Next to Mr. T, no one conjures up fond memories of the Reagan era better than Dallas starlet Charlene Tilton. As J.R. Ewing's nubile niece Lucy, the now 43-year-old actress was all hair and shoulder pads and weren't we a better generation for it? These days, Tilton is attempting to revive her career with a leading role in the Los Angeles stage comedy Tell Veronica!, in which she plays a talk-show hostess "who stops at nothing to reveal her guests' secrets." In keeping with that theme, TV Guide Online pumped the petite spitfire for a bunch of random gossip.
TV Guide Online: When you had your big Dallas mane, how many hours ahead of everybody else did you have to show up to get your hair done?
Charlene Tilton: All the women were called in at the same time... but my hairdresser did become one of my best friends. When he curled my hair, sometimes it took him three sets of rollers. I have a lot of hair! It took about an hour.
TVGO: Did you and your female co-stars subscribe to that old Texas adage, "The higher the hair, the closer to God?"
Tilton: That's one of my favorite sayings! I've always said that and I still believe it. That's my motto.
TVGO: Given your height, how excited were you when the Spice Girls brought platform shoes back in style?
Tilton: Oh, I never let them go out. The spiked heels are so uncomfortable. Everyone wears platform shoes they're not as sexy, but they're definitely more practical. I'm 5'2" 5'5" with platforms.
TVGO: Are you hoarding any crazy Dallas memorabilia to sell on eBay for your retirement fund?
Tilton: No, I wish! I hear the script for that "Who Shot J.R.?" episode, with all the castmembers' signatures, is worth a lot of money. But I kept nothing. Except I still love shoulder pads, blue eyeshadow and thick lip gloss. So there!
TVGO: Speaking of lips, the world is dying to know this... or at least it was 20 years ago: Is your Dallas co-star Christopher Atkins a good kisser?
Tilton: Hmm... I'm trying to think if I kissed him on the show. Did I? Well, I guess that answers your question if I can't remember if I kissed him or not! God, I kissed so many people on that show. I always thought Victoria Principal was pretty lucky to kiss Patrick Duffy. I never got to do that! Patrick's pretty darn cute, but he played my uncle.
TVGO: You recently penned a gossip column for the Globe. Ever have a bad run-in with a celeb over something you wrote?
Tilton: All the feedback was great, except that one thing upset somebody. I can't say who. Not because it was mean it was a nice [item], but they thought it was a very private thing. Oddly enough, I didn't even remember it going into the column, so it was really kind of my fault. I felt horrible and then I stopped working there. But I had a great time while I was there for two years.
TVGO: Okay, tell us one juicy piece of Dallas dirt that never made the tabs.
Tilton: A lot of our scenes took place around the dining table... Oh my God, the food fights that broke out were a riot! Larry Hagman [J.R.] would start it and we'd go from there. It was fun. It was mostly during rehearsals, so we had time to go clean up.
Tell Veronica! opens Friday at The Hudson Theater in Los Angeles.