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Leigh McCloskey  exclusive Dallas official interview

Interviewer - Welcome Leigh to Ultimate Dallas and thank you for taking the time to answer questions from the fans. Let's kick off with a question from MrsJREWING

MrsJREWING (kristin)) in Virginia Beach asks What was it like the first day you walked on the set and who were the first cast members to greet you?

Leigh - The first time I walked onto a set connected with Dallas was at the height of 'Who shot JR'. I played a parking valet at a hotel, I remember walking onto the set, it was a large scene, there was a lot of people around.

Interviewer - The scene was with Charlene?

Leigh - I believe that's where I parked her car. She comes up, I park her car and we make contact and that's the first sparkle in each others eye (laughs)

Joann in Paris asks Hi Leigh ! how are you ? When Lucy and you got married, did you know it wouldn't work? Had the scriptwriters planned the divorce? (sorry for the mistakes but I'm French and don't speak english very well!!!) Good luck !

Leigh - I didn't have a feeling about it one way or the other. I knew it was the next step but on a soap opera that really is a done deal. I knew there had to be trouble ahead (laughs). It's a soap opera, you have happily ever after? No

Dan in the UK asks Leigh , there were talks of a spin-off showing involving Lucy, and i believe Mitch? Did you ever hear anything about this from anyone personally, or was it all just rumors? And if it had happened, would you of been happy to do it?

Leigh - (laughs) That bypassed me. I wish I had heard that but no

Garrett in LA asks I'm curious as to why the role of "Mitch" was so short-lived in relation to the prominence the role could have been given; i.e. as the spouse of a main character (Lucy). When you accepted the role, was it for a stated length of time going in (e.g. 1 season maximum), or did the character just naturally fade away once the writers decided to pursue a storyline involving the divorce of Lucy and Mitch?

Leigh - When I accepted the role they wanted to create a storyline for young people. So that was really the main motivation, trying to connect with the younger audience. It was really presented as open ended, there was no termination date. From what I understand the character was extremely popular but they made the decision that after two years not to continue.

Teri in Massachusetts asks What did you like the most about playing Mitch in Dallas and how did you like being in Dallas

Leigh - It was a very interesting experience being on a show that popular and the public so aware of everything connected with that show. It was more of a general enjoyment in the sense it was a very interesting experience. I can't name any one thing, it's been a while.

Clinton in Mississippi asks I am a longtime fan of yours and wondered what it was like to be on 'dallas' during some of the series most popular seasons?

Leigh - The level of interest and intensity in terms of people wanting to know or feeling that they knew you. There was such a world wide recognition of the character. It was more of the energy, there is a different energy around something that is very popular because what Dallas did was move beyond sight specific recognition, like Friends or Frasier, you don't have to have ever seen the show but you recognize the stars of the show and that's what happened to Dallas. A very interesting experience.

Leyla asks Were the writer's on DALLAS open to suggestions from the actors on which directions to take the characters? I feel like they could've done so much more with Mitch.

Leigh - I agree with that comment. I wish they had developed the character. As a more mature actor now I wish I had been more proactive in fleshing out the character in a way to remain a good character rather than a nice character, nice is not interesting to play. He's so nice (Yawn).

Hafsteinn in Iceland asks Which Dallas-actor was most fun to work with, who was most memorable?

Leigh - The most memorable had to be the combination of both Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, they were hysterical and crazy. The person I probably had the most enjoyable conversations with were Linda Gray and Audrey Landers who played my sister Afton.

Dawn Harvey in US asks Did you encounter much diva attitude during your run on Dallas or was it one big happy family as we are told?

Leigh - (Laughs) Yes and no. Not a diva in the traditional sense that someone has an ego problem but the level of popularity with some of the actors did make them a bit larger than life which was probably understandable given the situation. I don't know if you would call that a diva, someone who is playing the role for the fans as well.

Interviewer - When you say 'Larger than life' in what respect?

Leigh - Larry was very much larger than life, he'd wear these huge hats. But what is interesting about Larry is he was always that way. My dad knew him in the 60's, Larry was always eccentric and it wasn't a matter of he suddenly got rich, he was a quirky individual. I think being on a popular show it became more noticeable but that was his nature. He would put on a good show, keep them interested (laughs). For the most part it was like a college dorm.

Pamela in London asks Some Dallas actors who came into the show later on said they felt uncomfortable by the closeness of some of the long term cast members, for example Donna Reed felt out on the edge. Did you witness this?

Leigh - I always felt like an outsider, I never felt part of the inner circle. I joined the cast after it became so so popular and they had taken a journey to get there. Its like going to college together, you are just chums and you can't break into that. When you are on a night time soap you are showing up for work one day a week, so its not as though you are constantly with each other. I felt more of an observer than a participant.

Matthew in UK asks What was it like working with Charlene Tilton?

Leigh - I would almost say there were phases of Charlene, if I could put it that way. When I started on the show she was very very young and her immaturity was reflected in that. I had come from a theatre background, so I was very interested as an actor trying to work out what we were doing and she was just not of that background. We were from two very different universes in terms of approach, she would not want to rehearse and I would love to rehearse, it was difficult at times. Then we started to get more into each others rhythm. It was interesting when I came back, because I loved the show, I found that much had changed in Charlene, she has become much more mature, much more sure of herself and much more willing to respond to rehearsing and so on. So there was not just one version, in the sense of the maturing of a girl actress into a serious or a more aware actress.

James in London asks I think your contributions to Barbara Curran's book, "25 Years of DALLAS" are fascinating. In the book, you describe the change in atmosphere when you returned to DALLAS in 1985. "It didn't have the same hub. It was more business-like." Do you recall any specific examples of this change? Why do you think the atmosphere had changed in this way?

Leigh - I think possibly it was after the plush so to speak and what had been a team effort, everyone pulling together, had started to fray. People would go off to their own trailers, there was not this sense of congeniality. People were still friends, don't get me wrong. It's very interesting working over the years, you realize that the Producers and the actors do set the tone, you feel it in the air. It's like anybody in their work situation, you work for some people and everyone getting along and then you work for others and its more neurotic and like everyone's a bit on edge, you never feel completely relaxed. It was more of the latter, I just saw people were not as relaxed. Maybe they were concerned about their jobs, maybe there had been firings, I don't know but there was something that is made more 'watch your back'.

Interviewer- that was the season Donna Reed was on the show

Leigh - I think certain people were unhappy with certain things. I think when Barbara left and Donna came there was a change. I know that Donna was very unhappy, discontent, that was an interesting development. Coming in was like sticking your finger in the air and going "Today's weather feels.....". I can't say I was an expert on it but when I was there it seemed people were unhappy.

Pauline in UK asks I remember seeing you in a Fall Guy episode with Lee Majors, you were singing C+W! Do you have a good voice!?

Leigh - (Laughs) I have often said if I had to sing for my supper I would starve to death but people say I am being far to hard on myself and I do have a nice voice. I just don't have much confidence in it.

Pauline also asks. What was it like to work with 2 of my favs - Barbara Bel Geddes and Jim Davis?

Leigh - Jim Davis was one of the most noble, beautiful, salt of the earth men I have ever had the privilege to spend time with. He really was the heart of Dallas. I think Jim's death really was the end of the golden age of Dallas, he really was the father of everybody. When he was sick he would never let on , I remember he said to me "I might be dying but its better to be going out on top then to never have done it", wonderful.
He was not conceited, which you get with some younger actors. Barbara I found fascinating, we had some wonderful conversations, I adored Barbara. What I loved about both of them was they were old school Hollywood and they had that depth of feeling to who they were.

Lisa McEwan in Chicago asks How did being in the cast of Dallas help or hurt your career?

Leigh - It was a double edged sword because I had been doing work in the late 70's which had been a lot more dynamic. I played a limited role in Dallas and there was nothing I could really dive into and as an actor that became very frustrating. To a great degree my frustration was because I had such high hopes about it and I just couldn't get this character into gear and I felt when I watched it 'My god I look liked I'm bored`. My frustration for the role was showing and that concerned me because that had never happened to me before. But that also started me really moving toward my art work, my drawing and my writing, I really sought solace elsewhere creatively. So Dallas was very important in that regard.

Interviewer- In terms of looking at other options?

Leigh - Its very strange to be recognized, to be become quite famous over work which is not your best. Its sort of like as an artist somebody loving a sketch of yours and you think 'yeah I'm a painter'.

Jan in Pennsylvania asks Are you still in touch with any of the cast ?

Leigh - I did a movie called 'Accidental Meeting' with Linda Gray and I socially run into Linda a number of times, I like Linda very much.

Kwis in Spain asks How would you sum up your time in Dallas?

Leigh - It was a tremendously important period of my life, I learned many things about myself. It created frustration but it also allowed me to have my home here, it shaped my life.

Ted in Orlando asks I read that you are an artist but see yourself as ore of an explorer than artist, what do you mean by that?

Leigh - In other words artists are usually thought of as defining or representing or fleshing out the philosophy of others. Everything I do is an exploration of using creativity into the imaginary or imaginative realm. I'm not so much interested in art, I'm really interested in exploring and bringing a depth or insight to a visual project. I'm trying to introduce the realization that creativity - art or painting - can be looked at as a creative adventure.

Nat in Dundee asks – I am very interested in Tarot, can you tell me how you became interested and about your new book?

Leigh - I was asked by Edwin Steinbrecher who had written a book called 'The inner guide to mediation' and he asked if he could use existing drawings of mine because his work dealt with creative meditation using the Tarot. The Tarot is a series of picture images that relate to how the psyche is if you cut it into 22 slices. It came about as a type of creative challenge, so I took my sense as an actor to this because I wasn't interested in believing in Tarot , in whether it was true or whether it was false. I just went into this as a creative challenge in the same sense as an actor when I play a role I can't believe in the role and I have to find it and embody it. It's an amazing adventure and this book has turned into something I hope people really get involved in. I'm so passionate about this.

Interviewer - Where can you get the book?

Leigh - You can get in from Amazon and on my web site

David Kearny asks I always enjoyed your performances in the movies and on tv. What are you doing these days?

Leigh - I did a mini series called 'Gone but not forgotten', and that stars Scott Glenn, Brooke Shields, Lou Diamond Phillips and Marilu Henner. That's coming up, not sure what channel yet.

Interviewer - Well that's all we have time for at the moment. Thank you so much Leigh

Leigh - Wonderful and good luck. Lets stay in touch.

Many thanks to Leigh McCloskey and everyone who sent in questions.

Apologies to those who did not get a question asked but due to the high number received we are unable to ask them all.

You can check out his web site at Leigh

To purchase Leigh 's book click here

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