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‘Dallas’ star Larry Hagman lured Patrick Duffy back for iconic shower scene: castmate

Larry Hagman was willing to take a risk so that his pal could come back.

It was the eighth season of “Dallas” when Patrick Duffy decided to leave in hopes of pursuing other acting roles. His character, J.R. Ewing’s (Hagman) brother Bobby, was originally supposed to be killed off at the end of the first season, Entertainment Weekly reported. However, Bobby met his demise at the end of season 8 when he was run over by a car and died from his injuries at a hospital, the outlet revealed.

Joan Van Ark, who appeared in “Dallas” before she went on to star in the spinoff “Knots Landing,” recently reunited with the surviving cast at Oscar’s in Palm Springs, California. Hagman died in 2012 at age 81.

“Larry wanted Patrick back,” the actress told Fox News Digital. “Patrick, Larry and [co-star] Linda [Gray] were like the three musketeers on set. And there was no question that Larry wanted his buddy, his brother, back.

According to reports, ratings for “Dallas” were sagging when Hagman convinced Duffy to come back and have his character resurrected. But Van Ark said there was much more to Duffy’s return.

The cast members of Dallas in a black and white shot smiling with each other

Cast members of the TV program “Dallas” circa 1978. From left to right: Linda Gray, Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton, Larry Hagman, Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy.  (Richard Harrison/Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

“They were incredibly close,” she said. “All three of them — Larry, Patrick and Linda. When I was on set, you could see how special that friendship was. And that’s what made the series last in my opinion. The connection was real. There was love there.”

Patrick Duffy in character as Bobby Ewing

Patrick Duffy, seen here, developed a close friendship with Larry Hagman that endured long after “Dallas” came to an end. (CBS via Getty Images)

In the now-famous 1986 episode, Bobby’s wife Pam [Victoria Principal] woke up in the final scene of season 9 to find Bobby in the shower. Duffy told People magazine during the reunion that his wife’s “literary knowledge” prompted the idea of how his character would be resurrected.

According to Entertainment Weekly, some fans and critics were appalled by the plot twist. Still, it proved to be a ratings hit, drawing 36 million viewers.


Patrick Duffy standing next to Linda Gray in a red dress and Larry Hagman in a dark blazer and cowboy hat

From left: Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman arrive at the launch party for the new television series “Dallas” at Old Billingsgate Aug. 21, 2012, in London. Hagman died in November of that year. (Claire Greenway/Getty Images)

Van Ark admitted the cast reunion was bittersweet without Hagman, but his presence was felt.

Gray, 82, told People magazine that even during outings, Hagman’s wife would show the star the menu at a restaurant and he “would whistle what he wanted.” 

When asked if it was vocal rest, Gray said “No, it’s bulls—.

“He did it for years and years,” she added. “He was like a little boy. But it was also control.”

At the time of his death, Hagman was in Dallas filming an episode of the “Dallas” reboot.

A dinner scene from Knots Landing where Larry Hagman makes a toast

American actor Larry Hagman makes a toast in the episode “Family Matters” of the TV soap opera series “Knots Landing” in December 1980. Also appearing in the scene are (clockwise from top) American actors Donna Mills, Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark. (CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Van Ark portrayed Valene on “Knots Landing” from 1979 to 1993. The star insisted she never felt typecast over the years.

“All that mattered to me was giving my best as Valene,” she said. “There were some challenges towards the very end of my run where Valene was going off the rails. … I just thought, ‘She is not that stupid.’ But I think they ran out of storylines and things to do. … But the show was special because it was relatable, and it had some magnificent storylines.

Donna Mills, Michele Lee and Joan Van Ark all wearing white suits

From left: Donna Mills, Michele Lee and Joan Van Ark attend the Hollywood Museum’s 40th Anniversary of “Knots Landing” Jan. 18, 2020, in Hollywood, Calif.  (Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)

“We’re trying to put a podcast together,” she teased. “I’d love to call the podcast ‘We’re Knot Done Yet’ and show everybody we still got it going on. … We can still deliver. We all have something to offer. … And I’m all about having fun. And I think that’s what our experiences taught us. I know Larry was all about having fun.”

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