HELLO! (UK)

LINDA EVANS

ON DATING, ‘ DYNASTY’ AND DIVING BACK IN FRONT OF THE CAMERAS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 24 YEARS

- INTERVIEW: EMILY HORAN PHOTOS: JONAS MOHR/ AGENCYCALL PHOTO ASSISTANT & ADDITIONAL PHOTOS: MELANIE REISERT

At her rural US estate, the former Dynasty star on her return to acting at 78

Nestled deep in the Washington countrysid­e in the US north-west, the serene 70-acre oasis Linda Evans calls home seems a world away from the Hollywood hubbub she inhabited when she starred in one of the most-watched TV shows of all time.

And as the Golden Globe-winning actress throws open the doors of her sprawling rural estate to hello!, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” she tells us. “I’ve created a place where I love to be. It’s perfect to get away from everything when the world is in chaos.” Linda rose to fame in the 1980s, playing Krystle Carrington alongside Joan Collins in the hit US soap opera Dynasty.

But for the past 20 years, the actress has been enjoying secluded bliss in her three-bedroom, threebathr­oom custom-built home on a tranquil estate that also houses her sister, nephew and stepdaught­er Sean, from her marriage to actor John Derek, as well as a guest cottage and even a river.

“It’s so peaceful and beautiful here. I like to sit and look out at nature; the birds, the squirrels, the rabbits that run through – it’s just wonderful. Better than watching TV,” she says. “My dog Alexi loves to swim in the river. I just have to say the word ‘river’ and her ears go up. She’s in heaven.”

ON SET AGAIN

Neverthele­ss, 24 years after her previous acting project, Linda is returning to the big screen with a cameo in Todd Stephens’s poignant new film Swan Song, released in US cinemas this month and out on Apple TV+ later this year.

It tells the story of retired hairdresse­r and care-home resident Pat Pitsenbarg­er, who embarks on an odyssey across his small town to do the hair of his former client, socialite Rita Parker Sloan (Linda), for her funeral.

“To think that, at 78 years of age, I’m going to go back to work is so out of the box,” she says. “I tell other women that getting older doesn’t mean you are useless or that it’s over. You can retire from one way of life, but you have another door to open and more to experience.”

Someone else who no doubt shares that sentiment

‘ I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve created a place where I love to be’

is 88-year-old Dame Joan, who played Krystle’s nemesis Alexis Carrington. They were known for their cat fights on screen, but in real life, Linda is full of admiration for the British star.

“Joan is doing wonderful things. It’s fabulous that she’s out there and working and expressing herself. Joan still has a lot of life in her, and she’s beautiful and active and full of vitality,” she says.

Here, Linda tells hello! about her peaceful life, returning to acting and the valuable lessons she’s learnt from getting older.

Tell us about your home, Linda

“I’d never planned to live here. Back in 2000, a friend of mine was going to buy this estate and then he dropped out of the deal. I came over to see it with him and I just loved the land, so I decided to buy it instead.

“The original plan was to move my family onto the land and build a little one-bedroom house where I could visit. When I’d finished it, I thought: ‘Why don’t I just go and live there?’ So I moved and thought: ‘My goodness, I need more rooms,’ so I just kept adding bedrooms to this house. It’s a real labour of love.”

You’re surrounded by your family…

“When I bought the land, my sister said: ‘Oh, I wanna have a little house on there.’ And I said: ‘Great, go and have a little house.’ My sister is to the left of me, my nephew is in the other corner and my stepdaught­er from John Derek has a place in the other corner.

“We’re close by, but not that close – we still have to drive to see each other!”

How would you describe the decor?

“It’s country. I wanted a house that would have lots of light, so that’s why I custom-built it and put 11ft ceilings in. There’s only one wall in every room that doesn’t have glass. I wanted to be able to see the greenery changing with the seasons, something we didn’t have in California.

“My favourite room is the sunroom, painted in terracotta, because it’s all glass. Being in here is peaceful. It’s great for reading and having friends over and sitting and talking.

“I hand-picked every one of the trees [except the firs] on the property and had cranes come in and bring them in. In summer, it’s just the ultimate. To be outside and eat and watch the sun go down – it’s just beautiful here.”

Swan Song

is your first acting project in more than 20 years. What made you come back?

“It took my heart. When I read it, I laughed and I cried. I thought this film was a good way to dip my toe back in the water.”

What was your experience like on set?

“We filmed in Sandusky, Ohio, and I had the

‘The original plan was to build a little one-bedroom house, but I just kept adding bedrooms’

best experience. Being out of it for so long, I had heard people say: ‘ The business has changed, it’s so money- oriented and the creativity has gone,’ and I thought: ‘Oh my God, that sounds bad.’

“But when I went to do this little film, there was so much love and passion in it. The people of Sandusky gave Todd locations to film in for free because they believed in him and what he was doing.

“Everyone had such heart for this film. It showed me there is a lot of joy still to be had in the industry.”

Tell us about your character, Rita…

“Rich – she was the wealthiest woman in town – powerful and not always kind. I just have a scene in the end, but there’s a whole build-up talking about my character throughout the film and then we have this moment.”

Will you act again in the future?

“If something came along that intrigued me, yeah, I’d jump in because it’s so outrageous – to even think, at 78 years of age, I’m going to go back to work is so out of the box. But I’ve been doing it my whole career. I wanted to get married and have children but I couldn’t seem to create that as well as a career.

‘ I grow everything from lettuce and squash to tomatoes and herbs. I could be busy here 24 hours a day’

Things just kept coming at me. I’d retire and then I’d go back to work again.”

How do you feel about ageing?

“Life is a much more beautiful game later on in life.

“I’ve learnt something I longed to know when I was young, and that is self-love. I’ve learnt what it means to love yourself, to become your own best friend, and it is amazing. That’s why I have such a comfort in me. I don’t need much because I’m really a happy person.

“As you get older, you look back on life and you learn the things that seem the worst were actually your greatest teachers. Everything in life has meaning and if you pay attention to it and learn from it, you can see life in a totally different way.

“I think our 50s and 60s are the best years of our life. Women glow in their 50s. I’ve travelled the world as a speaker and I tell women anything is possible.”

What has life taught you about love? Are you in a relationsh­ip?

“I’m happy on my own at the moment. It’s not that a man can’t make you happy – I’ve been so blessed to have such extraordin­ary relationsh­ips and I wouldn’t have missed one of them – but you don’t have to. It’s not a case of either/or; it’s and/and.

“The relationsh­ip itself will be greater when you love yourself and you don’t need another to fill that place.”

You reunited with some of your Dynasty co-stars for a fundraiser in March to help those suffering with long Covid. How was that?

“I hadn’t counted on it being quite so emotional, but when I saw all their beautiful faces, my heart just flew open and I had to stop from crying.

“It was very profound. The memories of the show flooded back and it really touched me.

“It was a very beautiful thing that Emma [Samms, who played her stepdaught­er Fallon on the show] put together. I’m so pleased they raised money for such an important cause.”

What is your fondest memory of the show?

“Definitely working with the cast. We got along so well, in spite of what the newspapers said at the time.

“John [ Forsythe, who played Krystle’s husband Blake] was a dream to work with. He

‘ I’ve learnt what it means to love yourself, to be your own best friend, and it’s amazing’

gave me my first speaking part when I was 15, on a show called Bachelor Father.

“The day he walked on the set of Dynasty, he wrote on my script: ‘ Linda, you’re gonna be somebody someday .’ He was a beautiful human being.

“He and his wife Julie became great friends of mine and we travelled all over Europe together. We had so much fun.”

Do you still lead an active lifestyle?

“I could be busy every day just running this property. It’s like a little city – I have roads, wells, solar panels, fruit trees and a garden to tend to. I grow everything, from lettuce, potatoes and squash to tomatoes and herbs. I could be busy here 24 hours a day.

“I also adore yoga. I wish I’d discovered it earlier. Yoga will keep you marching up a mountain at 85 or 90 years old. You’re building from the inside out. It’s a great investment in your future.”

You love to travel – do you have any trips coming up?

“I love adventure. I learnt to ski when I was 67. You can start things later in life.

“I’m waiting to see what the world’s doing and where it’s opening up before I travel again. There’s a big shift going on in the world at the moment. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where the entire world was affected like this. I am a believer that out of all of this chaos and difficulty, something beautiful is going to be born. I hope we will have a beautiful new world to play in.”

‘ Our 50s and 60s are

the best years of our

life. I’ve travelled the world and I tell women

anything is possible’

‘ I love adventure. I learnt to ski when I was 67. You can start things later in life’

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Linda’s home is a far cry from her heyday appearing with Joan Collins in Dynasty (inset left), with the actress and her dog Alexi living peacefully in a three-bedroom house (above left) on a 70-acre estate in Washington state
Linda’s home is a far cry from her heyday appearing with Joan Collins in Dynasty (inset left), with the actress and her dog Alexi living peacefully in a three-bedroom house (above left) on a 70-acre estate in Washington state
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 ??  ?? French sculptor and artist Aristide Maillol’s small seated Léda statuette is one of Linda’s prized possession­s and adds to the country French look she has cultivated (below)
French sculptor and artist Aristide Maillol’s small seated Léda statuette is one of Linda’s prized possession­s and adds to the country French look she has cultivated (below)
 ??  ?? Only one wall in each room doesn’t have glass, allowing natural light to flood in and 7 Linda to see the beauty of the landscape outside as it changes with the seasons
Only one wall in each room doesn’t have glass, allowing natural light to flood in and 7 Linda to see the beauty of the landscape outside as it changes with the seasons
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 ??  ?? A Maillol nude drawing takes pride of place in the elegant living room, while the kitchen (left) looks out over an intimate dining area (right) – just perfect for the 2009 winner of ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen to entertain. Linda and Joan meet at a
fashion show in 1995 (below)
A Maillol nude drawing takes pride of place in the elegant living room, while the kitchen (left) looks out over an intimate dining area (right) – just perfect for the 2009 winner of ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen to entertain. Linda and Joan meet at a fashion show in 1995 (below)
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 ??  ?? Linda’s favourite room, the sunroom, is a peaceful haven in terracotta that is perfect for relaxing and reading (above and right). A decorative screen makes the perfect divider between the modern kitchen and
the country-chic feel of the rest of the home (left)
Linda’s favourite room, the sunroom, is a peaceful haven in terracotta that is perfect for relaxing and reading (above and right). A decorative screen makes the perfect divider between the modern kitchen and the country-chic feel of the rest of the home (left)
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