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What was your favorite memory or experience when Dallas was really on fire?
Being the King. Being King is nice. And Ms Gray was the Queen. We were living like stars in the ’20s. You could get a good seat in a restaurant. (he laughs) You could get a good seat anywhere, and still can.
You’ve mentioned that twentysomethings might not know Dallas, why do you think this new incarnation will appeal to people who maybe never watched the old series?
Well, we have a younger group of people [in it] too who are their age. These are not young actors with no experience, these kids are well trained, they know what they’re doing. And they’re all gorgeous.
Has JR finally met his match in this new generation?
We shall see!
How has the city of Dallas changed since you were last working there?
You wouldn’t know there was a recession going on. They’re building more buildings, they’re just flourishing down there, from what I can see. I’m sure there are a lot of poor people hanging around without jobs, but what I saw was affluence.
And a lot of the crew who worked on the original show are working on this. That’s where it’s fun coming back into the family. They’re grandfathers now; they’re all old farts like me, it’s wonderful.
People are angry at the rich and corporations right now. Is JR the right guy to head a TV series?
I think you’ve got to realize when Dallas was really hot, when it got going, we were in a major recession, and people couldn’t go out and get a babysitter and have dinner and go to a movie. They couldn’t afford it.
So they had to stay in on Friday nights and watch something, and we were it, and here we are again.
Also, JR is a guy who goes out and does it himself. He’ll use corporations, but he’s not a big corporation.
What keeps you going at 80, because this business can be a grind?
Experience. Knowing when to rest and when to use your energy. They are very good to me, I only work either in the morning or the afternoon. I’m not one of those 10-hour-a-day guys.
How are you doing health-wise? Late last year you announced you had a treatable form of cancer?
They gave me a little time off, but in this business you can shoot three or four shows at the same time. My treatments are going along very well, and I’ve been fine. I worked yesterday. I had three major scenes and did very well too, I must say.
Have you ever thought about retiring?
God, wouldn’t be great to do another ten years? I’ll be ninety-f-cking-years-old! Hell yes, I can see myself doing this that long.
Can you imagine anyone playing this role other than you?
Well, they were talking about John Travolta when they were going to do a film of it, and he would be great. He’s a wonderful actor. I did Primary Colors with him, and he was wonderful to work with. He could play the hell out of it… but I’m better at it!