Dallas Vet Linda Gray Revisits '80s Hairtastrophe: 'I Thought Producers Were Going to Lynch Me'

Linda Gray DallasNearly two decades before Keri Russell turned an innocent haircut into one of television’s most infamous cautionary tales, Linda Gray was rocked by her own coiffure catrastrophe on Dallas.

The actress, who reprises her signature role as Sue Ellen Ewing on TNT’s Dallas update later this month, vividly remembers the firestorm that erupted when she showed up for work at the start of Season 6 in 1982 with her famous flowing locks chopped off.

“I thought the producers were going to lynch me,” she recalls to TVLine. “I didn’t know back then that I had to ask permission! I was like, ‘Oh dear, I guess I should have asked somebody.’ They were not happy with me.”

But as Gray explains, her tresses were trimmed out of necessity not vanity. “We [spent so much time] outside at that damn Southfork breakfast table and the wind would whip up during my close-ups and my hair would fly into my lipgloss and get stuck,” she says. “And the [director] would go, ‘Cut!’ So I was always brushing it out of my face. It was always a nightmare. It was unbearable. So I went to Jose Eber and I said, ‘Cut it off!’ And he did.”

Gray’s ‘do is back to its original length in the Dallas reboot (premiering June 13), one of the only characteristics new Sue Ellen shares with the old. J.R.’s long-suffering alcoholic wife is now a big-shot politician who gets drunk on power instead of booze. Of course, she’s just one sip away from a relapse, right?

“She’s been there, done that,” Gray insists of Sue Ellen’s unhealthy relationship with the bottle. “A lot of women in the ’80s didn’t communicate as well as they do now; they didn’t embrace their power. If they were in a dysfunctional marriage like Sue Ellen was, they stayed. Times have changed though. It’s now acceptable to tackle your demons, wrestle them to the ground, and change your life. So I don’t feel that she would be drinking again. She probably went to AA and got her stuff together.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Chris says:

    I prefer the longer hair, but she had good reasons for wanting the shorter cut back then. Glad Sue Ellen will be part of the new Dallas. I’m watching for the veterans, not the newbies.

    • Lorie says:

      Ditto! I grew up watching Dallas, so I’m also watching for the veterans. Time will tell if the newbies will grow on me.

  2. EveatEden says:

    CANNOT wait for Dallas to be back on the air. I just hope they do a much better job with it than the 90210 and Melrose Place reboots. I think they will since they say they are using the veterans as much as the new people whereas 90201 and MP just used them to try to draw the old fans in and then didn’t do much with them. Here’s hoping anyways, I grew up on this show!

  3. ninamags says:

    Can’t wait for the reboot to start.

    Totally off-topic, but I wonder about Jared Padalecki’s hair and if they (the network) actually do forbid him to cut it even though most would probably be glad for the shorter hair and sideburns :P

    • Actually yes, he’s forbidden to cut it. Jared, I mean. TPTB wants Sam and Dean to have different styles, at least in something.

      • Lauren says:

        They could have different styles without having his hair that long! It looks hideous. Season one was fine, but as the series has gone on it’s gotten ridiculous. He is so much more attractive with the shorter hair.

  4. wooster182 says:

    Love Linda. Love Sue Ellen. Can’t wait to see the old gang again!

  5. kim says:

    wish thy had a few blacks on the sow.. but i’m soooo excited for its return…..

  6. Shaun says:

    Man,that Felicity bomb really seemed to suck the air out of the show though.It just went downhill that season.

  7. TheBeach says:

    I spent a long weekend with the entire original “Dallas” cast and Linda Gray was the nicest of the bunch….a real class act.

    • pamewing says:

      victoria princiapal’s pamela is coming back? or am an idiot and the character or the actress is no longer alive?