Linda Gray

For other people named Linda Gray, see Linda Gray (disambiguation).
Linda Gray

Gray at The Heart Truth show in 2011
Born Linda Ann Gray
(1940-09-12) September 12, 1940
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, director, producer
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Ed Thrasher (1962–1983) (divorced)
Children Kehly Thrasher-Sloane (b. 1966)
Jeff Thrasher (b. 1964)

Linda Gray (born September 12, 1940[1]) is an American film, stage and television actress, director, producer and former model, best known for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing, the long-suffering wife of Larry Hagman's character on the long-running CBS television drama series Dallas (1978–1989), for which she was nominated for the 1981 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[2] The role also earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations.

Gray began her career in the 1960s in television commercials. In the 1970s, she appeared in numerous TV series before landing the role of Sue Ellen Ewing in 1978. After leaving Dallas in 1989, she appeared opposite Sylvester Stallone in the 1991 film Oscar. From 1994-1995, she played a leading role on the Fox drama series Models Inc.. She has also starred in several TV movies, including Moment of Truth: Why My Daughter? (1993) and Accidental Meeting (1994) and reprised her role of Sue Ellen in Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) and Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998).

On stage, she starred as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate in the West End in 2001, then on Broadway the following year. In 2007, she starred as Aurora Greenaway in the world premiere production of Terms of Endearment at the Theatre Royal, York and also the UK national tour. From 2012 to 2014, Gray again reprised her role of Sue Ellen Ewing in the TNT series Dallas, which continues the original series. After the series was cancelled, Gray returned to stage with the role as Fairy Godmother in the London production of Cinderella.[3][4]

Life and career

Early years

Linda Gray was born in Santa Monica, California.[1] She grew up in Culver City, California, where her father Leslie, who was a watchmaker, had a shop.

Before acting Gray worked as a model in the 1960s and began her acting career in television commercials, nearly 400 of them[5]—and also made brief appearances in feature films, such as Under the Yum Yum Tree and Palm Springs Weekend in 1963.[6] In the 1967 film The Graduate, the legs featured on the movie along with promotional poster were not Anne Bancroft's but Linda Gray's, where "...she was paid $25 for one leg", she said.[7]

Gray began her professional acting career in the 1970s with guest roles on many television series such as Marcus Welby, M.D., McCloud, and Switch, prior to signing with Universal Studios in 1974. She also appeared in the films The Big Rip-Off (1975) and Dogs (1976).[8] In 1977, she was cast as fashion model Linda Murkland, the first transgender series regular on American television,[9] in the television series All That Glitters.[10] The show, a spoof of the soap opera format, was cancelled after just 13 weeks. Gray was then cast as suspicious wife Carla Cord in the 1977 television movie Murder in Peyton Place.


Linda Gray with Larry Hagman in 2009

Gray achieved stardom for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing, J.R.'s long-suffering alcoholic wife, in the CBS drama series Dallas (1978–89, 1991).[6] Initially a recurring guest role for the five-episode first series, Gray became a series regular later in 1978 and remained with the show until 1989. Her character was well received by television critics. The Biography Channel said, "Who could ever forget Dallas with the vodka-swilling Sue Ellen Ewing, replete with shoulder pads long before Dynasty, staggering around Southfork Ranch with a permanently tearful expression as she suffered the brunt of J.R. Ewing’s evil ways?"[11] The Boulevard magazine said, "It may be 2009 and seventeen years since the primetime drama Dallas went off the air, but memories of the Ewing family still linger. Corruption and betrayal, lies, greed, affairs and scandal—all were just part of another day at the Southfork Ranch. At the center of it all was one of our favorite Ewings, the person we couldn't help but root for each week as she drank and slept her way through one ordeal after another. This, of course, was the tortured and (sometimes) villainous Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing, former Texas beauty queen and trophy wife of the womanizing rogue J.R. Ewing, played to perfection by actress Linda Gray."[12] Gray was nominated for two Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance on Dallas.[13] She also received numerous international awards including Germany’s Bambi Award, Italy’s Il Gato and she was named Woman of the Year by the Hollywood Radio & Television Society in 1982.[13][14]

Gray speaking at the 2014 Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo

After Dallas

After Dallas, Gray starred in the 1991 comedy film Oscar with Sylvester Stallone and then made guest appearances in British drama Lovejoy (starring her co-star and love interest from her final season on Dallas, Ian McShane). She also starred in several made-for-TV movies, including 1991's The Entertainers (with Bob Newhart), Bonanza: The Return (1993), Moment of Truth: Why My Daughter (1993), and Accidental Meeting (1994). In 1994, she made several guest appearances on the Fox prime time soap opera Melrose Place, starring as Hillary Michaels, the mother of Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear). She continued the role in the Melrose Place spin-off Models Inc.,[15] where her character Hillary ran a modelling agency, but the show was cancelled after one season. Gray appeared in the Dallas reunion television movies Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) and Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998), but in the following years did not appear in movies or on television.

Gray and Patrick Duffy at the PaleyFest 2013 forum for Dallas

In 2001, Gray portrayed Mrs. Robinson in the West End theatre production of Charles Webb's The Graduate.[16] This brought her full circle, as her legs (not Anne Bancroft's) were the ones in the famous scene in the movie The Graduate where Mrs. Robinson's legs are admired by Dustin Hoffman.[17] She also briefly played the role in the Broadway production, when she filled-in for Kathleen Turner in September 2002. Gray made her theater directing debut with the play Murder in the First, and other acting stage work includes Terms of Endearment, The Vagina Monologues, Agnes of God and Love Letters.[14]

Recent years

Gray returned to television in 2004 as a guest star in five episodes of the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, playing Priscilla Kelly. Gray starred in several independent films, including the award-winning drama Reflections of a Life (2006), where she played the best friend of a woman undergoing treatment for breast cancer; Expecting Mary (2010); The Flight of the Swan (2011); and Hidden Moon (2012).[8] In 2008, Gray appeared in The CW series 90210, which, like Melrose Place and Models Inc. before it, is a spin-off from the original Beverly Hills, 90210. Gray has now appeared in three of the five series in the franchise, though her role in 90210 was not Hillary Michaels, the character she played on Melrose Place (1992) and Models Inc.

In 2012, Gray reprised her role as Sue Ellen Ewing in the TNT drama series Dallas, a continuation of the original series.[18][19] In 2013, she was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian.[20] In April 2013, she came in People magazine's annual Most Beautiful Woman list.[21]

Over Christmas 2014, she performed in pantomime in London, playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.[22] In 2015, she starred in the Hallmark Channel film A Perfect Wedding, and was cast as grandmother in The CW summer comedy series, Significant Mother.[23] She also appeared as Joanna Winterthorne in the soap opera web series Winterthorne.[24][25][26]

On 17 August 2016, it was announced that Gray would join the cast of the British Channel 4 soap opera, Hollyoaks, as Tabitha Maxwell-Brown, the mother of recently established character Marnie Nightingale, played by Lysette Anthony respectively. Gray made her first appearance as Tabitha on 15 November 2016, and departed on 22 November 2016.

Personal life

Gray was married for 21 years to Ed Thrasher, an art director and photographer who designed many iconic album covers throughout the 1960s and 1970s.[27] The marriage resulted in two children: Jeff Thrasher and Kehly Sloane.[1] Gray also has two grandsons, Ryder and Jack Sloane. Her younger sister, Betty, died in 1989 from breast cancer. Gray was also the aunt (by marriage) of actress Lindsay Wagner, best known as The Bionic Woman. She resides in Los Angeles, California.[28]

Gray was visiting Larry Hagman in the hospital during his last days before he died on November 23, 2012. Prior to his death, Gray released a statement: "Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years. He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew". She also added, "he was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest. The world was a brighter place because of Larry."[29]



Year Title Role Notes
1963 Palm Springs Weekend Girl at Pool with Yellow Swimsuit Uncredited
1967 The Graduate Cover poster leg model Uncredited
1975 The Big Rip-Off Television film
1976 Dogs Miss Engle
1977 Murder in Peyton Place Carla Cord Television film
1978 The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank Leslie Corliss Television film
1979 The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan Elizabeth Harrington Television film
1980 Haywire Nan Television film
1980 The Wild and the Free Linda Television film
1982 Not in Front of the Children Nancy Carruthers Television film
1987 Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night Voice
1987 The Gambler III: The Legend Continues Mary Collins Television film
1991 The Entertainers Laura
1991 Oscar Roxanne
1992 Highway Heartbreaker Catherine Television film
1993 Moment of Truth: Why My Daughter? Gayle Moffitt Television film
1993 Bonanza: The Return Abigail 'Laredo' Stimmons Television film
1994 To My Daughter with Love Eleanor Monroe Television film
1994 Accidental Meeting Jennifer Parris Television film
1994 Moment of Truth: Broken Pledges Eileen Stevens Television film
1996 Dallas: J.R. Returns Sue Ellen Ewing Television film
1997 When the Cradle Falls Helen Sawyer Television film
1998 Dallas: War of the Ewings Sue Ellen Ewing Television film
1998 Star of Jaipur Linda Trask
2005 McBride: It's Murder, Madam Victoria Sawyer Television film
2006 Reflections of a Life Linda
2010 Expecting Mary Darnella
2011 The Flight of the Swan Alexi's mother
2012 Hidden Moon Eva Brighton
2015 A Perfect Wedding Gabby
2015 Wally's Will Wally


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. Patsy Grey Episode: "The Resident"
1976 McCloud Cindy Yates/Kate O'Hannah Episodes: "Our Man in the Harem" and "Twas the Fight Before Christmas..."
1977 Switch Alison Episode: "Camera Angles"
1977 All That Glitters Linda Murkland Series regular, 65 episodes
1977 Big Hawaii Annie Quinlan Episode: "Pipeline"
1976–1978 Emergency! Evelyn Davis/Judy Episodes: "That Time of Year" and "The Steel Inferno"
1978–1989, 1991 Dallas Sue Ellen Ewing Series regular, 308 episodes
1991 Lovejoy Cassandra Lynch Episodes: "Riding in Rollers" and "The Black Virgin of Vladimir"
1994 Melrose Place Hillary Michaels Special guest star, 4 episodes
1994 Mighty Max Kali (voice) Episode: "Good Golly Ms. Kali"
1994–1995 Models Inc. Hillary Michaels Series regular, 29 episodes
1996 Touched by an Angel Marian Campbell Episode: "The Portrait of Mrs. Campbell"
2004–2005 The Bold and the Beautiful Priscilla Kelly Special guest star, 5 episodes
2006 Pepper Dennis Barbara Meryl Episode: "Heiress Bridenapped: Film at Eleven"
2008 90210 Victoria Brewer Episode: "The Jet Set"
2012–2014 Dallas Sue Ellen Ewing Series regular, 40 episodes
2015 Significant Mother Gammy Episode: "Suffering & Succotash"
2015 Winterthorne Joanna Winterthorne 4 episodes
2016 Hollyoaks Tabitha Maxwell-Brown Guest appearance; 3 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1981 Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama Dallas Nominated
Emmy Award Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Il Gato Best Actress on Television Won
1982 Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Bambi Award Best Actress on international series Won
1983 Hollywood Radio & Television Society Woman of the Year Won
1986 Soap Opera Digest Award Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role on a Prime Time Serial Nominated
Soap Opera Digest Award Favorite Super Couple on a Prime Time Serial Nominated
1986 Soap Opera Digest Award Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role: Prime Time Nominated
Soap Opera Digest Award Favorite Super Couple on a Prime Time Serial Nominated
2006 TV Land Award Pop Culture Award Won
2014 USA Film Festival Award[30] Special Award Won


  1. 1 2 3 Linda Gray Biography (1940–), film reference, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  2. Moir, Jan (July 10, 2006). "I was the very first desperate housewife". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  3. ""Dallas" Star Linda Gray Set for Cinderella at London's New Wimbledon Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  4. Neil Cheesman. "DALLAS sensation LINDA GRAY to star in CINDERELLA". London Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  5. Linda Gray on AllMovie Linda Gray, AllMovie, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  6. 1 2 Linda Gray- Biography, Yahoo!, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  7. I was the leg in The Graduate poster! Actress Linda Gray reveals how she stood in for Anne Bancroft in shoot for 1967 movie, retrieved 29 January 2013.
  8. 1 2 Filmography by type for Linda Gray, Internet Movie Database, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  9. Stein, p. 177
  10. Clarke, Gerald (1977-04-25). "Eve's Rib and Adam's Yawn". TIME. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  11. "Linda Gray- Biography on Gray". United States: The Biography Channel. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  12. "Linda Gray: An Accomplished Actress with Knockout Star Power". Ruth Bashinsky. United States: The Boulevard Magazine. March 2009. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  13. 1 2 Awards for Linda Gray, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  14. 1 2 Linda Gray official website – Biography, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  15. "'Models Inc.': Perfect for SGTV : SG Stands for Superb Garbage, Raised Here to an Art Form". The Los Angeles Times. July 6, 1994. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  16. The Graduate's London term ends, BBC News, 18 January 2002, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  17. Playbill, 20 September 2001, Retrieved August 18, 2012
  18. Red hot at 70! Linda Gray sizzles on catwalk as she prepares to return to the small screen in Dallas remake,, 11 February 2011, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  19. Joyce Eng, TNT Orders Dallas Reboot to Series, Will Offer Sneak Peek Next Week, TV Guide, Jul 8, 2011, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  20. Cartner-Morley, Jess; Mirren, Helen; Huffington, Arianna; Amos, Valerie (March 28, 2013). "The 50 best-dressed over 50s". The Guardian. London.
  21. "People Magazine Names Gwyneth Paltrow Most Beautiful Woman". ABC News. Apr 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  23. "Linda Gray to Guest Star in CW's 'Significant Mother' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. June 8, 2015.
  24. "Watch The Winterthorne First Trailer … Where Candy and Drama Come Together!". Michael Fairman On-Air On-Soaps. May 22, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  25. Mulcahy, Jr., Kevin (August 27, 2015). "Watch the Premiere of Michael Caruso's Winterthorne". We Love Soaps. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  26. Kerr, Luke (May 22, 2015). "Winterthorne Debuts Epic First Trailer". Daytime Confidential. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  27. David Wallace (March 21, 1983). "She's Back with J.r., but Linda Gray's 20-Year Marriage Takes a Bath". People. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  28. Linda Gray- Biography, Sky Digital, Retrieved March 31, 2012
  29. Kirby, Iona (November 25, 2012). "'The world was a brighter place because of Larry Hagman': Linda Gray pays tribute to her late 'best friend' and Dallas co-star". Daily Mail. London.
  30. "USA Film Festival lineup includes visits from Ed Harris, Linda Gray, John Turturro | Dallas Morning News". Retrieved 2014-04-10.
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