Stars of 'Dallas' reminisce about success, friendship and reunions on show's 40th anniversary

PHOTO: ABC News Paula Faris with a few of the original stars of "Dallas."PlayABC News
WATCH Original cast members of beloved 'Dallas' TV show reunite

It has been 40 years since "Dallas" first aired and some of the original cast members met up to celebrate the milestone, reminisce about the show's success and discuss a possible third reboot.

"Good Morning America's" Paula Faris sat down with Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Charlene Tilton and Steve Kanaly to talk about their days on Southfork Ranch and what life has been like since the show's inception.

PHOTO: ABC News Paula Faris with a few of the original stars of Dallas.ABC News
ABC News' Paula Faris with a few of the original stars of "Dallas."

"Dallas" was originally intended to be a five-episode miniseries. The show became an overwhelming hit, which the cast attributed to their natural chemistry.

"The chemistry that we have off-camera really came through and people could see it," Tilton said. "It wasn't fake. It was real."

Duffy said his wife used to call him out for arriving on set ahead of his call time, admitting that he "wanted to get there and play. I wanted to be with my friends."

PHOTO: Larry Hagman (left) (as JR Ewing), Linda Gray (as Sue Ellen Ewing), Patrick Duffy (as Bobby Ewing), and Charlene Tilton (as Lucy Ewing) listen in an unidentified episode of the television series Dallas, 1979. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Larry Hagman (left) (as JR Ewing), Linda Gray (as Sue Ellen Ewing), Patrick Duffy (as Bobby Ewing), and Charlene Tilton (as Lucy Ewing) listen in an unidentified episode of the television series 'Dallas,' 1979.

Gray said former co-star Larry Hagman used to "hate it" when she told people how "wonderful he was and how lovely and generous and kind."

"He would not be very happy. He'd reprimand me. He'd say, 'You're supposed to not like me. You can't tell me how nice I am,'" the actress said. "It was so funny. We never stopped laughing. And then we played these dreadful, dysfunctional people on camera."

The cast all agreed that Hagman, who died at 81 in 2012, was "one of the best actors ever."

But Gray said he was also "a bad boy sometimes" and that "he would eat onions" or peanut butter before filming their kissing scenes.

"I had to kind of, like, think, 'OK, what is it gonna be today?'" she remembered.

Kanaly had fond memories of Hagman off-screen too. "I live where I can see where his house is. We were neighbors. So I think of him every day," he said.

PHOTO: Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman pictured in an unidentified episode of CBS TV show, Dallas in 1979.CBS/IMDB
Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman pictured in an unidentified episode of CBS TV show, 'Dallas' in 1979.

Added Duffy, "I don't miss him because I'm so full of him. He was my best friend. And I can't think of him without smiling."

The show was known for tackling taboo topics such as rape, cancer and alcoholism.

"When Barbara Bel Geddes had the mastectomy, it was the first time a mastectomy had been really treated with great respect and honor," Gray said.

She also said that fans of the show still reach out to her about her character's battle with alcoholism. "I still get letters and things from people who went to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) because of they saw their lives and how it could become," she said.

"Dallas" also broke traditional barriers by featuring a gay character in multiple episodes.

"Lucy was engaged to a young gentleman who had to come out and admit that he was gay," Tilton said. "And I got to stand up to J.R. and cry in Bobby's arms ... they wrote that so beautifully."

"We had to use the word 'homosexual,'" Tilton added. "You couldn't even say the word 'gay.'"

The tale of the feuding families turned out to be somewhat ironic when their on-screen dysfunction actually brought families together every Friday night.

Kanaly said that families "had to stay home if they wanted to watch it" due to the fact that people didn't own VCRs at that time.

"It was a family gathering," Duffy added. "They would form their evening on Friday nights around dinner at this time, then everybody shuts up and you turn on the TV and you sit on the couch. And we now hear those stories from the children that were on the couch, that trigger memories in their mind of that nice moment that they had with their family."

PHOTO: Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy in the CBS TV show, Dallas in 1978.CBS/IMDB
Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy in the CBS TV show, 'Dallas' in 1978.

But after Duffy left the show in 1985 and returned a year later in a major plot twist, some fans tuned out.

"It cost audience. It cost about a 10 percent hit," Kanlay said. "A lot of people didn't like it."

"Yeah. They felt cheated," Duffy added. "And we got five more years out of it."

But after 14 seasons, 357 episodes, two reunion movies and a reboot on TNT, the cast said they would still consider taking on their characters again.

"Who knows? Never say never," Gray and Duffy both said.

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