Early life, family, educational background
Television personality, actor, and director, Patrick George Duffy was born on 17 March 1949 in Townsend, Montana, USA, to tavern owners Terence and Marie Duffy; he has one sister.
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When he was 12, his family moved to Everett, Washington State, where he studied at Cascade High School, participating in the Pep Club and Drama Club, and becoming known as the ‘Yell King.’ After falling in love with acting, he applied to the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, and of 1,200 applicants, he was one of 12 people accepted. In 1967 he matriculated from Cascade High School. Before he decided to pursue acting, he wanted to become an athlete, and even certified as a scuba diver.
In 1971 he graduated with a BA in Drama from the University of Washington; his degree qualifies him to teach theatre arts.
In his senior year of college, he ruptured his vocal cords. Due to his injury, he created the position of actor-in-residence, and worked as an interpreter for opera, ballet and orchestral companies in Washington. During that time, he taught movement classes and mime.
Family’s personal life
On 18 November 1986, his parents were murdered by two teenage boys, Sean Wentz and Kenneth Miller, during an armed robbery of one of their taverns in Boulder, Montana. Sean and Kenneth were convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison. In 2001, after Sean admitted that he was the sole gunman, Kenneth appeared before the Montana Parole board – he was denied clemency, but in December 2007 was released on parole. Sean was granted parole in 2015.
For a season, Patrick performed at the Old Globe Shakespeare Company in San Diego. He has dabbled in a bit of singing. In 1983 his duet with French singer Mireille Mathieu, “Together We’re Strong,” was a hit single in Europe, in April reaching number five in the Netherlands.
In 1977 he was cast as Mark Harris in “Man from Atlantis,” which was canceled shortly after airing. In an interview with People, he spoke about his audition – ‘I didn’t have enough money to buy a swimming suit, so I had to do it in my underwear.’ His character in the show is a lost being from the continent of Atlantis. He was discovered unconscious by a research scientist on a beach.
Although he mostly looked human, he had webbed feet and hands and could only spend a short amount of time out of the water. The show aired for just one season, from late 1977 to early the following year.
In early 1978 he got his breakthrough, as the youngest son of Miss Ellie, Bobby Ewing, the kindest brother of J.R. Ewing in the CBS primetime soap opera “Dallas.” The drama series is centered around a wealthy Texas family, in which Barbara Bel Geddes played the Ewing family matriarch, Miss Ellie, and Jim Davis the patriarch, Jock. Larry Hagman played Bobby’s older brother, J.R., and Linda Gray played J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen. The show covered essential topics, such as relationship issues and sibling rivalry.
The ups and downs of Bobby and Pamela’s marriage are also featured in the show – Victoria Principal played Pamela. The show was a global success, but Patrick chose to leave the show in 1985, his decision meaning that the writers killed-off his character. After not finding much success outside of the show, he returned in 1986 during the infamous shower scene that made the season between 1985 and 1986 ‘just a dream.’ Although not everyone agreed with the writer’s decision, the scene became a memorable moment in television history, much like the cliffhanger in ‘Who Shot J.R.?’ Patrick remained in the show until 1991 when it ended.
Patrick also appeared in several episodes of “Knots Landing” between 1979 and 1982, which was a spin-off series from “Dallas,” even directing a couple of episodes of the show.
In 1996 he appeared in the reunion television movie, “Dallas: J.R. Returns,”, and in the 1998 reunion movie “Dallas: War of the Ewings”, co-producing both films. In 2004 they reunited once again for the non-fiction television special “Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork.”
In 2012, Patrick, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray got together for the reboot of the “Dallas” series, but in November 2012, Larry passed away from complications of cancer. The show aired from 2012 to 2014.
In the experimental documentary “Hotel Dallas” directed by artist duo Huang and Ungur, Patrick voiced a surreal double of Bobby, named Mr. Here. The documentary premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016.
Patrick played Frank Lambert in the ABC comedy-drama series “Step by Step” from 1991 to 1998, which followed the life of a blended family, the two main characters having three children from previous relationships. The show was well-received and aired for seven years, with Patrick also directing a few episodes of the show. He’s done some voice acting too, and appeared in a live-action scene with Victoria Principal in the series “Family Guy” in a spoof of the infamous shower scene in “Dallas.” He also did voice acting in “Touched by an Angel”, and the television series “Justice League.”
Patrick next starred in the television movies “Desolation Canyon” and “Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door” both in 2006, then from 2006 to 2011, he had the recurring role of Stephen Logan in the CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” In 2014 he played the father of the lead character in the NBC sitcom “Welcome to Sweden.” Patrick was the host of the partially interactive game show, “Bingo America” on GSN from April to July 2008.
Patrick Duffy is no stranger to Hallmark Channel. Do you recall the name of the movie he starred in with Patty Duke and Bruce Boxleitner?
In a Soka Gakkai International Buddhist ceremony on 15 February 1974, he married professional ballerina Carlyn Rosser. The couple met soon after Patrick graduated from college, and was trying to pursue a professional career as an actor, with the aid of his drama degree. He was 24, while Carlyn was 34; they moved to New York, where Patrick acted in off-Broadway plays, and also worked as a carpenter to support himself and his wife financially. From New York, they moved to Hollywood, where, Patrick drove a delivery truck for a florist company, and was cast in a few support roles in television and film. Carlyn was a Buddhist, and when Patrick fell in love with her, he learned more about her religion and decided to convert to Nichiren Buddhism, and would chant Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō with his wife. He wrote a letter to his parents explaining his conversion and his decision to move to New York with his new wife, recalling the contents of the letter in an interview with Digest: ‘Dear Mom and Dad, I’m moving to New York to live with a married 34-year-old ballerina. P.S.: I’m a Buddhist.’
They have two sons together, Padraic Terence Duffy, born in 1974, and Conor Frederick Duffy born on 16 January 1979. All four members of the family were actively involved in Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist organization. In June 2001, Conor graduated from the University of Washington-Seattle with a degree in Drama, and followed in his father’s footsteps into an acting career. In 1996, Padraic graduated from Princeton (NJ) University. Patrick and Carlyn have four grandchildren. On 23 January 2017, Carlyn passed away – her cause of death has not been disclosed to the public, Patrick simply announcing the news in June 2017. Even though he is a widower, Patrick still considers himself married to his wife, and tries to make his late wife proud.
Barbara Bel Geddes passed away on 8 August 2005 from lung cancer.
46 years ago today we fell in love. Still are, Eternally ❤️🙏💃🍀 pic.twitter.com/aCxe2f9XN3
— Patrick Duffy (@therealpduffy) January 2, 2018
After his television mother’s death, Patrick was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, speaking about her loving memory – ‘When Barbara joined the cast of “Dallas,” as Miss Ellie, I considered her to be like Katherine Cornell, Helen Hayes and Ethel Barrymore – a real “name” in American theater… She exhibited no large ego because of her history.’ He spoke admiringly about her work on the show, saying that whether her scene only required her to be in it physically, or she was steering the main topic of the scene, she put her all into her work. Patrick added that the cast and crew called Barbara ‘BBG’ while on set. ‘Larry Hagman was obviously the prow of the boat, but he couldn’t have functioned without a strong mother, and I don’t think there’s been a mother like her on dramatic television since then.’
At the revival of “Dallas” seven years after Barbara’s passing, TV Week released an interview with Patrick. ‘Barbara is a big piece of our history, and it’s important to me to honor her.’
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
- Patrick collects children’s books and antique dolls.
- He plays golf, and has participated in celebrity tournaments.
- His nephew is Barry Zito, a Major League Baseball pitcher.
- He plays the piano.
- In 1991 in the final episode of “Dallas,” his son, Conor, played Little J.R.
- His son, Padraic, played Mark Harris in “”
- Patrick’s character in “Man from Atlantis” was named Mark Harris.
- To bring attention to his potentially fatal penicillin allergy, he wears a medical alert bracelet on his right wrist.
- His parents chose ‘Patrick’ to be his name because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day.
- Carlyn suggested the ‘dream season’ as a way to explain Bobby’s return to “Dallas” after he died in the show.
He is 6ft 2in (1.88m) tall, and weighs around 185lbs (84kgs). He has hazel eyes and naturally brown hair, but it’s turned white.
Net worth and salary
As of early 2020, his net worth is estimated at $14 million.
According to reports, per episode of “Dallas” he earned $75,000. For his continued role on the show from 1986 to 1991, he received a $1 million signing bonus.