Linda Ann Gray (born September 12, 1940) is an American screen and stage actress, director, producer and former model.
Gray is best known for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the long-running CBS television series Dallas (1978–1989), for which she was nominated for two Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She played a leading role on the Fox drama series Models Inc. from 1994 to 1995, played roles in several made-for-TV movies, appeared on movies like Oscar and Expecting Mary and performed in stage productions such as The Graduate and Terms of Endearment. As of 2012 she starred in the TNT series Dallas.
Linda Ann Gray was born in Santa Monica, California. Before acting Gray worked as a model in the 1960s, and began her acting career in television commercials – nearly 400 of them – and also made brief appearances in feature films, such as Under the Yum Yum Tree and Palm Springs Weekend in 1963.
Gray began her professional acting career in the 1970s, with guest roles on many television series such as Marcus Welby, M.D., McCloud and Switch. She also appeared in the films The Big Rip-Off (1975) and Dogs (1976).
In 1977, she was cast as fashion model Linda Murkland, the first transgender series regular on American television, in the television series All That Glitters. The show, a spoof of the soap opera format, was cancelled after just 13 weeks. Gray was then cast as suspicious wife Carla Cord in the 1977 television movie Murder in Peyton Place.
Gray achieved stardom for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing, J.R.'s long-suffering alcoholic wife, in the CBS drama series Dallas (1978–89, 1991). Initially a recurring guest role for the five-episode first series, Gray became a series regular later in 1978 and remained with the show until 1989. Her character was well received by television critics. The Biography Channel said, "Who could ever forget Dallas with the gin-swilling Sue Ellen Ewing, replete with shoulder pads long before Dynasty, staggering around Southfork Ranch with a permanently tearful expression as she suffered the brunt of J.R. Ewing’s evil ways?" The Boulevard magazine said, "It may be 2009 and seventeen years since the primetime drama Dallas went off the air, but memories of the Ewing family still linger. Corruption and betrayal, lies, greed, affairs and scandal—all were just part of another day at the Southfork Ranch. At the center of it all was one of our favorite Ewings, the person we couldn't help but root for each week as she drank and slept her way through one ordeal after another. This, of course, was the tortured and (sometimes) villainous Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing, former Texas beauty queen and trophy wife of the womanizing rogue J.R. Ewing, played to perfection by actress Linda Gray." Gray was nominated for two Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance on Dallas. She also received numerous international awards including Germany’s Bambi Award, Italy’s Il Gato and she was named Woman of the Year by the Hollywood Radio & Television Society in 1982.
After Dallas, Gray starred in the 1991 comedy film Oscar with Sylvester Stallone and then made guest appearances in British drama Lovejoy (starring her co-star and love interest from her final series on Dallas, Ian McShane). She also starred in several made-for-TV movies, including 1991's The Entertainers (with Bob Newhart), Bonanza: The Return (1993), Moment of Truth: Why My Daughter (1993), and Accidental Meeting (1994).
In 1994, she made several guest appearances on the Fox network prime time soap opera Melrose Place. She appeared in four episodes as businesswoman Hillary Michaels, the mother of Amanda Woodward (played by Heather Locklear). She played a leading role on the Melrose Place spin-off Models Inc., but the show only lasted a single season.
Gray appeared in the Dallas reunion television movies Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) and Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998), but in the following years did not appear in movies or on television.
In 2001, Gray portrayed Mrs. Robinson in the West End theatre production of Charles Webb's The Graduate. This brought her full circle, as her legs (not Ann Bancroft's) were the ones in the famous scene in the movie The Graduate where Mrs. Robinson's legs are admired by Dustin Hoffman. Gray made her theater directing debut with play Murder in the First, and other acting stage work includes Terms of Endearment, The Vagina Monologues, Agnes of God and Love Letters.
Gray returned to television in 2004 as a guest star in five episodes daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, playing Priscilla Kelly.
Gray starred in several independent films, including the award-winning drama Reflections of a Life (2006), where she played the best friend of a woman undergoing treatment for breast cancer; Expecting Mary (2010); The Flight of the Swan (2011); and Hidden Moon (2012).
In 2008, Gray appeared in The CW series 90210, which, like Melrose Place and Models Inc. before it, is a spin-off from the original Beverly Hills, 90210. Gray has now appeared in three of the five series in the franchise, though her role in 90210 was not Hillary Michaels, the character she played on Melrose Place (1992) and Models Inc.
In 2012, Gray reprised her role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the TNT drama series Dallas, a continuation of the original series.
Gray was married for 21 years to Ed Thrasher, an art director and photographer who designed many iconic album covers throughout the 60s and 70s. The marriage resulted in two children: Jeff Thrasher and Kehly Sloane. Gray also has two grandsons, Ryder and Jack Sloane. Her younger sister, Betty, died in 1989 from breast cancer. Gray was also the aunt (by marriage) of actress Lindsay Wagner, best known as The Bionic Woman. She resides in Los Angeles, California.