Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Linda Gray of `Dallas' Moves to a New Soap

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Linda Gray of `Dallas' Moves to a New Soap

Article excerpt

FOR Linda Gray, her new role as the owner of a Hollywood modeling agency on "Models Inc.," the ballyhooed new Fox-TV series that debuts with a 90-minute episode at 8 tonight, is a bit like going home.

That's because she spent more than 15 years as a top model before starting her 11-year stint as the beleaguered Sue Ellen Ewing on the nighttime soap, "Dallas."

"I started doing modeling work in high school as a part-time job and I put myself through college at UCLA modeling," Gray says as she gets set for a day's filming. "I know what this business is all about."

She also knows models are a lot higher-profile today than when she did it.

"Everyone knows the top models' names, and people are fascinated by the lifestyle and the clothes. It's big business right now, and the girls are bigger than life. So as usual, Aaron Spelling's timing is perfect. But we'll show people that these models are human, that it's not all glamour.

"It'll be just like it was with `Dallas,' where we showed them that having wealth doesn't solve all your problems the way most people think it does."

Gray's new show is the latest effort from Spelling, who departed from his usual casting methods when he picked her to play hard-driving Hillary Michaels, who's also mom to Heather Locklear's "Melrose Place" character Amanda.

Spelling normally casts unknowns in his ensemble shows, which have included "The Love Boat," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty." The rest of the "Models Inc." cast is just as anonymous as Jaclyn Smith was before "Charlie's Angels" or Shannen Doherty before "90210."

"He wanted me for the part and I was delighted because I'm a working actress," she says. "He didn't even have me read for it. And I've always wanted to work with Spelling. I refer to him as a genius. His timing is never wrong. I'm absolutely sure this show will be a hit because it has all the elements, including people who are different and beautiful. These kids are going to be household words before you know it, just like the people on Spelling's other shows."

But Gray isn't yet willing to say making "Models Inc." is more fun than "Dallas" was.

"You make your own enjoyment," she says. …

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