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Charlene Tilton Dallas interview

Interviewer :Hi Charlene

Charlene : Hi darling, how are you?

Interviewer :I'm fine thank you. Members of Ultimate Dallas Site have so many questions for you, so thank you so much for doing this.

Charlene : Absolutely, thank you, my pleasure.

Interviewer :Ok lets begin.

Jenillee in LA asks "Jenille in LA asks How did you get into acting? How did you get your part on Dallas? What did you feel when you found out and were your family supportive?"

Charlene : That's a big question. Ever since I can remember thinking, my earliest thoughts are wanting to be an actress. From a very young age I was always doing plays and local community theater and things like that and taking singing lessons and dancing lessons. In high school I was in the theater Arts department so that's how I got into acting. How I got into Dallas is I read in a magazine called `Drama Log`, I read the synopsis of the show and the description of the character and when I read Lucy I said "That's my part, I have to play her". So I snuck in because they wouldn't see me, so I snuck in everyday for two weeks until I finally got the part.

Interviewer :and were your family supportive?

Charlene : Yes. It was basically my mother and I. I'm an only child and never knew my father so it was just my mother and I and yes she was very supportive.

Pauline in Glasgow asks "What was it like as a 17 year old starting out in her career on Dallas, and how supportive were the cast?"

Charlene : Well 17 was very young, however I had lived on my own since I was 15. Yes the cast were very supportive, all of them, they were very protective and loving towards me. Also at a young age I was fortunate to be with such an incredible group of people because they taught me really great work ethics and I had to be professional and they expected that from me. They were always very proud and told me so.

Pauline also asks "What advice would you give to a teenager starting out in Hollywood, and do you actively encourage your daughter Cherish??"

Charlene : I encourage Cherish very much and we are doing a play together right now 'Tell Veronica' and we were in that together and I am producing it and she is wonderful. She has a great voice, great dancer and is a wonderful actress. My advice for any teenager or anyone is study study study, read read read.

Patrick in Texas asks "what is your all-time favorite Dallas episode?"

Charlene : I think where this boy she is engaged to, Kit Mainwaring, where JR wants them together so there can be a merger but Kit turned out to be gay and so it was very devastating for poor Lucy and I loved that episode. It was a very good episode.

Jimmy in Utah asks "What was the reaction to the episode where Lucy finds out Kit is gay?"

Charlene : Well personally I got a great reaction from the Industry, Emmy consideration and other awards. But keep in mind that was a long time ago, way before Ellen and any of these other shows and that was handing a subject that had never really been broached on Prime time television before. Dallas really pushed the envelope in certain areas , I think they handled it beautifully and tastefully. It was great.

Interviewer :I speak to Camille Marchetta who wrote that episode and its also her favorite.

Charlene : Really? great mine too.

Pamela in London asks "Good luck in your new play
On the net we have had group discussions regarding Lucys fling with Ray Krebbs. Many people think Ray took advantage of a young girl. Looking back do you think this story line was daring and at the time did the producers take into account the age difference? Nobody seemed to mention that Lucy was young and Ray was about twice her age.

Charlene : It was very daring at the time because Ray Krebbs and Lucy had scenes that were very provocative for the time and considering the age difference, I was 17 but looked about 12, I looked so young, he said when he first met me "I thought she was going to be older" (laughs) Its one of those things Dallas did and handled nicely. I guess in a way he did take advantage because when you have a beautiful young girl throwing herself at an older man its really up to the older man to say "honey I can't do that".

Jackie from California asks " Were you shocked when it was revealed Ray was Lucy's uncle. Why was there no mention of the Hayloft romp?"

Charlene : At that point it was something we all thought "ugh oh we won't mention this again because that's a little sick, maybe its a Southern thing (laughs)

Tilly from New Zealand asks "How did you hear the news of Jim Davis's death was it a shock for the whole cast?"

Charlene : It wasn't a shock. We knew it was imminent and I feel very fortunate that I went to his house and I got to spend a day with him, the last day he was actually conscious, I was devastated. I'm still very close to his wife Blanche, I call her grandma and I see her all the time. She is a fabulous lady and Jim was an amazing person and was like a granddad for me.

Hafsteinn in Iceland asks "What was the most difficult episode
of Dallas for you to act?"

Charlene : I think it was my wedding to Mitch only because on the way to the studio I got into a horrific car accident, someone ploughed into me and totaled my car and they wanted to take me to hospital in an ambulance and I said "I can't I have to get to the set, we've got 200 extras, a crane for camera shots, I have to show up". So my godmother actually lived a few blocks away so I called her to take me to the set but I had a walking concussion and was in a lot of pain and was a mess. So I didn't feel too good the day I married Mitch but the show must go on.

Charles in Oakdale, Minnesota asks " First off, I love you in the character of Lucy and I loved it when you guested on "Knots Landing". Was there ever an opportunity for you to cross over to "Knots Landing"? If so, why didn't you take the opportunity?

Charlene : I would of liked it but Knots Landing took on a life of its own and they moved forward if you know what I mean but it was fun when I did it.

Patrick C from Nacogdoches, Texas asks "What was it like working with a guy like Mr. Hagman?"

Charlene : He's the greatest. He really is. He and his wife Maj are two of the nicest people on the planet. Larry really was the glue that kept us all together, off camera as well as on, he was always having parties and get togethers and when we were on location he was just so much fun. He helped us all bond as a unit and I have to attribute the huge success to Dallas because we had this chemistry but it was really Larry Hagman keeping us all together and we really grew to love each other He's a really amazing person and one of the most amazing actors , the fact he was never nominated for an Emmy award is such a shock for me , its an outrage.

Interviewer :Why is that?

Charlene : At the time I think because Dallas was such a huge popular phenomena that the industry itself didn't know how to deal with us or take us seriously. We had great actors on the show , we had Larry Hagman, we had Barbara Bel Geddes one of America's première theater actresses, Jim Davis and all of us, really very good. It was easy to dismiss it as night time soap opera but the performances were excellent.

Bobby in PA asks "How did the success of Dallas affect you?"

Charlene : Well we were so busy while we were shooting that it was hard to keep it all together, (dog barks) , that's my dog barking, I think he has to go to the bathroom, oh no (laughs), how do you tell a puppy he's got to wait for my interview to be over, honestly Charlie Im a big star (laughs), he doesn't care. Now where we, I kind of realized after the fact what a success Dallas was, we were so busy doing it, so into it that I didn't realize how powerful and amazing it was until after it was over.

Pamela in UK also asks "Can you tell us a secret about the show"

Charlene : No real secret but sometimes the press liked to say there were feuds on the set between Linda, Victoria and I but none of that was true.

April_J in Portugal asks I hear the whole cast got on like one big happy family. Is that true. I have worked many places and people can't stand one another.

Charlene : We all truly loved each other and when it first started Larry really brought us all together, he really set the tone.

Jock Og asks "Who did you most enjoy working with on Dallas?"

Charlene : Jock!! (laughs) All these names, you have Pam, Bobby (laughs).

Interviewer :yep. These are all the names they use on the site.

Charlene : (laughs) I enjoyed working with all of them, getting to work with Barbara on the episode where she had the mastectomy, that was an emotional episode and she was so wonderful. I loved the times Lucy stood up to JR.

Danny James in Essex asks "Dear Charlene, When Did You Last See Any Of The Dallas Gang i.e. Larry, Patrick, Linda ect?"

Charlene : At Larry's 70th birthday party, that was great. Victoria was there, unfortunately Linda and Patrick were not there but everyone else was.

Sam in Utah asks "Which one of Lucy's lovers was your favorite? I like Mickey Trotter

Charlene : I enjoyed working with all the guys I played opposite, there were so many (laughs). Lucy was always quite busy that way.

Interviewer :The actor who played Mickey sadly died

Charlene : Yes he did unfortunately, way too young, that broke my heart, we were really good friends.

Billy Tyner in Los Angeles asks " What I felt was a major mistake of the Dallas writers in the later seasons was to try to separate your character of Lucy and her plot lines from the plot lines that incorporated the cast as a whole. How did you feel about the awful neglect of such great potential that gradually separated your story lines from the main lives of the family characters?

Charlene : Well I agree with you Billy. I think that is totally true

Pauline in Glasgow asks "What was it like to work with BBG, did you learn from her, and do you still keep in touch?"

Charlene : I have not talked to Barbara in years unfortunately but I learned a lot from her. I learned a lot as an actress because she could do more without saying a word, she didn't have to say anything, you were riveted to her. On a personal note when Dallas first started and it was just a mini series, we stayed at this horrible hotel called the 'Royal Coach' and we nicknamed it the 'Royal Roach' because it had cockroaches the size of coffee cups, everything is bigger in Texas, including the roaches. Her motel room was across from mine so I would go and literally sit at her feet and listen to all her theater stories and one time I was in her room and her phone rang and I said "let me answer it" and I said "good evening this is Miss Bel Geddes suite" and the voice said "May I speak to Barbara please?" and I said "Who may I say is calling" and the voice said "Tell her it's Tennessee". I screamed and she asked what's wrong and I said "Its god its god, it's Tennessee Williams". She was the original Maggie in 'Cat on a hot tin roof' and she knew Tennessee very well so that was very exciting.

Mike from Erie, PA asks "What was the reasoning behind Lucy's leaving for the second time? It didn't seem to be story line dictated... did you choose to leave or was it the producers' decision again? You certainly were missed that last season when so few regulars were still on in a midst of new characters. Best of luck in all you do!"

Charlene : Kind of mutual decision. They weren't really utilizing my character, they didn't know quite what to do with me so unfortunately I left.

Tobias in Canada asks "Do you have memorabilia?"

Charlene : Everyone asks me that and I have to tell you I don't have a lot, I don't save things like that, I don't even have copies of the episodes that I would love to have just so my daughter Cherish could see some of them, she has seen some and she will say "Mom I can't believe you were doing that" I will say "hey it's called acting don't you even think about it" (laughs)

James Strawn from Wildomar, California asks " Have you been approached to be in this possible new series or the next reunion movie?"

Charlene : I haven't and I was really disappointed and hurt that I was not asked to be in the two reunions. From what I understand from talking to Larry and different people there will not be a 3rd reunion. If there is I would love to do it. Now I'm old enough to play Miss Ellie (laughs)

Interviewer :Apparently Patrick Duffy was just on Entertainment Tonight and said he and Larry were writing a 3rd script

Charlene : Excellent, wow hopefully they will remember me, "remember Lucy the cute little blonde that ran around".

Interviewer :So many people on the site don't understand why in a Reunion not many people were there to `reunite` (laughs)

Charlene : Well there were other people, they just did not write me in and Lucy was such an integral part of the show I think I should of been there, but that is just my opinion.

Interviewer :I spoke to Ken Kercheval and he was unhappy about being excluded from the 2nd movie.

Charlene : He was asked for the first, so better off than I was (laughs)

Mary Anne from CA asks "Can you tell us about Tell Veronica? What part do you play? You look so different from Lucy Ewing?"

Charlene : I play a wacky chat show hostess, and its so much fun. My character Veronica is a combination of Oprah, Rosie, Sally Jesy Raphael, Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer, a combination of all those people and I think my job is to save the world. I put two dysfunctional families together, the first one is a white trash family and the second is a mob family, its very funny. Like I said Cherish is in the show as well.

Leigh Romanello from Tulsa,OK asks " Do you prefer plays to TV? "

Charlene : I love doing theater, I just like a good script and I think 'Tell Veronica' is a very good script, written by my producing partner Tony Jerris, he wrote it and we are producing it together and we are having a great time.

Interviewer :It starts on the 19th?

Charlene : We open July 19th at the Hudson theater in Hollywood and that is on Santa Monica Boulavard and Hudson. It's running for 6 weeks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at seven.

Manny in Newcastle asks "I have seen Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy on stage in London. Did they inspire you to tread the boards and will you be coming to London. I think you would be great"

Charlene : I would love to come to London with my play. Did they inspire me? No, I was in London before them, I did `Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf' in Guilford , so I think I inspired them (laughs).

Lottie Inaya in Middleton asks "Have you got anything planned when Tell Veronica ends? What other projects have you got lined up?"

Charlene : Well my producing partner Tony and I have a movie in the works. I should also point out that in our play we have Lin Shaye who played in the movie 'Something about Mary' with Cameron Diaz, she played the crazy sun tanned lady. She's done a lot of great work and she actually plays Cherish's mother in the show.

Interviewer :What is it like working alongside your daughter?

Charlene : Well we work very well together, we actually did a production of `42nd Street` together a year and half ago, we work very well together but when we work we are actors. But she is very professional, she got mad at me today for not knowing my lines (laughs)

Graeme in New York asks "Do you surf the net and what sites? Have you been to Charlene Tilton online?

Charlene :No, I'm a computer geek, when I want to check a website somebody has to do it for me. I barely know how to check my Email.

Interviewer :Charlene Tilton Online is a site dedicated to your good self. Its a very good site.

Charlene : Well that's very nice, oh good.

Interviewer :Well thank you Charlene. That is about it.

Charlene : Thank you so much, you're a doll. Well I do know this site (Ultimate Dallas Site), because I've been there and I do know this site is a wonderful one.

Interviewer : You have seen it?

Charlene : Yes I have, you guys are doing great things over there. Thank you to Charlene Tilton for taking questions and thanks to everyone who submitted a question for Charlene.

Charlene Tilton was Interviewed by Colin Hunter

Interview transcribed by Shannon Matthews

Special Thanks to:

Charlene Tilton, Mike Pingel and all the fans who asked questions and continue to be dedicated users of Ultimate Dallas.

 


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