The series Dallas, which aired from 1978 to 1991 on CBS, remains until this day a true TV classic. It revolved around the dramatic life of the Ewing family, and the numerous events involving back-stabbing, lust and greed.
Although it was a huge hit, it is one particular episode that gathered the attention of millions of viewers. Who Shot JR.? had been watched by 80 million Americans. Even today, this episode ranks as the second-highest. Worldwide, those numbers were even higher. It was reported back in the day that over 300 million people across 57 countries outside of the U.S. watched the show.
The truth is that Dallas wouldn’t be what it is had not been for the incredible actors. Among them, the man behind the role of Bobby Ewing, the youngest son of Miss Ellie, and the nicest brother of J.R. Ewing, actor Patrick Duffy.
Duffy was born March 17, 1949 in Townsend, Montana, to parents who owned a bar.
Growing up, Duffy showed aspirations for architecture, but it was his drama teacher who convinced him to do acting for a living. The great thing is that he took her advice and that’s when his life changed completely. “She wrote a letter of recommendation, and I got into a special program. From that moment on, I considered myself an actor.”
Getting accepted at the University of Washington to study drama was a huge deal because out of 1200 people who auditioned in order to get enrolled in the second year, only 12 got accepted, and Duffy, of course, was one of them.
At the start of his acting career, he worked as an Artist-in-Residence and performed with opera and ballet companies. This position didn’t bring him much fame, but it led to an encounter with the love of his life, ballet dancer Carlyn Rosser.
At the time they first met, she was already married, but the affection they felt for one another was so deep and genuine that she decided to file for a divorce.
“In short order, I fell in love with the art form and with her,” Duffy told Independent.
“She had the hardest job. She had to tell her husband. And they were happily married. It wasn’t, you know, a bad relationship. He was a good man, and he is a good man.”
“He was betrayed by her, and it was amicable in the sense that he let her go, but he was hurt,” he added. “It breaks my heart to think about it. It doesn’t break my heart enough to think that I would do anything differently.”
They married in 1974 and welcomed two sons.
Duffy’s role in Dallas came just as the sci-fi series in which he acted, Man from Atlantis, came to an end. According to the actor himself, he was just being handed the script and was told he had the role if he wanted it.
In the series, Duffy starred alongside Pamela Barnes, played by Victoria Principal, his on-screen wife.
The two were supposed to film intimate scenes, and that affected Duffy’s wife. He noticed she became emotional as she watched the show.
“And I look over, and my wife’s welling up in tears. I said: ‘Sweetheart, what’s the matter?” Duffy recalled in an interview with Independent.
“You’ve seen me do these scenes with Victoria before.’ And she said: ‘I just saw a look on your face I thought you only had with me.’ It broke my heart. I was probably thinking: ‘What’s for lunch?’”
After eight seasons, his character on the show was killed. The reason why is that his contract expired and he wanted to pursue other projects.
“I left because I had done the show for seven years. My contract was for seven years. It was obviously an ensemble show, and I thought if it was ever a time at the height of the popularity of that show, that I might be able to launch into something that was more of a single, starring venue, that that would be the time to do it,” Duffy told Huffington Post.
“I left the show, and that did not happen — typical Patrick Duffy business decision fiasco. I went back on the show because they asked me to, and I realized that was the best place to work, and I was back with my best friend.”