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Pamela originated as a fiery and fearless female, and nine years later
Victoria exited the show in a fiery car crash. In between, the gorgeous
brunette -- arguably the most beautiful woman on the small screen at the
time -- co-starred in the most popular prime time soap in TV history.

Pamela battled the Ewings, the oil-rich Texas tycoon family, especially
JR Ewing (Larry Hagman), married Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) twice,
and confronted troubles that women must cope with on soaps: divorce,
death, infidelity, and miscarriage.
When “Dallas” first aired as a five-part mini-series in April 1978, Victoria and Duffy were penciled in as the stars at Southfork, but as the popularity of Hagman's  immoral JR soared, he became the focus of the series and Pamela's character mellowed to offset the oil baron's evilness.

"Something happened that I can understand from a business standpoint,” Victoria said in an interview with “No one expected JR to take off like he did...Suddenly they had this character that was really evil but incredibly mesmerizing and they needed some goodness to balance that. And they chose Pam to be the moral compass."

“The writers felt, and I certainly understand for the benefit of the show, that Pam had to become more and more good,” she added in an interview with

"I think that the Pamela that was written and the Pamela that I played the first year was the closest to me. As the years went on and she was pasteurized, there were elements of me but less so.”
She moved to Hollywood in 1970, as she has famously said, “I arrived in California with no job, no car, and no money, but, like millions of other girls, a dream.”

A year later she won her first movie role as a Mexican mistress in “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” starring Paul Newman and Ava Gardner, and directed by John Huston. She earned a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer.
"I thought it would be interesting if I cut off my waist length, long dark hair and permed it into an ethnic hairstyle,” she told

“I think we all probably turned in good auditions but the hair is what put them over. It was my hair [and not a wig] during the entire movie. We had to go back and do re-shoots for the movie, I think half a year later, so it had to be a wig because I was not going to do that again.”

Victoria appeared in several more movies in the mid-1970s until she abandoned acting to become a Hollywood agent. She intended to obtain her law degree but couldn't afford the tuition for law school.

Victoria was looking for part time work when television mogul Aaron Spelling called and asked her to act in a pilot for “Fantasy Island.”

She explained that she needed money for law school and he offered to pay the first year's tuition if she would take the role. She appeared in the pilot and a clause in her contract said that she wasn't obligated to work in the weekly series.
Victoria Principal Pamela Barnes Ewing "Dallas"
Victoria Principal Pamela Barnes Ewing "Dallas"
Victoria Principal Pamela Barnes Ewing "Dallas"
Victoria Principal Pamela Barnes Ewing "Dallas"
Classic TV Beauties

No. 8
Classic TV Beauties 1970s Countdown
VICTORIA PRINCIPAL as Pamela Barnes Ewing in "Dallas"
Although “Dallas” featured numerous characters, Pamela remained a central player during Victoria's time on the show. “Dallas” was a phenomenal ratings success. The show was either No. 1 or No. 2 for five straight seasons (1980-84), and the “Who Shot JR?” episode in 1980 was the highest rated television episode in history at the time – it's now No. 3 – and was watched by 83 million Americans.

An Air Force brat, Victoria was born in Japan and lived all over the world during her early years. She aspired to become an actor since she was a young child, and when she was 5 she appeared in her first commercial.
Victoria was still an agent when she auditioned for “Dallas,” In fact, the casting director didn't realize that Victoria herself was auditioning; she thought Victoria was bringing an acting client.

The first actress to read for the Pam role, Victoria said she'll never forget filming her first scene in the cold winter of 1978.

“In the Mercedes with the top down. Patrick and I stop at the gas station and he kisses me and we had to do it several times because our lips kept sticking together. We were frozen,” she told “He and I never forgot that first day, that first scene.”

An astute businesswoman who negotiated her own contracts, Victoria was the only cast member of “Dallas” who bargained for the right to appear in commercials and movies during the TV show's run.

And because Victoria grew weary of being showcased in a bathing suit, she re-negotiated her contract to limit the number of her swimsuit appearances per season.
“I was flattered that the producers enjoyed my figure,” she said, “But I felt I had more to offer than just swimming in every episode.”

By the mid 1980s, Victoria felt that the quality of the show was declining and she made plans to move on to other projects.

“I never envisioned that 'Dallas' would be my career, I felt that it was a job” she said in the interview. “I had told the producers and the network that I would be leaving in 1987...the network and Lorimar offered me the most money in the history of television for a woman. It would have made me the highest paid actress on television had I accepted the offer. [But] it was time to go and I found out a lot about myself. I can't be bought.”

In 1989 she created the now-famous Principal Secret, a line of skin care products that has amassed more than $1 billion in sales. Victoria has also written four books about beauty and health.
Victoria Principal "Dallas" Pamela Ewing
"Imagine your first movie,” she told “I'd moved to Hollywood three days prior to my 21st birthday and nine months later I'm making this movie with some of the greatest actors in film and on stage.

"I would work and then I would go to my room. I was afraid to leave for fear if there was anything they didn't like about my work and they saw me leaving the room, they would fire me because I wasn't paying attention."

In 1974 when she made a huge impression when she auditioned for “Earthquake.”  Victoria and two other actresses were vying for a role, and when she returned for her third audition she had cut off her long hair, dyed it black and styled into an Afro.
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