesn’t agree with me, but I think that the Housewives have replaced soap operas because truth is stranger than fiction. Soaps became kind of unnecessary because you could do it with real people, and they’re writing the drama themselves.”

The special did also address the cancellations of All My Children and One Life to Live, (which many were not sure they were going to do – given this special was airing on ABC), where One Life’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) said what we all wanted to sa ywhen the ax fell on the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, “People were horrified”.

Clearly, OJ Simpson and his murder trial and reality-programming were also given a chunk of time to show where the once mighty landscape of daytime soaps which once had 13 shows on the air, dwindled town to 4.  But, it would have been nice to see more time spent on how in this day and age, the people in this current landscape of the genre work so hard to get episodes done at an unbelievable pace, and how in that climate the performers still deliver gut-wrenching performances.

Photo: ABC

Former Loving, OLTL and Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston, did point out how the once powerful soaps, just don’t have the dollars they used to, and need to, to help with production costs and their taping schedule.

Viewers were reminded of soaps’ socially relevant storylines including hankie-inducing moments from: Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Stone’s (Michael Sutton) HIV/AIDS storyline on General Hospital, to Billy Douglas being a gay teen coming out on One Life to Live, played by a young Ryan Phillippe.

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There also did not seem time spent on the contributions of William J. Bell; one of the most prominent writers of the soap genre of all-time.

For many commenting on social media last night, there seemed to be a feeling of some glaring omissions of participants who could speak on this genre, who have been in the trenches as soap producers, soap writers, pundits, actors, and more, who were not included in the special.

So, what was your review of The Story of Soaps? How would you grade it? Do you feel it accurately reflected the history of the genre?  Were you happily surprised,  or when it came to the end where you over it, or somewhere in between? Sound off in the comment section below.  Below are some tweets from notables who have worked as an actor, a writer, and a journalist in the soaps.  

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Dallas

DALLAS Online Reunion Coming With Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and More

Time to revisit Southfork during the coronavirus pandemic, with news on Friday that some of the cast from the original CBS primetime soap, Dallas will be participating in an online virtual chat next week!

According to Deadline, confirmed thus far are: Patrick Duffy (Ex-Bobby), Linda Gray (Ex-Sue Ellen), Charlene Tilton (Ex-Lucy) and Steve Kanaly (Ex-Ray).

They will all be part of the conversation on Friday, April 24th beginning at 8 p. m. EST.  The stars are taking part in the Stars in the House livestream series to raise money for The Actors Fund’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

Hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, who have been bantering with cast members of several former and beloved shows, you can watch the virtual chat up on the Stars in the House website and on YouTube.

Since the first Stars in the House episode on March 16, the series has raised approximately $209,600 to benefit The Actors Fund.

So, will you be checking out the Dallas reunion next Friday? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Dallas’ star Ken Kercheval Dead At Age 83

Sad news to report for fans of the iconic primetime soap, Dallas.  Ken Kercheval, who played the thorn in J.R. Ewing’s (Larry Hagman) side, Cliff Barnes, has passed away.   The actor was 83 and died at his home in Indiana on Sunday.   The cause of death is under wraps.  He had been previously open about being a lung cancer survivor after years of smoking.

Kercheval was on Dallas for its entire run on CBS from 1978 to 1991, and returned to the TNT reboot from 2012 to 2014 to reprise his signature role.

On Dallas, Cliff Barnes was always the perennial loser when he went toe to toe with ruthless J.R, but in the final season, Cliff beats J.R at his own game and takes over Ewing Oil.  Cliff was also hopelessly in love with Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) and was the brother to Pam Barnes, played by Victoria Principal.

As for Ken’s first big acting breaks, that came on daytime soap operas when early in his career he appeared on Search for Tomorrow and How to Survive a Marriage.

Later, he appeared on episodic dramas such as Starsky & Hutch, and Crossing Jordan.  His final role was in a movie, 2019’s Surviving in L.A. said to be a comedy/drama in which he plays the business manager of a former teen sitcom star who trashed her life through drug abuse and is fresh out of rehab.

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Share your thoughts on the passing of Ken Kercheval in the comment section below.   But first, watch him as Cliff Barnes in this scene from TNT’s Dallas when he sees J.R. for the first time in years!

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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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