‘Dallas’ Memoriam: Honoring Those We Lost in 2015

Carl Hardesty, Dallas, Edgar Randolph, Fritz Longley, George Coe, Lorimar, Martin E. Brooks, Merv Adelson

Here’s Dallas Decoder’s annual tribute to the “Dallas” actors, crew members and other contributors who died during the past year. Notable deaths among the show’s extended family also are included. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at IMDb.com.


Dallas, Lorimar, Merv Adelson

Merv Adelson

Merv Adelson

Died September 8 (age 85)

Adelson co-founded Lorimar, the producer of “Dallas,” “Knots Landing” and dozens of other popular shows from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The studio’s name was created by combining the name of Adelson’s ex-wife Lori with Palomar Airport, where he used to fly airplanes.


Dallas, Old Acquaintance, Richard Anthony

Richard Anthony

Richard Anthony

Died April 20 (age 77)

Anthony played a waiter in the 1978 classic “Old Acquaintance.” His other credits include the 1968 “Star Trek” episode “Spectre of the Gun.”



Dallas, Edgar Randolph, Martin E. Brooks

Martin E. Brooks

Martin E. Brooks

Died December 7 (age 90)

Brooks played Edgar Randolph — a Sam Culver protégé who was later blackmailed by J.R. — in 10 episodes from 1983 to 1984. Brooks, who is best known as Dr. Rudy Wells on “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman,” also appeared in three 1992 “Knots Landing” episodes.


Carl Hardesty, Dallas, John Carter

John Carter

John Carter

Died May 23 (age 87)

Carter played Carl Hardesty, J.R.’s go-to man for setting up dummy corporations, in four episodes between 1982 and 1986. He also played a doctor in a 1984 installment of “Knots Landing.” His other credits include nine “Falcon Crest” episodes.


Al Checco, Dallas, Ewing Blues

Al Checco

Al Checco

Died July 19 (age 93)

In “The Ewing Blues,” Checco played the man who delivered food to Cliff’s townhouse, noticed J.R.’s appearance on the TV show “Talk Time” and expressed admiration for him. Checcho made guest spots on many other shows, including “Bonanza,” “Kung Fu,” “Growing Pains” and “Scrubs.”


Dallas, General Fritz Longley, George Coe

George Coe

George Coe

Died July 18 (age 86)

Coe played Fritz Longley, the retired general who inspired J.R.’s Middle East misadventures, in two 10th-season episodes, “Pari Per Sue” and “Enigma.” Coe also appeared regularly on “Saturday Night Live” during its first season and later voiced a character on “Archer.”


Dallas, Diana Douglas, Dr. Suzanne Lacey, Letter

Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas

Died July 3 (age 92)

Douglas played Dr. Suzanne Lacey, the child psychologist who treats John Ross after the Southfork fire, in the seventh-season classic “The Letter.” Douglas, who was married to Kirk Douglas, also played the physician who treated Gary Ewing after his fall from the wagon at the end of “Knots Landing’s” first season.


Dallas, Jay Gerber, Rosemont, Southfork Wedding Jinx

Jay Gerber

Jay Gerber

Died October 2 (age 86)

Geber played Rosemont, a sanitarium patient, in the 13th-season episode “The Southfork Wedding Jinx.” His other credits include “Knots Landing,” “L.A. Law” and “Gilmore Girls.”



Dallas: The Early Years, Ed Porter, Geoffrey Lewis

Geoffrey Lewis

Geoffrey Lewis

Died April 7 (age 79)

Lewis played Ed Porter in “Dallas: The Early Years.” The character actor’s extensive credits also include the Clint Eastwood film “Every Which Way But Loose,” a regular role on the “Alice” spinoff “Flo” and nine episodes of “Falcon Crest.”


Dallas, Riobert Magruder

Robert Magruder

Robert Magruder

Died January 2 (age 85)

Magruder, a Texas-based actor, played various roles in four episodes between 1978 and 1984, including a stint as a doctor in the third-season “Whatever Happed to Baby John?” two-parter.



Dallas, Ewing vs. Ewing, Gordon Oas-Heim

Gordon Oas-Heim

Gordon Oas-Heim

Died June 5 (age 88)

Oas-Heim appears in the credits of the fourth-season episode “Ewing vs. Ewing,” although he isn’t readily visible. The actor’s other credits include “The New Monkees” and a guest spot on “Diff’rent Strokes.”



Betsy Palmer, Knots Landing

Betsy Palmer

Betsy Palmer

Died May 29 (age 88)

Palmer, who is best known for playing Jason Vorhees’ mother in “Friday the 13th,” portrayed Valene Ewing’s Aunt Ginny on “Knots Landing” from 1989 to 1990.



Dallas, George Probert

George Probert

George Probert

Died January 10 (age 87)

Probert worked as a “Dallas” music editor on 74 episodes from 1979 to 1982. He also worked on “Lost in Space” and “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo” and was an accomplished jazz musician.



Dallas, Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan

Died September 20 (age 62)

Ryan served as a Los Angeles location manager for “Dallas” from 1981 to 1983. He also worked on several other Lorimar series, including “Knots Landing,” “Berrenger’s,” “Guns of Paradise” and “Bodies of Evidence.”


Dallas, Gregory Walcott, Jim Redfield

Gregory Walcott

Gregory Walcott

Died March 20 (age 87)

In 1980, Walcott appeared in “Who Done It?” and the following episode, “Taste of Success,” as refinery owner Jim Redfield. Ten years later, he returned in the 13th-season episode “Tale of Two Cities” as Jebediah Joyce, the Coast Guard commander who investigated the Ewing Oil tanker disaster.


Alan Weeks, Dallas

Alan Weeks

Alan Weeks

Died October 10 (age 67)

Weeks did one-time guest spots on shows such as “Police Woman” and “Fame.” His last credited appearances were two 1991 episodes of “Dallas” — “Designing Women” and “S is For Seduction” — in which he played Thomas, the judge in Carter McKay’s murder trial.


What do you remember about these artists? Share your memories below and read our tributes from 2014 and 2013.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 173 — ‘Do You Take This Woman?’

Dallas, Daniel Pilon, Do You Take This Woman?, Jenna Wade, Naldo Marchetta, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley

Take your wife. Please.

“Do You Take This Woman?” marks the moment “Dallas” turns into a Lifetime movie. The hour begins with Jenna Wade happily planning to marry Bobby, but by the time the closing credits roll, her daughter has been kidnapped and Jenna has been forced to leave her fiancé stranded at the altar. In the episodes that follow, Jenna is held against her will, almost raped, accused of murder, found guilty, imprisoned and finally freed, only to watch Bobby “die” in the eighth-season finale. The only calamities missing are a nervous breakdown and an unwanted pregnancy, but fear not. Jenna will get to those eventually.

I know, I know. I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s also not fair to criticize the entire show based on Jenna’s storyline. But the fact is, this is the point during “Dallas’s” run that I’ve been dreading. Priscilla Beaulieu Presley is a fine actress, but I’m no fan of the weepy, woeful turn her character takes in this episode. Like Pam’s drawn-out search for Mark Graison, the “Perils of Jenna” story arc feels like “Dallas” is merely killing time until Bobby and Pam’s long-awaited reunion at the end of the season. It’s one reason I’ve been publishing twice-weekly critiques from this era of “Dallas.” I want to get the damn thing over with as quickly as possible.

Although there isn’t a lot in “Do You Take This Woman?” to get excited about overall, the fourth act isn’t without merit. Presley does a nice job in the scene where Jenna talks on the phone to one of Charlie’s friends and realizes her ex-husband, the villainous Naldo Marchetta, has kidnapped their daughter. Frantic Jenna drops everything and flees the house, only to run into Naldo. “Our daughter is quite safe. You have nothing to worry about,” he says. I also like when Bobby receives a mysterious phone call and dashes out of Southfork with J.R. close behind. The overhead shot of the brothers tearing away in Bobby’s convertible is cool, although I’m more impressed with the deeper meaning of this moment, which reminds us how the Ewing boys always have each other’s backs.

In a similar vein, “Do You Take This Woman?” contains another good scene that underscores Cliff and Pam’s sibling bond. He stomps into her house as only he can, ranting about Pam’s full-page newspaper advertisement offering a reward for information about Mark’s disappearance. Cliff doesn’t want to have to put extra people on the Barnes-Wentworth switchboard to field calls from the “crackpots” who are bound to respond to the ad, but he’s also frustrated with Pam’s obsessive search for her deceased fiancé. “Mark is dead. You have to face that,” he says. Pam walks away in tears, and then Mandy points out that Pam is already on edge because it’s Bobby and Jenna’s wedding day. Ken Kercheval’s response is masterful: In a matter of seconds, Cliff’s face registers anger, surprise and finally regret. Under all that bluster, this character really does love and care about his sister.

Speaking of bombast: “Do You Take This Woman?” opens with J.R. calmly assuring Jeremy Wendell that Jamie’s claims about Ewing Oil’s ownership are merely a prank, and then J.R. reveals his true feelings during a family meeting in the Southfork living room. Larry Hagman manages to make J.R.’s ravings amusing without sacrificing the character’s dignity. By the way: I don’t blame J.R. for being suspicious of Jamie. She possesses a document that might give her a piece of a multibillion-dollar corporation, yet she has no intention of claiming her share? This stretches credibility, even by eighth-season “Dallas” standards. And while we’re on the subject of Jamie: It’s nice that Sue Ellen has befriended her, but is serving as a supporting player in Jamie’s drama the best use of Linda Gray’s talents? Why doesn’t she have a meaningful storyline of her own?

“Do You Take This Woman?” also is notable because it includes both a barbecue and a wedding. It’s somewhat odd to think the Ewings would hold back-to-back bashes, but I suspect the producers saved money by staging the events over successive episodes. The extras who appear at the barbecue probably hung around to film the wedding scenes. (The show does something similar during the sixth season, when the Ewing Barbecue arrives on the heels of J.R. and Sue Ellen’s second wedding.) And even though the bride doesn’t show up for this ceremony, it’s by no means a waste: This episode’s establishing shot of a white limousine dropping off wedding guests in the Southfork driveway is used again — six years later — during Bobby and April’s nuptials in the 13th-season installment “The Southfork Wedding Jinx.”

Such prudent recycling! Who says the Ewings aren’t environmentally conscious?

Grade: C


Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Do You Take This Woman?, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy

Call guy


Season 8, Episode 12

Airdate: December 14, 1984

Audience: 21.4 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Leonard Katzman

Director: Gwen Arner

Synopsis: While J.R. and Cliff scramble to determine if Jamie’s claims about Ewing Oil’s ownership are true, she places her document in a safe-deposit box and promises not to use it against the Ewings. Pam hires a detective to find Mark. After Naldo takes Charlie, Jenna stands up Bobby on their wedding day.

Cast: Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Jenilee Harrison (Jamie Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Fredric Lehne (Eddie Cronin), Madison Mason (Jack Phipps), Shalane McCall (Charlie Wade), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Daniel Pilon (Renaldo Marchetta), Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (Jenna Wade), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Donna Reed (Miss Ellie Farlow), Sherril Lynn Rettino (Jackie Dugan), Marina Rice (Angela), Deborah Shelton (Mandy Winger), Danone Simpson (Kendall), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis)

“Do You Take This Woman?” is available on DVD and at Amazon and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.