In Memoriam: Our 2016 ‘Dallas’ Tributes

Barry Jenner, Dallas, George Kennedy, Jim Gough, Maj Hagman

Dallas Decoder remembers the “Dallas” actors, crew members and other contributors who died in 2016. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at


Anthony Addabbo, Dallas, Jeff Peters

Anthony Addabbo

Anthony Addabbo

Died October 18 (age 56)

In the 14th-season episode “Smooth Operator,” Addabbo played John, a Hollywood wannabe who pitched Bobby on a TV series that sounded suspiciously like “Twin Peaks.” Eight episodes later, in the series finale “Conundrum,” Addabbo appeared as Sue Ellen’s slimy Hollywood agent, Jeff Peters.


Dallas, Janine, Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Died October 11 (age 93)

Barry made guest appearances on many episodic series from the 1950s through the early 2000s. In the 14th-season “Dallas” episode “Lock, Stock and Jock,” she played Janine, a married woman who refused to provide Carter McKay with an alibi after his arrest for Johnny Dancer’s murder.


Dallas, Peter Brown, Tom Flintoff

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Died March 21 (age 80)

In the fifth-season episode “Denial,” Brown, a veteran of the 1960s western “Laredo,” played Tom Flintoff, the creep who tried to force himself on Sue Ellen shortly after her divorce from J.R. Brown’s nephew, Phillip Brown, played architect Brian Johnston on “Knots Landing.”


Dallas, Dr. McWright, Paul Comi,

Paul Comi

Paul Comi

Died August 26 (age 84)

Comi played Dr. McWright, the pediatrician who examined baby Christopher in “Waterloo at Southfork.” Comi logged many other TV guest shots during his 50-year career, including three episodes of “Knots Landing” and a memorable turn in the “Star Trek” classic “Balance of Terror.”


Dallas, Lydia, Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Died June 14 (age 83)

Edwards, who is best known for her role as Corabeth on “The Waltons,” appeared in the eighth-season “Dallas” episode “Barbecue Five” as Lydia, the tarot card reader that Pam consults during her search for Mark. Edwards also did guest spots on “Falcon Crest” and “Dynasty,” among many other shows.


Knots Landing, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Died December 18 (age 99)

Gabor played herself in “Svengali,” a 1982 “Knots Landing” episode in which Valene appears on Mike Douglas’s TV talk show to promote “Capricorn Crude,” her fictionalized book about the Ewings. In real life, Gabor and Larry Hagman once appeared together on a 1979 episode of “The Mike Douglas Show.”


Congressman Oates, Dallas, Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Died June 7 (age 85)

Gough appeared on “Dallas” as Senator Lee in “Barbecue” (Season 1), Congressman Oates in “Runaway” (Season 2) and the rodeo announcer in “Close Encounters” (Season 9). His other notable credits include a role in the film “JFK” and a guest spot on the Leonard Katzman-produced “Walker Texas Ranger.”


Dallas, Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Died August 31 (age 65)

Gunter served as “Dallas’s” cinematographer during most of the original show’s final three seasons. He later served as director of photography for several other series, including “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Charmed” and “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2011.


Dallas, Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Died May 31 (age 88)

Hagman was married to Larry Hagman from 1954 until his death in 2012. Their daughter Kristina appeared in several episodes on the original “Dallas” and this year wrote a book, “The Eternal Party,” about her family, including her mother’s talent as a fashion designer, hostess extraordinaire and devoted spouse.


Dallas, John Hostetter, Paul Derber

John Hostetter

John Hostetter

Died September 2 (age 69)

Hostetter appeared in the 11th-season episode “Lovers and Other Liars” as Paul Derber, a poker buddy of Nicholas Pearce. He also did two guest spots as police offers on “Knots Landing,” was a semi-regular on “Murphy Brown” and voiced Bazooka on the 1980s “G.I. Joe” animated series.


Barry Jenner, Dallas, Dr. Jerry Kenderson

Barry Jenner

Barry Jenner

Died August 9 (age 75)

From 1984 through 1986, Jenner appeared on “Dallas” as Dr. Jerry Kenderson, Mark Graison’s physician and a Sue Ellen’s suitor. He also appeared in four “Knots Landing” entries as Jeff Cunningham, Abby’s ex-husband, and he was a semi-regular on “Family Matters” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” among many other roles.


Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

George Kennedy

George Kennedy

Died February 28 (age 91)

Kennedy, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke,” played villainous oil baron and Southfork neighbor Carter McKay during “Dallas’s” 12th, 13th and 14th seasons and two reunion movies, “J.R. Returns” and “War of the Ewings.” Dallas Decoder published a tribute to him in March.


Archie Lang, Dallas

Archie Lang

Archie Lang

Died February 17 (age 95)

Lang played a banking associate of Franklin Horner in the fifth-season episode “The Big Shut Down,” then returned for a five-episode stint in the 13th season as Senator Lee, a member of the panel that investigated the Ewing Oil tanker accident. Lang’s other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “The Waltons.”


Dallas, Leslie H. Hartinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Died September 3 (age 101)

Martinson directed four episodes during “Dallas’s” early years: the classic “Julie’s Return” and the campier “Call Girl,” “The Heiress” and “Power Play.” He also helmed episodes of many other series, including “Maverick,” “Batman,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Eight is Enough,” “Wonder Woman” and “Small Wonder.”


James Sheldon, Knots Landing

James Sheldon

James Sheldon

Died March 12 (age 95)

Sheldon directed two episodes of “Knots Landing,” including the second installment, “Community Spirit,” which featured Larry Hagman. His many other directing credits include “Echoes of Love,” a “Family” episode written by David Jacobs, and episodes of “M*A*S*H” and the Katzman-produced “Petrocelli.”


Agnes, Barbara Tarbuck, Dallas

Barbara Tarbuck

Barbara Tarbuck

Died December 27 (age 74)

Tarbuck played Agnes, Cliff’s secretary at the Office of Land Management, in three episodes during the 1978-79 season. Her many other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “Dynasty” and recurring roles on “Falcon Crest,” “General Hospital” and “American Horror Story: Asylum.”


What do you remember about these individuals? Share your memories below and read our tributes from 20152014 and 2013.

The Best & Worst of Dallas: Season 3

“Dallas’s” third season offers lots to celebrate – and a few things to curse.


Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Can’t touch this

Larry Hagman and Linda Gray do mighty impressive work in Season 3, but even they can’t touch Jim Davis and Barbara Bel Geddes. Since I began re-watching “Dallas,” the nicest discovery has been how good Davis is as Jock, especially in third-season episodes like “The Dove Hunt,” when he stares down rifle-wielding Tom Owens, and “Return Engagements,” when the humbled Ewing patriarch is a surprise guest at Gary and Valene’s wedding.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing

This either

Meanwhile, Bel Geddes brings her trademark quiet strength to “Ellie Saves the Day” and “Return Engagements,” but the actress also shows us her character’s vulnerable side in “Mastectomy, Part 1” and “Mastectomy, Part 2,” the episodes that won Bel Geddes an Emmy. She earned the award, but I can’t help but think how much sweeter her victory would have been if the equally deserving Davis had been honored too.


Choosing the season’s best narrative is tough – Sue Ellen’s struggle with motherhood and Ray and Donna’s tortured love story are each strong contenders – but J.R.’s risky Asian oil deal gets my vote for most compelling plot. This storyline isn’t about exploring J.R.’s business acumen as much as it is about delving into his psyche: By revealing how far the character is willing to go to build Ewing Oil (he mortgages Southfork!), the show lets us know J.R. is every bit as compulsive as Sue Ellen. She may be powerless over booze, but he’s addicted to his own ambition.

Least favorite storyline: Lucy becomes engaged to Alan Beam to spite J.R. Really, “Dallas”?


Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy

Save them, Mama

Choosing the third year’s finest hour is tough. A strong case can be made for “A House Divided,” the finale that famously ends with J.R. getting shot (for the second time this season, after he’s ambushed in “The Dove Hunt”). But my ultimate choice is “Ellie Saves the Day,” the poignant hour that brings the Ewing empire to the brink of collapse. If you want to understand why Bobby fought so hard to protect his mama’s legacy on TNT’s “Dallas,” watch this episode.

Worst third-season entry: “Power Play.” Lucy romances Alan at a roller disco, Kristin captures their canoodling with some artfully framed Polaroid snapshots and Jock starts jive talking. “You dig?” he asks Lucy at one point. Um, no big guy. We don’t.


Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby


So many choices: I love when Patricia Shepard predicts John Ross’s future in “The Silent Killer,” the pep talk Bobby offers a worried Jock in “Ellie Saves the Day” and the “Paternity Suit” sequence where J.R. picks up his infant son for the first time. There’s also Miss Ellie’s encounter with phony-baloney Marilee Stone and Linda Bradley (also from “Paternity Suit”), as well as the lovely beach scene where Gary and Val make amends with Lucy, which occurred on “Knots Landing” but is too good to not mention here.

Ultimately, my favorite scene is the “Mother of the Year” sequence that mimics the rhythms of an oil strike. J.R. sits in his office, staring at his telephone, depressed because he hasn’t hit a gusher in Asia. Then the phones begin ringing as news of his big strike trickles in, leading to J.R.’s joyful eruption (“Yee-ha! We hit!”). Brilliant.

The season’s most ridiculous moment: when Kristin “accidentally” pours her drink into her sister’s lap during their “Divorce, Ewing Style” lunch date. Sue Ellen, how did you not know you were being set up?

Supporting Players

Dallas, Donna Culver, Susan Howard

The best, fur sure

Susan Howard, who was still a guest star during “Dallas’s” third season, is the best supporting player, hands down. This is the year Donna is torn between honoring the memory of her dead husband and beginning a new life with Ray – and the actress does a beautiful job conveying her character’s torment. Besides Patrick Duffy, no one delivers breathy, soul-searching dialogue better than Howard.


Forget about the metaphorical value associated with the jeans the rebellious Sue Ellen wears in “Rodeo” and focus on how good Linda Gray looks in them. Get it, girl!

The green spandex pants Kristin wears in the same episode might be the season’s most dated costume, but I’ll confess: I kind of love it.


I also love, love, love John Parker’s “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” which is heard at the end of “Rodeo,” when Ray finally calls Donna after ignoring her letters. The tune, which becomes another of Ray’s anthems, is rivaled only by Jerrold Immel’s theme as my favorite piece of “Dallas” music.


Best: “Once I heard you were back in town, I just had some of my friends check out some of the cheaper motels.” – J.R.’s greeting to Val in “Secrets.” I could watch Hagman and Joan Van Ark go at it all day.

Worst: “And when I didn’t get married, I thought I was gonna die. But instead, I went to college.” – Lucy recalling her romantic history to Alan Beam in “The Heiress.” Oh, “Dallas.” Charlene Tilton is such a charming actress. Why do you insist on giving her ridiculous lines?

What do you love and loathe about “Dallas’s” third season? Share your comments below and read more “Best & Worst” reviews.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 45 – ‘Power Play’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Power Play

Cry, baby

There’s a surprising timelessness to many “Dallas” episodes, but “Power Play” isn’t one of them. The roller disco scenes and slangy dialogue – at one point, Jock lays down some house rules to Lucy and asks, “You dig?” – firmly root this third-season entry in the era in which it was filmed.

The dated feel makes “Power Play” the silliest “Dallas” episode since “Call Girl,” which aired during the second season. Is it a coincidence both installments were directed by “Brady Bunch” vet Leslie Martinson, who also directed “The Heiress,” another weak episode from “Dallas’s” third season?

In “Power Play,” I groan when Kristin whips out her Polaroid camera and starts snapping pictures of Alan and Lucy canoodling together at the roller rink. Later, when Kristin shows her candid shots to J.R., notice how smartly they’re framed. Why is this girl wasting her time fetching his coffee when she clearly has what it takes to become a professional shutterbug?

Ultimately, “Power Play” suffers more from poor plotting and character development than high camp. J.R.’s scheme to have Alan marry Lucy so she’ll move away is another eye-roller, and I chuckle when Donna’s attorney, Jonas Smithers, drops by her apartment and blurts out the size of her inheritance – $10 million! – despite Ray’s presence in the room. This Smithers fellow isn’t very discreet.

But “Power Play’s” biggest flaw is its depiction of Lucy. Once again, “Dallas” can’t decide if the character is a child or a woman. In one scene, Jock tells Lucy he doesn’t want her staying awake until midnight to study. A few scenes later, when J.R. forbids Lucy to continue dating Alan, Miss Ellie reminds him Lucy is “a grown woman.”

My guess is “Dallas” wants us to see Lucy as Ellie does – as an adult, albeit a young one – yet the show continues to make her seem juvenile. Lucy decides to marry Alan merely to spite J.R.? Really, “Dallas”?

No wonder Lucy spends so much time at the roller rink in this episode. She’s gotten quite good at going round in circles.

Grade: C


Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Power Play

See what develops


Season 3, Episode 16

Airdate: January 4, 1980

Audience: 20.6 million homes, ranking 4th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Jeff Young

Director: Leslie Martinson

Synopsis: When Kristin tells J.R. about Alan and Lucy’s relationship, J.R. schemes to bring the couple closer, hoping Alan will marry his niece and take her to Chicago. Alan proposes to Lucy but she balks – until J.R. forbids her to see Alan and she decides to marry him. J.R. angers Kristin when he has a fling with Serena, a high-class call girl.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Stephanie Blackmore (Serena), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Laura Johnson (Betty Lou Barker), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Michael Prince (Jonas Smithers), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Keenan Wynn (Digger Barnes)

“Power Play” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Our Little Secret’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Heiress, Lucy Ewing

User friendly

In “The Heiress,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Lucy and Alan (Charlene Tilton, Randolph Powell) chat at a piano bar.

LUCY: And when I didn’t get married, I thought I was gonna die. But instead, I went to college. I saw more of a future in that. [They laugh.]

ALAN: You’re a delight, you know that?

LUCY: I’ve been talking all evening. I haven’t let you get one word in edgewise.

ALAN: I’ve enjoyed every moment.

LUCY: Have you really?

ALAN: [Takes her hand] Can’t you tell?

LUCY: Wouldn’t J.R. have a stroke if he could see us right now? [Laughs]

ALAN: Sometimes I get the feeling my main attraction for you is J.R.’s dislike.

LUCY: Oh, no. I just happen to be with the one man who has guts enough to stand up to him – and that’s pretty rare in this town.

ALAN: I’ve never been afraid of him because he’s never had anything I wanted. Until now. But I don’t want you ever to get hurt because of me. If you think you’ll get in trouble with your family and you’d rather not see me anymore, I’ll understand.

LUCY: No. They don’t have to know, do they?

ALAN: No one has to know.

LUCY: Be our little secret.

ALAN: That’s my girl. [Smiles, then looks serious] You’re so beautiful.

LUCY: Alan?

ALAN: Let’s go home.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 40 – ‘The Heiress’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Heiress, Lucy Ewing

Fickle finger

“The Heiress” focuses on Lucy, and it’s one of the weakest entries during “Dallas’s” third season. This isn’t a coincidence.

At this point during the show’s run, the producers can’t decide who they want Lucy to be. Sometimes, she is a troublemaking teenager who blackmails Pam (“Lessons”) and runs away from home (“Runaway”). At other times, she is a sweet young woman who deals gracefully with a broken engagement (“Royal Marriage”) and struggles to forgive her deadbeat mama (“Secrets”).

In “The Heiress,” Lucy is all over the place. We see her seduce Alan Beam, which is a pretty grownup thing for a college freshman to do, but we also see Jock ground her for getting too many speeding tickets, which is not. Lucy’s zig-zagging from childhood to adulthood and back again is dizzying.

I don’t blame Charlene Tilton. She’s a spirited actress, and when she’s given good material, she’s one of “Dallas’s” most charismatic performers. I admire Tilton’s work in many episodes, especially “Royal Marriage.”

But in “The Heiress,” Tilton is given a weak script and bad direction. When I watch the episode, I get the feeling she’s trying her best, but there’s only so much she can do.

Consider the scene where Lucy goes to Alan’s office to flirt with him. At one point, Tilton fixes an unblinking gaze on Randolph Powell and rests her chin on her left index finger. I suppose director Leslie H. Martinson thought this would be seductive, as if Lucy is sizing up Alan and imagining what it would be like to sleep with him, but it comes off looking like an exaggerated gesture out of a Mae West movie.

Later, when Alan takes Lucy to a swanky piano bar, Tilton delivers her lines with such girlish enthusiasm, the scene takes on a creepy tone. It’s almost as if Powell’s character is robbing the cradle – in the most prurient sense. Not helping matters: the “Dallas” makeup artists pancake Tilton’s cherub face in this scene, making her look like a child playing dress-up.

“The Heiress” also leaves me feeling embarrassed for other “Dallas” cast members, including Larry Hagman and Jim Davis, who are each given sitcommy scenes involving faked phone calls in the Southfork foyer.

Of course, both actors are given lots of great scenes in future episodes. Tilton’s opportunities are much more limited, which is a real shame. She deserves better.

Grade: C


Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Heiress, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Lucy Ewing

Call a script doctor!


Season 3, Episode 11

Airdate: November 23, 1979

Audience: 17.7 million homes, ranking 8th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Loraine Despres

Director: Leslie H. Martinson

Synopsis: Lucy pursues and seduces Alan after witnessing another staged fight between him and J.R. Cliff moves closer toward running for Congress and vows to win back Sue Ellen. Bobby learns about Ewing Oil’s Asian venture but J.R. won’t reveal his financing.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Joe Bratcher (Harry Shaw), Charles Cooper (Harry Shaw), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Walker Edmiston (Roy Tate), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Eugene Jackson (Pianist), Laura Johnson (Betty Lou Barker), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Joan Lancaster (Linda Bradley), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Marcus Wyatt (Jimmy)

“The Heiress” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.