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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PATRICK DUFFY?

Byline: Greg Hernandez

Staff Writer

Patrick Duffy made his first big splash on television in the late 1970s as the amphibious superhero on "Man From Atlantis."

But it was his role as Bobby Ewing on "Dallas" that made him a household name. He starred with Larry Hagman, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray and the rest of the prime-time soap's large cast during most of its historic run from 1978-91.

After a few years, Duffy decided to leave the show and filmed a scene in which he "died." Fans were upset at his departure.

"After the episode aired, a few days later I went shopping and a woman accosted me in the parking lot of Gelson's," Duffy recalled in a phone interview Tuesday. "She was wailing and crying and saying: How could you die?"'

Duffy was persuaded to return to Dallas, and writers had to figure out a way to bring him back. In a plot twist that required viewers to suspend disbelief, writers made his death and the entire 1985-86 season, a really bad dream.

He was reintroduced to viewers when Pam Ewing (Principal) opened the shower door, sees Bobby lathering up and tells him of her nightmare.

"That resurrected another three years of my life on the show and I appreciated it to no end," he said. "Anytime you can be even a small percentage connected to an iconic moment in TV, it's like a little Medal of Honor.

"I feel the same way about the shower scene and I know Larry feels the same way about the 'Who Shot J.R.?' episode."

Duffy, 59, moved from Los Angeles six years ago to his ranch in Oregon. He returned to L.A. to film episodes of "Bold and the Beautiful" on which he has a recurring role. He's also taking on new challenges like hosting "Bingo America" on the Game Show Network.

"It's a different set of muscles," he said of hosting compared with acting. "It's something I felt that I could do but it took about 4-5 shows before I really felt I was confident. The activity is relentless and you have nothing to fall back on. It's all you."

He's enjoying the gig ("I love giving away other people's money") and hopes to return for a second season.

Duffy, after all, is a man used to long runs. He and wife Carlyn have been married 34 years, "Dallas" ran more than a decade, and he starred for seven years on the ABC sitcom "Step By Step" with Suzanne Somers.

"It was the most fortunate set of circumstances to go from working with my best friend Larry Hagman then I met Suzanne Somers and she became my new Larry Hagman (on 'Step By Step')," Duffy said. "We stay in touch with each other and we love each other. When I'm in L.A., Linda, Larry and I still have our lunches and dinners. But I can't tell you where."

greg.hernandez@dailynews.com

818-713-3758

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1) THEN

Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes, Duffy in "Dallas" in 1983

(2 -- color) NOW

Patrick Duffy at British Academy Television Awards in April
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 7, 2008
Words:524
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