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Linda Gray of Dallas' on the road to happiness'

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In her new memoir, actress Linda Gray recounts a story from early in her career when a magazine editor shot her a frosty rejection after a modeling audition. 'Perhaps one day you might shape into something,' he wrote.

When you've overcome childhood polio, a rude note from a stranger is a walk in the park.

Best known for portrayal of survivor Sue Ellen Ewing during 13 seasons of 'Dallas,' Gray's life story, 'The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction' (Regan Arts) reads a lot like a survival kit, albeit one chock-full of optimism and humor with just the right amount of juicy Hollywood-insider scuttlebutt.

'The bookisrevealing, but what are memoirs for?' Gray told me in a recent phone interview. "I've heard from many, including close friends, who tell me that they are surprised at some of the details in the book.'

Gray says that when she was approached by her publisher to finally write about her life, she realized that most people didn't know the real story.

'People know Sue Ellen Ewing very well because we were in your homes, but they don't know anything about me. I said, OK, let's do it. Why not?' I've had a wonderful life and it's one that people can certainly relate to.'

'Dallas' was a life-changing experience for Gray in many ways. In her book, she writes about being trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage for 16 years. Openly defying her husband's rules, she took an acting class, which ultimately led to her big break at age 38.

'It was huge,' Gray told me. 'In 1978, there were a group of unemployed actors in a room in Burbank. We had been cast to play these Texans. With the exception of Mr. Hagman (Larry, who played J.R. Ewing and Gray's best friend for 35 years) none of us had been to Texas. We read the scripts and shot five shows at the beginning. Then we didn't think anything of it. They loved it, so we started filming in the fall and the rest is history.'

'The Road to Happiness' also contains tips and information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and youthful appearance. At 75, Gray appears at least 25 years younger.

'I do reveal some things in the book,' she says. 'The publisher had wanted me to share some secrets, and we call them the goody bag.' You know when you go to a function and they give you a goody bag? There are some things in the book that I think women will appreciate.'

She writes about strengthening and detoxifying the body and focusing on sustaining a positive mental outlook.

'I have two words that I really love choose wisely,' Gray says. 'We have a choice every moment of every day on how we're going to react to anything. Who do we hang out with? What are the thoughts that we think? What food do we put in our mouths? I want people to know that I've made many, many choices and some of them were wiser than others. Some weren't so good at all.'

I asked Gray if she considers her life one that is still under construction. 'Yes. I ask everyone who is listening, isn't your life always under construction? I know you've had detours, speed bumps and pot holes like all of us. Every life has a story.'

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 19:35

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