TNT's revival of "Dallas" isn't just a reunion of J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen, it's a reunion of the actors who play them. And that, more than anything, is what brought Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray back.
"I can always work somewhere, but I can't always work with them," said Duffy, 62. "It's actually more important to be working with them, and the icing on the cake is that we're doing 'Dallas.' "
Hagman said he didn't consider pulling out of the show when he was diagnosed with cancer during filming. "How many people do you know working at 80?" he asked. "And doing a job that they love with the people they love? Oh, yeah, I'm a very lucky man."
Hagman said his "treatment has been going very well" and insisted he is "fine.
Gray, 71, said they get to spend more time together than they did during the show's original run (1978-1991), when she and Duffy had young families and most of the production was on a Los Angeles backlot. This time, they were in Texas for more than four months and living in the same condo complex.
"On New Year's Eve day, the three of us were in Larry's condo just hanging out," Gray said. "Patrick and I were talking about it after we left the trust level, the bonding, the got-your-back kind of thing. We text all the time. What a solid, solid friendship it is."
In fact, the stars' relationship has confounded a number of producers through the years. Several times, one of the three has been approached about a project and assured that the other two were already on board. "Little knowing that we never say anything until we all talk," Duffy said with a laugh.
Returning to the "Dallas" story two decades later was a seamless transition, Gray said, because they had kept in touch.
The continuation of the momentum the actors had years ago was all the more welcome because it was so unexpected. Duffy figured the trio would never work together again because they were so identified with their "Dallas" roles.
"I really wanted to work with them again," Duffy said. "So this is the best thing that could happen."
"I got a tear in my eye," Hagman added, smiling a very J.R.-like smile.
Return to 'Dallas'
It's back to Southfork when the new version of "Dallas" debuts on Wednesday, June 13, at 7 and 9 p.m. on TNT. The original "Dallas" premiered in 1978 and, after 357 episodes, signed off in 1991. There was a prequel TV movie ("Dallas: The Early Years") in 1986, as well as two sequels ("Dallas: J.R. Returns" in 1996 and "Dallas: War of the Ewings" in 1998).