Linda Gray Saves the Day


COWGIRL met up with the iconic actress for a photo shoot in Ojai, Calif., where the star shared her take on Dallas (the second time around), the fine art of aging in Hollywood and how she stays so beautiful!

CG: How has your life experience changed your perspective on what’s important?
LG: It’s made me more compassionate. I realize that we all are on this planet doing the best we can and so I’m trying not to be at all judgmental. Friends and family are important and those friendships need to be nurtured and appreciated. Life is to be appreciated and never taken for granted.

CG: What has it been like to resume DALLAS again after 20 years? Is returning to the series the way you expected it to be?
LG:It is a total gift. We never expected DALLAS to come back after so long off the air. When we were invited back; read the script and talked to each other (Larry, Patrick Duffy and myself) we were thrilled and excited about the possibilities of working together again (and playing together, of course). We love the new cast who are wonderful talented actors and delightful human beings. It’s been a seamless transition. Patrick calls this “Year 16.” It honestly feels like we ended one show and this new one began without a 20 year hiatus.

CG: What is life like, both on and off the set without Larry? Life with Larry Hagman in it was a constant party!
LG: He was the most loving, generous, caring friend anyone could ask to have. As an actor he was spectacular and to work with him was a magical experience. You always pray that there is chemistry between the actors you work with. Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t. It was a creative joy every time we stepped before the camera. Now that he is no longer with us, I still feel his presence on the set. A lovely ritual that he used to do each day at sunset was to raise a glass of champagne, say “Gong Bong” (we have no idea what that means) and say “goodbye to the day.” I continue that ritual to this day. It’s a fun way to let him know that we miss him and know that he may be smiling somewhere knowing that we are continuing his ritual.

“I don’t mind the aging process. I’ve laughed a lot, hence the laugh lines. I’ve experienced loss, sadness, disappointment, frustration, joy, bliss…all that goes into the making of your face. I think we all fall into the trap of wanting to look twenty. We put too much focus on the little lines that show up.”

CG: You radiate serenity, grace and beauty. How do you deal with the attitude of Hollywood with respect to mature women in the business?
LG: Hollywood is all about youth. That’s OK… We are a young country. In Europe they honor and revere women of all ages (they are an older country). I feel that it’s gradually opening up. Not rapidly but eventually there (hopefully) will be better parts for mature women. I think rather than saying “Bah humbug” to the fact that there are fewer parts for older women we could concentrate on finding writers and scripts with interesting stories that include mature women. Women now have to be more creative in finding alternate roles perhaps in theater.

CG: What are your feelings/thoughts on your own aging?
LG: I don’t mind the aging process. No one likes to look old when you feel 18 inside. I think that’s the problem. My mother at 88 looked in the mirror when I was putting makeup on her sweet face and said, “Who is that old woman in the mirror?” I asked her how old she felt and her answer was “17.” Precious! I’ve laughed a lot (hence the laugh lines) I’ve experienced loss, sadness, disappointment, frustration, joy, bliss…that all goes into the making of YOUR face. I think we all fall into the trap of wanting to look “20.” That is a lovely thought but honestly not realistic. I feel that we put too much focus on the little lines that show up. I try to focus on other things rather that the surface. Do things! Anything! Walk, go to museums, spend a day with kids, volunteer at the local elderly home, deliver Meals on Wheels…the emphasis will quickly turn around. Do what you can with your skincare routine but do it consistently! Never go to bed with your make up on.

CG: What keeps you so radiant and vital, and drop-dead gorgeous?
LG: Bless you! There are no secrets. I think it’s energy! I walk a lot. We need to keep moving. I eat a very healthy diet; drink a lot of water, smile a lot! Surround yourself with creative, loving energetic people.

CG: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 25-year-old self if you could?
LG: Hang in there girlfriend and be grateful for everyday you have.

CG: What do you do for fun and enjoyment, just for yourself?
LG: I don’t mind being alone (never lonely). I love to read, take care of my vegetable garden, hang out with my two grandsons.

CG: What do you like about COWGIRL magazine?
LG: I LOVE COWGIRL magazine. There are so many interesting articles in it. I love that they have a diverse amount of information in every issue. Sometimes it’s about a horse being healed; places to travel to, gorgeous homes/interiors, lifestyles and of course…beauty and fashion. COWGIRL keeps up with the current styles which I love. They are creative which makes it fun to look at your home and be inspired to add a wonderful touch that you see featured or to browse your closet to make that fringe skirt look modern with a few added touches.

CG: What did you enjoy most about the COWGIRL photo shoot?
LG: So many things. I loved being in Ojai at Ayn Cates Sullivan and John Patrick’s gorgeous ranch. We arrived early to experience the fresh air and the ranch smells that I love. The entire crew working together to make this such an amazing shoot. I loved Ken the photographer who works with his team to create magical lighting–and a light and friendly environment, which always makes for a creative shoot. The first set up was with a very well behaved horse named Tima who was a perfect partner…except she kept getting in my light! Callan and Deborah were so much fun and professional. They paid attention to every single detail and did it flawlessly. I brought some of my own jewelry and the three of us (plus my make up man Edgar) played with the eclectic pieces that I brought to the shoot. We basically played dress up!

CG: What might our readers be surprised to know about you?
LG: That I live in the country… outside of Hollywood. I’ve lived in the same home for 35 years where we used to have Quarter Horses, chickens, a pig, dogs, cats, an organic vegetable garden and a Koi pond.

All photos by Ken Amorosano
Hair & Make Up: Edgar Santos
Styling: Callan Loessberg
Photographed on location at the ranch of Ayn Cates Sullivan and John Patrick in Ojai, Calif.

FIRST OUTFIT: Linda is wearing a blouse by Tasha Polizzi, hat by Charlie 1 Horse Hats from Back at the Ranch in Santa Ynez, CA, vintage squash blossom necklace and turquoise chandelier earrings from Peregrine Galleries in Montecito, CA. Belt and jeans, Linda’s own. Horse courtesy of Ayn Cates Sullivan of Ojai, California. SECOND OUTFIT: Coat by Double D Ranchwear, One of a kind coral and coin necklace by Nienke Sjaardema, two-stone turquoise ring from Peregrine Galleries, Montecito, California. Jeans and boots, Linda’s own.

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