Interview With Audrey Landers Afton Cooper On Iconic TV Show Dallas

Posted: 01/31/2014 in Dallas, Television

Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson

MW: Please introduce yourself?
AL: Hi! I’m Audrey Landers.

MW: What made you get into the entertainment business?
AL: It has always been my passion- ever since I was a child. I got my first taste of show biz when I would accompany my mom, who was a model, to her jobs. We did a commercial together when I was 3 years old! But soon after that, my mom gave up the biz– She actually had to earn a living😉 Still, I participated in all the school plays. I coaxed my mom into taking me  to my first audition when I was 9 years old– for the musical version of a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz– I played Toto– the dog.

MW: Yo have done many TV shows which 5 our your favorite?
AL: The Huggabug Club– my award -winning musical educational children’s TV series– I co wrote the 200 original songs in the series, co wrote the scripts for 50 half- hour episodes,and I edited the series– not to mention also playing “Miss Audrey” in the show! My mom, who is my business partner in many ventures, produced the series and donated it  to public television stations for  years.

I loved “Fantasy Island” because I always had the opportunity to play diverse characters in each of the episodes.

I’m also proud of my performance in a MacGyver episode in which I played 2 parts- twins– and I sang a cool rock song, “Higher Life.”

“A Chorus Line:The Movie”– well, just incredible to have  worked with Sir Richard Attenborough and Michael Douglas.

Hmm, let’s see… This is a tough question- to have to choose 5 out of the hundreds of shows I have done– I have to look at my IMDB to remind myself! OK… “Ghost Writer”- produced by my mom– a really fun adventure movie–Fun working with my sister, Judy– Plus Lots of my music was featured throughout the film as background music.

MW: When did you start doing music?
AL: Well, I began singing very early on– I remember being about 5 years old, and hoping I would be “discovered” as a singer.

MW: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
AL: I began by writing poetry when I was about 11 or 12.  I wrote my first real songs when I was on the daytime drama, ‘The Secret Storm,” at about age 13 or 14. I had my first record, a country song I wrote, called ‘The Apple Don’t Fall Far From the Tree”- released on Epic Records, when I was about 15 or so.

MW: What has been your favorite music moment?
AL: Of course getting my first gold record presentation in Paris, France in 1983 was a great memory. And of course the subsequent 10 gold or platinum singles and albums over the next few years was amazing. But my favorite moment on stage was a couple of years ago, when I sang a duet with my son, Daniel, at a New Years Eve show in Europe, live to an audience of 10,000 and broadcast live to 9 countries.

MW: Tell me about being in A Chorus Line?
AL: It was challenging, to say the least. I was cast in my role much later than the rest of the cast. They had already been in rehearsals for 2 months when I joined the cast. I was not a formally trained dancer when I was chosen for the role of Val; so I had to work many extra hours rehearsing to get caught up. While everyone else dance rehearsal was  9 am to 5 pm, my rehearsals started at 6 am and ended at 9 pm. It was worth it, because I did all my own dancing in the film :))

MW: Did you think it would be as iconic role years later?
AL: No, definitely not. I was not all that familiar with the Broadway Show at that time. In fact, I didn’t want to see the show until after I had completed filming my dance number because I didn’t want to be influenced by another performer. When I did see the show, I understood its potential to have a special a place in musical theater history. I think that while I was filming the movie, I was just very focused on giving my best performance.

MW: How did you get the role of Afton Cooper on Dallas?
AL: I auditioned for the role, along with hundreds of other Hollywood hopefuls🙂 I wasn’t sure I would be right for the role because up to that point,I had always been cast as the wholesome girl next door (I played Betty– not Veronica– in the Archie Comics.)

MW: Did you think it would last over 84 episode and a Dallas TV movie?
AL: No! Afton was only scheduled for 2 episodes. However, the producers and writers must have seen some greater potential for the character of Afton once I stepped into her shoes. And of course, the audience was very loyal to Afton.

MW: What was your favorite episode to do of Dallas?
AL: I couldn’t really choose one. My character evolved so much over 8 years’ time. I always loved the episodes when Afton sang — especially since she sang the songs that Audrey wrote😉

MW: Tell me about working with Larry Hagman?
AL: He was great to work with– always bigger than life!

MW: Tell me about working with Patrick Duffy?
AL: Also wonderful to work with. I’m sure everyone talks about the pranks and jokes, though I was not a jokester myself. I took my job way too seriously! I really enjoy working with him in the new Dallas TNT. He’s easy going o the set.

MW: Tell me about working with Linda Grey?
AL: Also great–She’s beautiful, elegant , and fun to work with.

MW: Tell me about working with Victoria Principal?
AL: We all got along really well– A very harmonious set- filled with wonderful actors. The  beautiful women were all confident enough to be able to enjoy one another’s company.

MW: Tell me about working with Ken Kercheval?
AL: Kenny and I had some amazing scenes together– Some very poignant, romantic scenes– some raging with anger– We had a great chemistry together– and the audience seemed to love the conflict.

MW: What did you think of the whole Who Shot JR episode?
AL: I was very new to the series then. It was a legendary cliffhanger!

MW: What did you think when Dallas went of the air?
AL: I was disappointed, as were so many fans. I was already involved in other projects, but it still felt like the end of an era.

MW: Then when Dallas was rebooted in the second season you came back. How did that come about?
AL: I really do believe that the fans had a lot to do with Afton’s return. There were blogs and fan pages and twitter accounts asking for Afton’s return.

MW: Were you excited when you were asked to come back to Dallas?
AL: Of course! I’m a little disappointed that they kind of dropped the ball, after introducing Afton in a powerful way.

MW: Will we see you on Dallas in season 3?
AL: I certainly hope so!

MW: Do you remember the moment when you were told Larry Hagman had died?
AL: Yes… Very sad….

MW: Give me a Larry Hagman story?
AL: Larry was full  of pranks. My first day of filming on the show was a scene with JR in bed at Lucy’s wedding. I was very nervous, as you can imagine. The scene began with us coming out of an embrace. At the moment so the director, Len Katzman, called “Action!” Larry discreetly grabbed a handful of ice from the prop ice bucket and covered me with ice cubes. I was the newbie — the serious actor, so I did all I could not to jump up- and I continued my lines bareky flinching. However, the rest of the crew had been in on the joke setup, so they all began to laugh, knowing what I was desperately trying to conceal. Thankfully, Len called “Cut!”Larry really did know how to “break the ice.”

MW: What do you have on tap for the rest of 2013?
AL: I will be traveling to London with my mom (business partner)- for our fashion collection, Landers STAR Collection on QVC UK. Also I will continue to work with my son, Daniel, as he writes songs for his upcoming album. He and I produce his tracks together.

MW: Will you be doing any conventions this year?
AL: I will probably be doing an autograph show this year– I’m very new to that circuit- It’s a great way to connect with fans.

MW: How can your fans reach out to you?
AL: The best places are: on twitter @AudreyLanders and facebook Facebook.com/AudreyLandersOfficial, and on my website AudreyLanders.com

MW: What would you like to say in closing?
AL: I really want to say thank you to all my fans for supporting my work throughout the years. It really means a lot to me xoxo

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