In the summer of 1987, I was in Paris shooting a Movie of the Week for David Wolper called Napoleon and Josephine. The day I was leaving Paris to return home, my agent called and asked if I would be interested in doing two episodes of the hit television show, Dallas, in a guest appearance.There was only one script available to read,and it would be awaiting my immediate response. When I arrived home, I literally put my suitcases down and read it. It seemed to be a fun character. Her name was Kimberly Cryder and she was rich, witty, wily and sexy. I met with the producers and said “yes”. What was to be only a brief appearance, quickly became an extended commitment. I did 21 shows of Dallas as Kimberly Cryder. I was home only a week, then on a plane to Dallas, Texas. I was rapidly immersed in shopping for Kimberly’s wardrobe. She was very rich, and it was the eighties, so courtierère clothing was the order of the day. What fun for me ! We bought gorgeous clothes, and the Dallas wardrobe designer, Nancy Renard, lent her extraordinary eye to the fine tuning.
The first day of shooting was in a beautiful restaurant with Larry Hagman and myself acting a scene of Machiavellian flirtation between our characters. J.R Ewing and Kimberly Cryder were both connivers, not particularly moral, and very attracted to each other. Champagne was to be served in the scene. When a scene is played with alcohol as a “prop”, it is always, in my experience, bubble water, applejuice or grapejuice. As we rehearsed the scene, I noticed what appeared to be an amazing replica of the finest Champagne being poured in out glasses. I “marked” in my mind, as I do when I rehearse, where and when I would sip my drink as I spoke the dialogue without actually drinking. Rehearsal was now over, it was time to shoot. “Action!” , and the scene began.
We spoke, flirted and then I drank. It was real Champagne ! I kept my wits about me and stayed focused in the scene even though several more sips were needed to make it real. “Cut!”, and, of course, we needed to do it again. Already I felt the effects of the Champagne as I am easily and quickly affected by alcohol. It was my first day of shooting, I knew no one, and I was too shy to speak up and ask for bubble water since it was clear Larry loved his Champagne and our glasses were to be poured out of the same bottle. Several “takes” later, I was now drunk, and Larry appeared perfectly normal. I realized that the Champagne would always be real, if I was working with Larry. I began to avoid my character sharing any drinks with JR Ewing.
There is, however, one wonderful scene we did where I once again drank Champagne with Larry. I was in a huge bubble bath, drinking and eating bon-bons. My hair was up in a very Rita Hayworth way, my nails were long and red and I was negotiating a business deal for millions of dollars, manipulating JR with sense and sensuality. It remains one of my favorite and most outrageous scenes.
I admire Larry Hagman because he has been very forthright and public about his years of drinking. He paid for his drinking with his liver. He is now a living Voice for how alcohol caught up with him and almost killed him. He is so talented, wonderfully eccentric and open about his views. He is an absolute treasure and an original.
Dallas on IMDB