Linda Gray became a household name through her portrayal of Sue Ellen Ewing on the hit soap Dallas.
She stayed on the show for more than 300 episodes, but as much as she enjoyed a successful career, Gray also struggled with many things on a personal level.
This is the story of Linda Gray, who’s still going strong today, at 82 years of age.
Throughout the history of television and film, we’ve seen actors and actresses deliver amazing performances any number of times. I don’t know about you, but in those truly stellar performances, it feels like the actors themselves were pretty much made for the parts, and that no one else could play them to the same degree.
For example, could you even imagine Little House on the Prairie‘s frontman Charles Ingalls being played by anyone other than Michael Landon? Or would Mary Poppins have been as good if someone other than Dick Van Dyke starred as Bert?
There are so many examples of exactly these kinds of parts, but let’s talk about one more. Personally, I can’t even imagine watching the iconic hit television series Dallas without Linda Gray starring as Sue Ellen Ewing. I speak for many when I say we are grateful that she got the part.
Linda Gray’s life has been very special; one could go so far as to describe it as a roller coaster. Gray has battled life-threatening illness, addiction and also struggled through a less-than-satisfying marriage.
However, though she’s certainly been through tough times, she’s always come out the other side stronger, determined to make the most out of her life and have a long and successful career.
On Dallas, Gray starred alongside Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy. Now, she reveals her feelings about acting alongside Hagman, and the secrets behind their great chemistry on set.
Linda Gray was born September 12, 1940, in Santa Monica, California.
As a young child, Gray faced a big challenge when she was diagnosed with polio.
Her grandfather had already been diagnosed with the virus, and her parents were left devastated. For Linda herself, though, it wasn’t a big deal.
“They didn’t know what it was when he was 17, and he was always in a wheelchair,” she recalled. “When I was diagnosed, everyone went crazy in my family, but I wasn’t. I thought I could have a wheelchair like Grandpa.”
Gray grew up in Culver City, California, where her father had a watchmaker shop. As a young child, performing was in her blood. She performed on the streets of her neighborhood. When attending Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles, Linda starred as Cinderella in the production of Cinderella.
Her father provided the stability she and her sister Betty needed.
“He didn’t offer emotional support though,” Linda Gray wrote in her 2015 book The Road to Happiness Is Always Under Construction. “He was just kind of there, like a piece of furniture, but then this was a different time.
“You didn’t go to Dad with boyfriend problems. God forbid. But he was supportive of my career.”
Their mother, Marge, a former artist and ballerina, was the opposite.
Marge was a heavy drinker and before long the two young sisters had to take control of their home.
“She wasn’t falling down drunk, there was never any yelling,” Linda wrote. “She wasn’t mean – she was just blurred, in her own world, she would forget to buy food so I started doing the cooking. My sister and I didn’t like her.”