The warm and wonderful Audrey Landers joined us once again at UltimateDallas.com to answer your questions
Ultimate Dallas - Hi Audrey welcome back to Ultimate Dallas. How are you?
Audrey Landers - Hi. I’m good , How are you?
Ultimate Dallas – I’m great thanks. It’s good to talk to you again. As usual we have received so many questions from the fans. There are a couple of major themes they pick up on including your music and of course the return of Dallas. So let’s kick off
1.Philip in Germany asks Hi Audrey. I am a massive fan.I love the new holiday album.Can you tell us about it?
Audrey Landers – Well it’s very near and dear to my heart because I’d written so many songs on the album. For example my song ‘You Came To Me On Christmas’ , which is the title of the album, I wrote that, I know it’s a little corny, I wrote it for my children. I think the holiday is so much for children as well, so a lot of the songs are spiritual or they are playful for the kids.
Joanie asks I downloaded your holiday songs from iTunes. I love your version of the Little Drummer Boy. Do you have a favorite Christmas song on the album?
Audrey Landers - Well I love O Holy Night as a classic and then of course the one that I wrote ‘You Came To Me On Christmas’, as it has such a special meaning to me (laughs)
UD – So you can download it on iTunes?
Audrey Landers – I believe it’s available on maybe like five hundred sites around the world. I know it’s on Amazon and I know it’s on iTunes. Very shortly I’m going to have a special four songs I recorded in the German language that will be coming out.
Marcus asks I understand you started acting and singing at the age of 9. Did you parents actively encourage you to get involved in the performing arts or was it something you knew you wanted to do?
Audrey Landers – It was something I knew I wanted to do. My mum had done some modeling as a younger woman so I had a little taste of show business when I used to go with her to her job. But it was something I knew I wanted to do from the time I was five years old.
My mom usually tells the story that I used to go with her to work sometimes and one-day I was sitting in the car when we were stuck in traffic (laughs) and she tells me, because it’s too embarrassing for me, that I stuck my head out the window and started singing at the top of my lungs. She said “That’s very nice Audrey, what are you doing?” and I told her that I’m singing so a Producer will discover me (laughs). I was five years old at the time, so I guess I kind of knew what I wanted forever.
Very much like my own son. He has the same genetics I think. (laughs)
UD - You were writing songs and poetry at the age of nine right?
Audrey Landers – Yes but anything that was more substantial was probably when I was about eleven or twelve. I did write my first actual hit song when I was thirteen. But I did start by writing poetry and stories, I had a very vivid imagination.
UD – Do you recall any of those early poems?
Audrey Landers – I can tell you the first song that was popular was called ‘The apple don’t fall far from the tree’. That actually became a little Country hit in the US and it was very much the start of my professional singing career. That was really what got me noticed and taken seriously as a singer and song writer by the time I was fourteen or fifteen.
UD - Now we have received so many questions about Dallas, about Dallas coming back. So we have a question from James.
James Lyn asks As we all know Dallas is coming back next Summer. We know Ken is back and there is rumor that Afton’s daughter is also in the show. Will we see Afton?
Audrey Landers – Well as you know Dallas is very very secretive about their storylines, especially with something that is going to be introduced as a cliffhanger. So as far as my return to Dallas (laughs) my lips are sealed. However, the talk about the daughter sounds pretty promising to me, if indeed that is my daughter, so as much as I would like to tell you 100% that Afton is back I can’t really say that because I’m not 100% sure. If anyone wants to join in on that website that one of my fans put up is welcome to do it, the more supporters I have the more attention the producers will pay to Afton returning.
UD – Absolutely. They are really listening to the fans and a similar fan petition happened for Charlene Tilton and she is back on the show for a couple of appearances. So that would be brilliant.
UD – Has anyone contacted you from the show?
Audrey Landers – We have been in contact but as I mentioned there are lots of story-lines that are pretty much a secret and all I can say is when the show starts airing in June we’ll all find out (laughs)
UD - Have you seen any of the new show?
Audrey Landers – I’ve seen clips and it looks awesome, really awesome. The actors in it are beautiful to look at, they are good actors and the story-lines are going to be fun and exciting
UD – Yeah it’s going to be good. I watched the pilot and it was amazing, very good. It’s going to be a winner.
Milly asks Have you spoken to Ken since he was asked back on Dallas? Is he excited?
Audrey Landers – Oh yes. Ken and I are in touch quite a bit and he is very pleased to be back on the show. I think if things work out and Afton gets back with Cliff it’ll be even better, he’ll have an even more interesting storyline. So we’ve been talking a lot
UD - Well I hope you do go back it would be fantastic. Most of the fans would love to see as many of the originals as possible. We want you back (laughs)
Audrey Landers – I would love it too (laughs)
Paul Ashworth asks If you do return to Dallas how you would like the character of Afton to be?
Audrey Landers - I think probably since years have passed Afton and Cliff have not been closely in touch. I think Afton has been married and divorced and probably in keeping with her character when she was somewhat of a gold-digger, I think she went back to that at some point in her life, married a rich guy and now is going to come back to Dallas under whole new circumatanes and maybe give Sue Ellen a run for her money because now Afton will come back as a wealthy widow.
UD – Ohhh that’s very good. I like it. That’s interesting you mention Aftons past because I get the impression that Cynthia Cidre is perhaps maintaining some of those early elements of the characters and really thinking about how those characters would be today, like with Sue Ellen.
Audrey Landers = Yes. I think Afton at this point would have to have something strong going for her to win Cliff back. Sue Ellen was after Cliff, so it would be a way for Afton to compete for Cliff’s attention. Coming back. having her own wealth and being her own person now.
Audrey Landers – If anyone else has some suggestions I think it would be awesome to hear what ideas fans have for how Afton should come back
UD - That would be great.
Audrey Landers – Then again Afton could come back to Dallas because she is on tour and singing at some great Blues club with a déjà vu for Cliff and Afton. Back to where they were (laughs)
UD – (laughs) Actually I believe Josh Henderson is a singer, you could do a duet – John Ross and Afton (laughs)
Audrey Landers – (Laughs) That would be fun, absolutely.
Josh asks Loved meeting you in 2008 at the BBQ, and your Christmas album is wonderful. I was wondering how your plans are going with the idea of recording an album of your “Dallas” songs, as you discussed at the BBQ.
Audrey Landers Tell Josh I’m so happy he reminded me (laughs) because I think that will definitely be on the agenda for the early part of 2012. I’m excited to do that album, I know it’s something my fans would love and I’m going to do it. Bring out all those songs from Dallas.
UD - Fantastic. We had so many questions about that especially “Steal Me Away” and “The First Is The Worst Hurt Of All”
Audrey Landers – That will be so much fun for me to do too because those songs I wrote them all. It’s funny, the way I would write them is, I would look at the script a few days ahead of time and would see that Afton is supposed to sing to JR so I would kind of put myself inside the head of Afton at the moment. For example the song ‘Don’t say you love me’ was really written about Afton’s feelings for JR who is a married man and Afton had feelings for him, the point was ‘don’t say you love me, just love me tonight’. The other songs were all taken from moments in the script where I felt it would make a great impact if I wrote it from Afton’s emotions at that point.
It will be a lot of fun putting that album together
UD – So how did that come about, were you asked to write the songs, did you suggest it?
Audrey Landers - When Afton first came to Dallas the character was only supposed to be in two episodes and being on the set of Dallas was, I guess, a bit of an intimidating experience because the show had already become a hit. During lunch breaks everyone cleared the entire sound-stage and I was feeling very nervous and hung around and I discovered a piano in the far corner of the stage.
Nobody was around so I just sat down, music is a little bit of therapy for me, so I started to play the piano and played something I had been working on writing, to get my mind off being nervous about my first day on the set. Co-indecently the Producer, Leonard Katzman, was crossing from one side to the other with his lunch and stopped and said “Oh you sing , you play the piano” and I explained I do and to calm my nerves. That was that and suddenly the next script came in and they had written the character in for the rest of the season, Afton was going to stay in Dallas and be a singer.
That’s kind of how it came about.
Gabriel asks A tabloid newspaper recently stated there were behind the scenes issues with Victoria and as a result she can’t return to TNT’s version. Did you ever notice any animosity on set? How did you get on with Victoria?
Audrey Landers – Well I don’t know anything about the present day situation, I mean honestly from an outsiders point of view I thought her character died. But when we were filming there was no animosity, there was a great sense of humor. Victoria is a great beautiful woman, she was very confident and there was no anonmosity. Even in those days the press liked to talk it up a lot but it was a really harmonious cast and everyone had a great sense of humor.
Miriam asks You were only 21 when you joined Dallas, being so young and having money did you go off the rails at all? You hear so many young stars from the 80s who seem to crash and burn
Audrey Landers – Well first of all there wasn’t all that much money (laughs), as a guest on the show they had a certain fixed price, I didn’t rake in the big bucks, it didn’t happen that way (laughs). But even if that would have been the case I come from strong values and I always had to work very hard for everything I had just as everyone in my family have. I have a very strong work ethic and would never have gone off the deep end.
Pamela asks Did you watch yourself back on Dallas with a critical eye?
Audrey Landers – Of course (laughs). As an actor it’s very difficult to look at myself on camera. I think it was more difficult in those days because I was so critical of the way I looked, the way I was photographed. I was under such scrutiny while the show was going on that I found it very difficult to watch the shows myself without being very very critical. Looking back at it now, I look back at everybody and I go wow that person is so handsome, she was so beautiful. Looking back on it you appreciate it much more.
UD – So if you saw something you didn’t like would you go back and discuss it or was it a more personal concern?
Audrey Landers – I was allowed occasionally to go in to discuss the character and that was important to me. To have that open conversation with the Director and Producer.
UD – You would discuss the direction of the character?
Audrey Landers – Yes. There was a time period when Afton became way too nice and Cliff was not being good to her. The fans, the female fans especially, would get very upset and asking why would you allow him to treat you like this. I really wanted to be able to show them at some point women have to be strong and stand up for what you believe in and so eventually they did that with the character. I thought that was commendable, that the Producers listened to what the fans wanted.
Jason King asks You played the role of Afton for three and a half years, the first time round. I enjoyed your final appearance on the episode “Killer At Large”, which focused on Bobby’s shooting …..It gave the character a chance to be in the limelight one last time, since Afton was the one who found Bobby unconscious.
I think for most of the previous season, Afton had merely become Cliff’s long suffering girlfriend. Do you think the producers could have come up with some more story-lines for her, or had the character run her full course?
Audrey Landers – That’s a great question and in-keeping with what I was just talking about. I do think they could have come up with a lot more. There were new directors coming in and out, we had new writers and I think everyone was trying to feel out what would work the best and they didn’t want to change things too much because it was working so well. I think they could have found a lot more for Afton to do because Afton had gone through such a range already in just those first four years. Having gone from that gold digger with no moral conscious to being this caring. loving, supportive woman. If the writers wanted to, they could have come up with new and exciting things but at that point they were fishing for new characters but maybe this time around we’ll have that chance (laughs).
Peter Ellis asks I loved your performance as Afton, especially the singing sequences! I wondered if you were happy with your character’s exit from the show ?
Audrey Landers – (Laughs) No I wasn’t happy with Afton’s exit from the show. You know Audrey, I the person, loved being on the show and I wished they had given Afton something more spectacular. But the good thing about Afton’s exit is that it always left room for a return.
Katie P asks It’s great you have joined Twitter. Is it really you tweeting? Do you feel it’s important to interact with the fans. I saw you chatted to Ken Kercheval and Morgan Brittany?
Audrey Landers – (Laughing) It is me Tweeting and I really do love Twitter. I’m so new to it, I keep thinking I’m going to make some mistake but I am enjoying it and I really love the fact I’m able to interact with fans. It’s like immediate feedback and I don’t tweet as much as a I could, I haven’t put it on my phone yet. But I really do enjoy it. It’s a great way to reach out and keep in touch with my fans.
Hedda asks Your son Daniel Landers was in the X-Factor in the Netherlands. How did that come about? What was it like?
Audrey Landers - Well the X Factor was a really amazing experience and it came about because Daniel had released a song called “Find Another You” and by the miracle of the Internet this viral thing happened and it became hugely popular in the Netherlands. As a result of that the Producers of the X Factor asked if Daniel would be interested in auditioning. It was quite an intriguing possibility and quite a challenging one considering we are in the United States and this was happening live in the Netherlands. Daniel was very excited to go up for the challenge and it started out with fifteen thousand contestants and he made it into the final four. As a mother I was part of it, I had to be so totally supportive. I traveled with him, we commuted every week so he could compete on the live shows.
It was really very difficult, we did it for a few months and Daniel had the most amazing experience growing as a person, I couldn’t of been more proud of him. The fact he went so so far in the competition, it was a mutual decision as he couldn’t continue commuting and graduate High School. He wouldn’t of been able to do both so it was a mutual decision between them and him that he would leave the show.
Helmi in Sweden asks If you could travel back in time what piece of advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
Audrey Landers – I would tell that younger version of myself to enjoy every minute, to appreciate the moment, to not be so critical and to take more pictures (laughs). As odd as it sounds we never took photographs when we were on the set. We had no personal photographs
UD – Yeah. Steve Kanaly is one of the few who appeared to take photos.
Audrey Landers – I have no personal pictures, none, from all those years on the show. There were times when I would bring a camera and someone would say “Oh Audrey put that away you are acting like a fan” (laughs). My main advice is to appreciate every moment, when you get caught up in the stress everyday on a set like that you forget to appreciate how wonderful it is and nothing in life lasts forever. That is something a lot of young people don’t grasp.
Liam asks Did you have any bad days on Dallas where you came home and wanted to quit? Like run ins with directors etc?
Audrey Landers – In all honesty I never had a day like that on Dallas, I had days like that on other shows that I did, seriously there were other shows, other films I worked on where I did come home crying and say I didn’t want to go back tomorrow but never never never on Dallas.
UD – That’s very good to hear, well not good on those other shows, but good on Dallas (laughs)
Audrey Landers - For example on the movie ‘A Chorus Line’ on some of the rehearsals my feet were bleeding at the end of the day because I was dancing so hard and perhaps I wasn’t quite getting the moves. By the time I got back to my apartment at night it was like how am I going to be up at six in the morning to start this.
UD – You were on several iconic shows – Dallas of course, Charlie’s Angels, Happy Days.
Audrey Landers – I did some really fun shows, I don’t know if you know The Cosby Show, that wasn’t as much fun. That was one of those shows I went home and said ‘I don’t know if I can do this tomorrow’ (laughs). They changed the scripts five minutes before the audience showed up, five minutes before the live audience. That was a little bit nerve-racking. But it was a great learning experience. Fantasy Islands were really fun shows to do, I don’t know if all my fans remember those but Fantasy Island were fun because I got to work with so many great stars like in one of my episodes I worked with Sammy Davis Junior. You could really play out the craziest characters like I played an eithy three year old woman in an episode whose dream it was to go back to her days as a Ziegfeld girl at age twenty. I got to play both characters.
UD – I’ll have to look on YouTube for that
Audrey Landers - It might be but I do actually have a sill from that one (laughs) You know what is a fun one to check out on YouTube, I did a Macgyver episode and it’s called Higher Life, it’s the opening of that episode where I play this crazy rock and roll girl and I also play her twin sister who is a very sedate artist. It’s really fun to watch, I even like that one because I like the performance. I didn’t write the song but a famous writer did. That was a fun episode.
Ricky Peters asks How will you be spending Christmas? Do you have a family sing song around the piano?
Audrey Landers – Well we will be spending Christmas with the whole family, which is the most important thing and we do have a piano (laughs) and a lot of musically talented people in the family so you can be sure we’ll be singing around the piano. But we don’t only do that at Christmas, we do that anytime we are together.
Shelly asks We never saw Christmas on Dallas? What do you think it would be like? What would you buy JR?
Audrey Landers - (laughs) Oh my goodness I just got a very naughty thought so let me think about this (laughs). I think if they had a Christmas episode on Dallas and Afton was getting something for JR that would mean they are sneaking around and seeing each-other, therefore I think her gift to JR would be herself wrapped in a ribbon and probably show up in something very sexy underneath the coat. (laughs)
UD – (laughs) Excellent. Very good. So apart from the possibility of Dallas, fingers crossed, what do you have coming up?
Audrey Landers - Well I have a few things that I’m working on. I have a fashion collection called the Landers Star Collection in the UK on QVC and in other countries as well. It’s something I love to do. It’s a company that I have with my mom Ruth Landers which we started about four years ago. We’ve been designing glamorous fashion for women of all ages, affordable glamor. We spend time in New York with our design team and thats one of our fun and important projects.
Audrey Landers - I am producing my son Daniel’s music which has been very rewarding and it’s a very enriching experience working with my son, who I think is so talented and helping him achieve his goals. That takes a lot of effort being a Producer, especially with a family member. Sometimes it’s like doing math homework with your own child. But I’m getting good at it, as my mother did with me.
Suddenly proceedings are interrupted by the loud sound of squeaking
UD – I do apologize. It’s the puppy, she’s having a moment.
Audrey Landers – Awww. Is she ok? It’s like having a little baby in the house. I’m petting my two little babies right now. My dogs are sleeping nice and quietly listening
UD -She’s fine but I wish she was sleeping quietly
Audrey Landers - I have two dogs, they are four years old now but they still act like crazy puppies. I’m a tremendous animal advocate and I love animals and I do a lot of volunteer work with animal shelters and adoption agencies and I try to find homes and foster homes for dogs until we can place them. It’s kind of a passion of mine as well.
UD -Thank you so much as usual. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Audrey Landers – I’m sure we’ll chat about things as we go along. But there are always lots of other projects. I’m writing a new film right now, I’m directing and producing some music videos.
UD – Wow. Where do you find the time to do all of this?
Audrey Landers -(Laughs) It’s hard. You kind of have to be organized and have a passion for what you do.
UD – Well thank you so much. I hope we see you back in Dallas, that would be amazing.
Audrey Landers – Yeah it would be amazing. I really hope things work out that way and I’m pulling for the show because I think it’s going to be exciting in any event.
Audrey Landers Christmas Album You Came To Me On Christmas is available now on iTunes