|Born:||January 3, 1950|
|Spouse(s):||Christopher Skinner (m. 1978–1980)|
Harry Glassman (m. 1985–2006)
|Years active:||1971-2001 (as actress)|
1987–present (as entrepreneur)
(or involved with):
|Dallas (first series)|
|Appeared as:||Pamela Barnes Ewing|
|Episodes appeared in
|series regular, 251 episodes|
Victoria Principal (born January 3, 1950) originated the role of Pamela Barnes Ewing on the CBS_TV series Dallas. She spent nine years on the long-running series, leaving in 1987. Afterward, she began her own production company, Victoria Principal Productions, focusing mostly on television films. In the mid-1980s, she became interested in natural beauty therapies, and in 1989, she created a self-named line of skincare products, Principal Secret.
Principal became a best-selling author, writing three books about beauty, skincare, fitness, well-being, and health: The Body Principal (1983), The Beauty Principal (1984), and The Diet Principal (1987). In the 2000s, she wrote a fourth book, Living Principal (2001). After 12 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list in the general nonfiction category, The Body Principal was the first "Advice, How-To, and Miscellaneous" number-one bestseller when that list debuted January 1, 1984. In 2018, Principal is in the process of writing her fifth book, as yet untitled.
Early Life and Career[edit | edit source]
Principal was born in Fukuoka, Japan, the eldest daughter of United States Air Force sergeant Victor Principal, after whom she was named and who was then stationed in Fukuoka. Her paternal grandparents were emigrants from Italy, originally surnamed Principale. Her mother, the former Bertha Ree Veal, was born in Georgia and was of English descent. Because her father was in the US military, they moved often; she grew up in London, Puerto Rico, Florida, Massachusetts, and Georgia, among other places. She attended 17 different schools, including studying at the Royal Academy of Ballet while her family was stationed in England.
She began her career in TV commercials, appearing in her first at age five. After graduating from South Dade Senior High School in 1968, she enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College, intending to study medicine. However, months before completing her first year of studies, she was seriously injured in a car crash while driving home from the library. The other driver was convicted of drunk driving and served jail time. Principal spent months in recovery and was faced with the prospect of having to take her first year of studies over again. After a period of serious introspection, she drastically changed her life by moving to New York City to pursue her acting career, and shortly thereafter to Europe. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and then in 1971 moved to Los Angeles.
In 1970, Victoria moved to Hollywood. She had no money, no car, no agent, and no prior television or movie-making experiences beside the commercials she had made in her teenage years. She supported herself by teaching backgammon, which she had learned while living in London, that was becoming a popular game played by many in Hollywood. Nine months later Principal had a car, an agent, still little money but auditioned and won her first film role as Marie Elena, a Mexican mistress, in Paul Newman's The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), for which she earned a Golden Globe Nomination as Most Promising Newcomer.
Because of the response to Principal's footage in the film, the role was enlarged on a daily basis by the writer, John Milius. Producers, agents, and other interested parties began showing up at the remote location in Benson, Arizona. For the most part they were showing up to sign Principal to her next film. During this period of time Warren Cowan flew in, introduced himself to Principal, and offered to represent her free of charge for the next year. Principal has been a client of Rogers & Cowan ever since. She flew to Arizona a complete unknown; when she returned to Los Angeles three months later, the commercial flight she was on was greeted by throngs of paparazzi. Subsequently, she appeared in The Naked Ape (1973) with Johnny Crawford and appeared nude in Playboy magazine to promote the film. The film's failure disappointed her.
In 1974, she was cast in the disaster film Earthquake. Although the role had been narrowed down to three actresses, Principal won the role when she showed up for the third audition having cut off her waist-length brown hair, dyed it black, and put it into an afro. The producer was stunned and impressed by Principal's risky transformation in order to look more closely like the Italian character Rosa. Principal won the part in that moment. She continued to act in lesser-known films such as I Will, I Will...for Now and Vigilante Force with Kris Kristofferson. She was given a three-picture deal with Brute Productions. However, Principal decided to stop acting and became an agent, which was her profession from 1975 to late 1977.
In 1977, Aaron Spelling offered her a role in the pilot of his television series, ABC-TV's Fantasy Island, which she accepted. Soon after, in 1978, she landed her most famous role, playing Pamela Barnes Ewing in the 1978 CBS-TV evening soap opera television series Dallas, which started as a 5-part minseries April of that year, during the 1977-78 TV season, before it was made into a TV series the next season (1978-79). In 1983, she earned a Golden Globe Nomination as Best Actress in a Television Series for her role in Dallas.
While starring in Dallas, Victoria did commercials for Jhirmack Shampoo.
After nine seasons, Victoria left Dallas in 1987. She went on to star in various made-for-television movies such as Mistress, Blind Witness, Naked Lie, Sparks: The Price of Passion, and Don't Touch My Daughter, a few of which she co-produced. In 1994, she appeared in an episode of the hit sitcom Home Improvement. Principal returned to primetime soap operas in 2000, when she appeared in another Aaron Spelling production, the short-lived NBC-TV series Titans.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Principal met Christopher Skinner in 1978 when he played a bit role on Dallas. Soon after, they married but divorced two years later in 1980. She dated teen idol Andy Gibb after meeting him on The John Davidson Show in 1981. The two hit it off immediately and she sang a duet with Gibb. A year later, she gave him an ultimatum: "Choose me or choose drugs". Principal split with Gibb in March 1982.
Principal married Harry Glassman in June 1985. The couple divorced in December 2006 with Principal stating, "We have had a loving relationship for over 20 years". She later moved to Malibu, California. She also owns homes in Big Sur, California, and Switzerland.
In 2006, Principal formed a charitable organization to help subsidize the environmental movement, which she had been a part of since 1978.
In 2007 it was reported that she was training for her booked flight on Richard Branson's commercial space flight venture. Principal stated, "Going into space fulfills many desires I have of seeing the planet, going fast, going someplace very few people have been — and hopefully coming back down!" Principal and Branson held a joint worldwide press conference in New Mexico where the space center is to be built.
References[edit | edit source]
- Born January 3, 1950 as per travel manifests at ancestry.com, showing Vicki R. Principal and her mother, Ree V. Principal here, departing Southampton, England, on January 20, 1958, for New York (age given for Vicki R. Principal is 8; birthdate is January 3, 1950) (registration required)
- This travel manifest for Vicki R. Principal and her mother, Ree V. Principal, shows that on April 8, 1950, Principal's age was given as two months on a travel manifest leaving Yokohama, Japan to Seattle, Washington (registration required)
- Rachel Brown. Victoria Principal Launches Reclaim Botanical Skin Care. Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved on 2014 December 16.
- The New York Times Book Review Best Sellers, The New York Times, January 1, 1984, pg. BR28
- 'Dallas' at 40: Victoria Principal Remembers the Classic Drama on Landmark Anniversary. Retrieved on 2018 June 4.
- Winners & Nominees 1983. Retrieved on 2018 June 4.
- Golden Globes (USA) 1973. Retrieved on 2018 June 4.