in your questions to Susan Howard in this exclusive
Ultimate Dallas Interview
Read the transcript below and click on the icon to join in the
discussion with other fans from across the world.
in Tyler, Texas asks
Susan, I'm sure you know where Tyler, Texas IS! My question
is this: What "Name Brands" of clothing did you wear
while on "Dallas"? "Makeup"? "Shoe
brands". As I am a Personal Shopper for a large department
store, I am quite interested! You looked (and still DO) look
- Oh I know where that is, that's close to my home town (laughs).
Prettiest roses in the world, it is the rose capital of Texas,
you can smell the roses 15 miles outside the city limits. We
wore all of the brands, I loved Chanel, I loved Gucci, Nino
Cerrutti, Loved all of them, I really enjoyed it. Up until the
show was a success you couldn't go out and spend that kind of
money , all of a sudden when the show was a success the sky's
the limit (laughs).
in Wooster Ohio
asks hi Susan what do you think of hollywood making a big screen
version of DALLAS? Who should play donna
The mere fact they would have the ordasity to try to remake
anything always blows me away, but I take into consideration
the fact that Dallas was never a movie, its the remakes of the
movies I have a problem with. The fact they may like to take
a television series and encapsulate it into an hour and half
of film I find very challenging. I haven't a clue who should
play Donna, all I will do is if they cast somebody I don't like
I will raise my voice (laughs). But if they start with a younger
version of Jock and Ellie, Steve and me should be playing the
Hafsteinn in Iceland
asks Did the character of Donna develop the way you would have
wanted to, or didn't you have anything to say concerning her
development, just the writers' decision?
- Yes you did have some say because a lot of times people look
at what you were doing and how you were interacting with the
other characters to work to figure out where they should go.
There were storylines you would like to see have gone differently,
I never believed Ray and Donna would divorce, I never believed
Ray and Donna would not raise their own child and so I think
that was a storyline that was abused and misused and poorly
handled but that was the way they chose to go with it. I think
it was interesting the fact they would take Donna to Washington,
but I always say that she's flitting around doing her thing
and Rays flitting around doing his thing and then a year later,
wow they see each other at some grand ball and like the stranger
across the crowded room (laughs), I'm a romantic at heart. I
have all these visions of them waltzing somewhere and here's
your daughter you have never seen, you know, that kind of thing.
asks What did you think of the dream series and the return of
Patrick Duffy to the show?
Everyone was thrilled Patrick came back but I thought it was
a poorly conceived idea. I thought the public was just wrapped
around a wheel with it, that they abused again and misused the
public. But it was the only way I guess they felt they could
get Patrick back on the show but as I do recall that was the
beginning of the demise of the show because too many people
said "You know this is stupid, we all wept and cried when
Bobby died but now you have really undermined our intelligence
and we don't appreciate it". So I think there was a backlash
there, I really do.
Pamela in London asks
I heard there were several factors leading up to your exit from
the show. The dream season and how Philip Capice was treated
plus you were asked to have an affair with another character
on the show. Were these all deliberate attempts to undermine
what Mr Capice had done on the show? It seemed the all strong
women during the dream season were totally toned down once Pamela
- You are right in that sense of the word. My being written
out of the show, press releases that came out from the show,
I assume from Lorimar, saying I had asked to be released from
the show, I said this was not true. In fact the way I found
out is I was sitting in the makeup chair one morning in March
and my make-up man said to me "Have you heard Susan we
are going to start back early this year" , I said "No
I haven't heard", he said "Yeah we are gonna start
back April or May", I said "Oh really".
I immediately left and went over to Leonard's office and I said
"Is something going on?" and he said "We have
decided not to bring the character back" and I said "Why
is that?" and he said "We really don't have anymore
storylines", I said "Ok if that's the way it is, that's
the way it is", I got up and left.
To preface that what had happened the year before, the year
Leonard was not on the show, that was the year we had the sequence
with the handicap children, well the season Leonard came back
Donna had found herself pregnant again, because the whole year
was wiped out.
they had come to me at a party before the show had started that
year and Leonard had said "You and Steve, keep talking
about it, why don't you have a baby", I said "Yes
but first of all how could we, we don't even have a bedroom,
do you know Donna still hangs her clothes out on the line and
she has millions of dollars, what's going on here?" (laughs),
really this is the conversation, and he said "Well we have
decided Ray and Donna are gonna have a baby", I said "Oh
great , oh Leonard that's great", he said "Yes but
she's gonna find out shes carrying a down syndrome child and
she will have an abortion", well my heart fell to the floor.
I really went home and because I don't believe in abortion I
called up Phil Capice, and I said "Phil I need to talk
to you, I look back at the history of Dallas and there have
been abortions already on the show, don't you think sometimes
we need to show the other side, that maybe there would be someone
who would want to have the baby, he said "but it's down
syndrome, 98% of women who find out they are carrying a down
syndrome child have an abortion" and I said "But there
are 2% and what do you think they do?" and he said "Well
I guess they want it", so I said "Why don't you consider
Donna part of that 2%".
So that's how the story went and then the dream sequence came
and all of a sudden we are back and Jennas pregnant and she's
hating Bobby and she's going to hate the baby she's going to
have and Leonard comes to me and says "We have decided
you are going to go to Jenna and say 'You know Jenna you really
need to have an abortion' ", I said "Leonard why would
Donna go to Jenna, the only reason should would want an abortion
is because she was mad at Bobby, and tell her to have one?",
I said "If you want anybody to tell her to have an abortion
it would be J.R because he's got everything to loose".
in all honesty I believe I was written off the show is because
I'm not a politically correct person and people can read into
that anyway they want to , my faith had nothing to do with it,
I was simply saying "Don't we ever show the other side",
and I believe they did not want to live with that so it was
much easier to write you off the show and continue in a genre
of lifestyle they liked or justified rather than have them daily
confronted with someone who challenged them on social and moral
issues, that's the truth. It had nothing to do with me not wanting
to have an affair with somebody, they did want me to get involved
with the Senator and I said "Excuse me, Donna is pregnant
with her husbands baby, she is not going to be running around
having an affair with some Senator, you've lost your mind"
(laughs). People ask this because they want to know the truth
and this is the truth ok. Let me tell you, everybody else dances
around that question, because they want to say "Oh well
it had to do with this or that", no it didn't, this was
what it had to do with.
Its very much like the character of Pamela who became quite
strong during the dream season and she was totally ruined after
- Absolutely, she was a wimp. I love Victoria, she was a good
friend. I have to tell you, one of my cousins in Houston, their
son had a baby born with a harelip, I immediately called Harry
Glassman and I said "Harry I don't know anybody, they don't
know anybody" he said "I'll take care of it".
He got on the phone, he found the best plastic surgeon for babies,
you would never know this child has a harelip. You know you
read all this crud but the heart of who people were is sometimes
never told. That's who Victoria and Harry are, anything they
could do to help they did. I love Victoria Principal and I love
Harry Glassman and I always will. That's a good little personal
thing you will never read in the tabloids and I'm proud of her,
she's done so good. She's a smart woman.
What happened to Phil Capice, he seemed to have vanished?
- Phil has and I'm gonna try to find Phil, I really am.