Patrick Duffy biography
Patrick Duffy is best known for playing Bobby Ewing on the hit drama Dallas. He landed the role after starring in the 1976 sci-fi TV series Man From Atlantis. Duffy played good brother, Bobby Ewing, on Dallas from the show's debut in 1978 until he left the show in 1985 to pursue other roles. When ratings declined, he was convinced to return to the series in 1986 for another six years, pausing briefly to take a personal leave after his parents were tragically murdered during a robbery. He also starred in the 1990s sitcom Step by Step, and reprised the role of Bobby Ewing in the 2012 reboot of the nighttime soap Dallas.
Actor Patrick Duffy was born on March 17, 1949, in Townsend, Montana. Although he has played many other roles, Patrick Duffy will always be remembered for his portrayal of Bobby Ewing on the hit primetime drama Dallas.
Duffy grew up in a small town where his parents ran a tavern and struggled to make ends meet. After high school, Duffy enrolled in the drama program at University of Washington, graduating in 1971.
He eventually moved to Los Angeles and spent several years trying to make it as an actor. His big break came in 1976 when he landed the lead in the science fiction series, Man From Atlantis. At the time, Duffy was cash strapped. "I didn't have enough money to buy a swimming suit, so I had to do it in my underwear," he explained to People magazine, describing his audition for the series.
On the show, Duffy played Mark Harris, a being from the lost continent of Atlantis who was discovered unconscious on a beach by a research scientist. While he looked human, Harris had webbed hands and feet. He could only spend a certain amount of time out of the water before returning to breathe. The show only lasted a season, airing from the fall of 1977 to the following spring.
Bobby Ewing in 'Dallas'
Right after Man From Atlantis, Duffy quickly assumed his most famous role of good guy Bobby Ewing on Dallas, a drama centered around a wealthy Texas family. Jim Davis and Barbara Bel Geddes played the Ewing family patriarch and matriarch Jock and Miss Ellie. Larry Hagman played his ruthless older brother J. R. and Linda Gray played J. R.’s long suffering wife Sue Ellen. In addition to the sibling rivalry, the show also featured the ups and downs of Bobby Ewing's relationship with his wife Pamela played by Victoria Principal.
While not an immediate hit, Dallas eventually became one of primetime's top shows and a pop culture sensation. At the end of the 1979-1980 season, audiences across America wondered "Who Shot J. R.?" when the show's villain was attacked by an unknown assailant. By 1985, despite the popularity of the show, Duffy had tired of always playing the nice guy and even publicly described his character as "boring." He left the series, wanting more adventurous lead parts.
At the end of that season, his character Bobby was killed off, or so viewers thought.
After Duffy's departure, Dallas took a dive in the ratings. He was convinced to return to the show, and the series writers explained away Bobby's earlier death in a famous shower scene where Duffy's character reappeared and his demise was described as "only a dream." While this tactic was not popular with everyone, it has become a noted part of television history.
Not long after returning to Dallas, Duffy suffered a great personal tragedy. His parents, Terrence and Babe, were killed during a robbery attempt at their tavern in Boulder, Montana. Out of respect for his parents, production on Dallas was stopped briefly.
Starring in 'Step by Step'
Dallas finally wrapped up in 1991 after 10 seasons. Without skipping a beat, Duffy moved on to the situation comedy Step by Step. He co-starred with Suzanne Somers in this domestic comedy about a blended family. The characters each had three children from previous relationships, but were polar opposites offering up lots of punchlines. While it was fairly light fare, the show proved to be popular, lasting for seven years.
Since that time, Duffy has made guest appearances on numerous television series such as Touched by an Angel and Reba. In 2006, he began a recurring role on the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful.
Return to 'Dallas'
Duffy, along with fellow Dallas original cast members Linda Gray and Larry Hagman, reprised their roles in the 2012 television reboot of the show. In the new version of Dallas, Duffy's character Bobby has a new wife, played by Brenda Strong, and a son, played by Jesse Metcalfe. His feud with his villainous brother J.R., played by Larry Hagman, continued in the series. On his official website Duffy wrote of the new Dallas: "I can't be happier with everything concerned with the show. First and foremost the fact that I get to work with my two best friends Larry and Linda once again."
Sadly, in November 2012, months after the new Dallas debuted, Hagman died due to complications from cancer. Duffy tweeted about his onscreen brother's death: "My friend is taking a break. . .Love Patrick."
Off-screen, Duffy has been writing a trilogy of science fiction books based on Man from Atlantis. He has been married to his wife Carlyn since 1974. The couple has two children, Padraic and Conor.