Dallas star Linda Gray compares Donald Trump to JR Ewing

Dallas star Linda Gray compared Donald Trump to JR Ewing, the fictional oil baron and villain from the revered US soap.

Set in Texas, Dallas centred on a wealthy and feuding family, the Ewings, with Gray playing the glamorous Sue Ellen opposite Larry Hagman as her scheming husband JR.

Despite Dallas celebrating its 40th anniversary earlier this year, Gray dismissed the idea a character like JR would not be a hit with viewers today and said Mr Trump, who was a well-known tycoon before entering the White House, reminds her of her on-screen husband.

Linda Gray has opened up on her career in the US soap Dallas (Lime Pictures/PA)

She told the Press Association: “We have a president like that. There are personalities like that around the world, it’s not just here.

“It’s that kind of big personality; the ego, the money, the deals and the philandering.

“I am talking about personalities, bigger-than-life personalities. Like JR, it’s all about the deal – how can we do this? How can we manoeuvre this?

“I find a lot of people who have an enormous amount of money, they have a lot of influence, they can influence a lot of people by the way they control things.”

Dallas originally aired between 1978 and 1991, while a reboot in 2012 failed to match the success of the original run, finishing after two years.

Larry Hagman starred as JR Ewing in Dallas (Ian West/PA)

It is one of the most successful TV shows in American history and was also a huge smash in the UK. The ‘who shot JR?’ storyline remains one of its best known.

Gray puts Dallas’ popularity down to viewers’ fascination with problems of the wealthy.

She said: “It’s the great question everyone asks. It was perfect timing and people wanted to see the rich Americans with all the problems. Everyone wants to think in their minds that if you have all the money in the world and the cars and the businesses then you have no problems.

“But you could point to these rich Americans who had heaps and heaps of problems so it was lovely for them to see because their own lives looked quite lovely by comparison.

“And it was also great entertainment that took them out of their daily lives.”

Donald Trump has been compared to Dallas villain JR Ewing (Niall Carson/PA)

Gray, 78, has enjoyed a successful showbiz career spanning six decades, starring alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone.

She also appeared in Hollyoaks in 2016. Gray described Hagman, who died aged 81 in 2012 following a battle with cancer, as her “best friend for 37 years” as well as her “brother”.

When the pair were appearing on Dallas together, Gray said Hagman was paid more than her – something she would not allow today.

She said: “If it happened now to me, I would be right in there saying, ‘Mr Hagman and I get equal pay’.

“It happened on our show (unequal pay) but it wasn’t about gender at all. It was probably me because I was so excited to have a job that I loved. So grateful that I thought I’ve never had this money, this is lovely money.

“Now, if this show were to start tomorrow, it would be entirely different. I would say, ‘excuse me Mr Hagman, I am getting the same as you’. That’s what would happen today”.

Gray said she still had a passion for acting, adding: “That’s why I am still doing what I am doing, because I still love it. The moment that thing goes out, I am doing something else, but it is not dead yet.”

Gray, who was born in Santa Monica, California, has been made a goodwill ambassador for the city of Dallas in recognition of her work on the soap.

She said she is “so honoured” with the role and that she “loves the city”.

- Press Association

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