One of my personal favorites in the history of primetime soaps is ‘Dallas’, which stands as the most successful one on television. I could easily rewatch the entire series just to relish the pleasure of seeing Victoria Principal.
Victoria, renowned for her iconic portrayal of Pamela Barnes Ewing, was undoubtedly one of the main reasons why people tuned in to ‘Dallas’. Alongside her, Larry Hagman, who portrayed the ruthless oil baron J.R. Ewing, captivated audiences.
Today, Victoria celebrates her 73rd birthday, and I guarantee you’ll be amazed when you see her latest photos. This timeless beauty, Victoria Principal, has always been a multi-talented individual throughout her illustrious career, excelling as an actress, author, producer, and even venturing into the realm of skincare entrepreneurship.
Perhaps her versatility can be attributed to her upbringing, as Victoria experienced a nomadic childhood, constantly adapting to new environments.
Victoria Ree Principal was born on January 3, 1950, in Japan, where her father, a United States Air Force Sergeant, was stationed in the city of Fukuoka. The early months of her life were spent on Japanese soil. During her childhood, her family relocated frequently due to her father’s military service. Victoria and her mother journeyed through a series of U.S. Air Force bases, living in England, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Florida, and other places. Her educational journey was equally eventful, attending a total of 17 different schools, including the prestigious Royal Ballet School in England.
Determining whether her childhood was genuinely happy or not is difficult, as there are conflicting reports. The Daily Mail, in 2009, described Victoria’s relationship with her mother, Ree Principal, as complicated and stated that she had characterized her childhood as miserable. However, in a 2012 interview with the Huffington Post, Victoria was asked what she would have liked to know earlier in her life, to which she replied, “I wish I had known my childhood would end.” An often-quoted remark attributed to Victoria Principal is, “I was very lucky. My parents raised me in such a way that it never occurred to me that I wasn’t equal.” Despite the contrasting narratives, it is clear that Victoria began working at a remarkably young age, landing her first job in a television commercial at the age of five.
When Victoria enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College in 1968, it seemed that she was headed toward an entirely different career path—medicine. If circumstances had played out differently, Victoria may have become a doctor. However, fate intervened when she was involved in a horrific car crash just months before completing her first year of college. The accident left her with serious injuries, requiring months of rest and rehabilitation. Regrettably, she missed crucial months of college and faced the prospect of retaking her first year of studies.
It was during this time that Victoria made a momentous decision to alter the course of her life. She relocated to New York City to pursue a career in acting instead. After gaining experience in acting and modeling in New York and Europe, Victoria settled in Los Angeles in 1971, where she set her sights on prominent film roles.
Her breakthrough came when she secured a role in John Huston’s western film, ‘The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean’. In the movie, Victoria portrayed the mistress of the main character, Roy Bean, portrayed by Paul Newman. Hollywood began to take notice of her undeniable talent, leading to a Golden Globe nomination for best newcomer and increasing recognition in the industry.
“People started inviting me to parties. I thought these people really liked me, but I found out I was only a hot meal ticket,” Victoria candidly revealed to People magazine.
“I pursued success out of a fear of getting hurt. I developed a tough exterior, becoming fiercely protective of myself,” she candidly shared with People magazine.
In 1974, Victoria made a notable appearance in the disaster film ‘Earthquake’, which proved to be a tremendous box office success at the time.
However, in 1975, while working on the action film ‘Vigilante Force’, Victoria experienced a profound sense of unease. Overwhelmed by the pressure to maintain a flawless image, she reached a breaking point.
“I realized I was so unhappy that I didn’t want to go on living,” Victoria explained.
Determined to escape the world of feature films, she made a bold decision to pursue a career in law. From 1975 to 1977, she earned a living as a talent agent, a role that provided a much-needed respite for Victoria. Throughout her life, the focus had always been on her appearance and physique. As an agent, she finally felt valued for her words and actions.
It was during her time as an agent that Victoria first encountered the television series ‘Dallas’. While she had previously received offers to return to acting, it wasn’t until she received the script for ‘Dallas’ that she reassessed her long-term aspirations.
“I had left acting to become an agent and was on my way to law school when a friend dropped off a ‘Dallas’ script. After reading it, I knew my life had changed—I was destined for that role. So, I called the casting director and said, ‘I’m sending someone in.’ She asked, ‘Who?’ I replied, ‘Just write down my name. It will be a surprise.’ And indeed, it was a surprise—I showed up as myself! I auditioned for the part!” Victoria recounted.
As we all know, Victoria successfully landed the role of Pamela Barnes Ewing, and the rest is history. She had a strong conviction that ‘Dallas’ would become a hit.
“When I auditioned for the part on ‘Dallas’, I had already fallen in love with the show and the character. From the moment I read the script, I knew it was incredibly special, and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. I couldn’t fathom not being Pam,” she expressed. It felt as if she was destined to play that role, as Victoria shared with People magazine.
Armed with her industry knowledge, she negotiated her own contract with CBS. This granted her the freedom to explore other projects while ‘Dallas’ conquered the world and captured the hearts of millions.
“As a result, in retrospect, I was the only cast member who did commercials, appeared in TV movies, wrote books—all of which were my own. I retained control and ownership of my image. No one owned me,” she asserted.
When ‘Dallas’ premiered in 1978, it swiftly became one of the greatest television dramas of all time. Describing the immense popularity of ‘Dallas’ at the time is challenging—today’s younger generation may struggle to comprehend how a soap opera could become a global phenomenon that mattered to virtually everyone.
The series revolved around the Ewings, a wealthy and contentious Texan family involved in the oil and cattle-ranching industries.
Victoria Principal was 28 when ‘Dallas’ debuted, and her portrayal of Pamela Barnes Ewing played a pivotal role in the show’s worldwide success. As the stunning wife of Bobby Ewing and the sister-in-law of J.R., she became the object of adoration for an entire generation.
During her nine-year tenure on ‘Dallas’, Victoria garnered a Golden Globe nomination and two Soap Opera Digest Awards.
In recent years, she has shared behind-the-scenes details and spoken about her relationship with the iconic actor Larry Hagman, who portrayed J.R.
However, Victoria didn’t develop close relationships with her fellow cast members.
“We would occasionally have phone calls, but we didn’t really socialize or hang out. We had different lives. When I started the show, Patrick was married and starting a family, Steve was married and starting a family, Larry was married with children, Linda was married with children. I was single. So, we had very different lifestyles,” Victoria explained to People magazine.
Victoria Principal made the decision to leave the popular TV series ‘Dallas’ in 1987 for various reasons.
“A lot of effort has been put into keeping Victoria Principal separate from Pam Ewing. If I stayed on the show any longer, it would solidify my fate in the industry,” she explained to the New York Times in 1987. Victoria even turned down a substantial contract that would have made her the highest-paid actress on television at that time.
“The first five years on ‘Dallas’ were unbelievably wonderful. However, when some key writers left, the quality of the writing declined by the seventh year. That decline played a significant role in my decision to leave. During contract renegotiations in the seventh year, I informed the producers that I would only stay for two more years. They wanted a longer contract, but I declined. I was completely transparent. Playing Pam taught me a lot. She had inherent goodness and courage in fighting for her beliefs. It was truly a privilege to portray her,” she revealed to Entertainment Weekly.
Following her departure from ‘Dallas’, Victoria could have easily retired, but instead, she took a leap and heavily invested in her own skincare company called Principal Secret, which she launched in 1984. While she still made appearances in some TV movies, her primary focus was building a skincare empire.
Since its inception, the company has experienced remarkable success, generating over $1.5 billion in revenue. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Victoria Principal’s net worth is a staggering $350 million.
However, none of this would have been possible without the success of ‘Dallas’.
“I remain passionately dedicated to running my skincare company, Principal Secret. We are about to celebrate 27 years in business. And I never forget that ‘Dallas’ provided the platform for me to achieve so many of my dreams,” Principal shared with TV Insider in 2018. One year after the interview, Victoria announced her departure from the company to focus full-time on philanthropic endeavors through The Victoria Principal Foundation for Thoughtful Existence and her animal rescue work.
The former actress now dedicates her time to philanthropy, and her foundation has made significant donations over the years. For instance, she donated a fleet of rescue boats to the American Humane Society following Hurricane Harvey in 2018 and contributed $25,000 to fire restoration efforts after the California Wildfires in the same year.
In her personal life, Victoria has been married and divorced twice, which is relatively common for a Hollywood star.
“No one who ever dated me has ever said an unkind thing about me. I’ve probably had fewer relationships than many in my 33 years, but no one will ever believe it,” Victoria stated emphatically to People in 1983.
Victoria Principal first met her first husband, Christopher Skinner, on the set of ‘Dallas’. Skinner, a young actor seven years her junior, and Victoria began dating in 1978 and got married after only three dates. However, their marriage ended in divorce after two years, with Victoria citing her demanding 75-hour workweeks as a factor.
Following her first marriage, Victoria had a high-profile relationship with English singer-songwriter Andy Gibb. Despite their strong chemistry and love for each other, Gibb’s lifestyle and addiction became too challenging for Victoria.
”I did everything I could to help him, but then I told him he would have to choose between me and his problem,” Victoria said after Gibb’s passing in 1998.
In 1983, Victoria fell in love with a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Harry Glassman. The couple tied the knot in 1985, in Dallas, Texas.
Despite being married to a plastic surgeon, Victoria Principal denied using her husband’s services to maintain her youthful appearance in a 2007 interview.
“I have never had a face-lift, professional peel, or laser treatment,” she clarified.
Victoria Principal does not have any children of her own but developed a close relationship with her ex-husband Dr. Harry Glassman’s two children, Andrew and Brooke, from a previous relationship. Principal and Glassman divorced in December 2006 after over 20 years of a loving relationship, according to Principal’s statement.
As of 2022, Victoria Principal is 71 years old and actively engages with her followers on social media platforms. Based on her Facebook page, it appears that she spends a significant amount of time at her ranch outside Los Angeles, where she focuses on rehabilitating animals.
Seeing Victoria’s current appearance brings tears of joy. With over 300,000 followers on Facebook, she shares glimpses of her life, including photos and short videos from her ranch and occasional throwback pictures from her time on ‘Dallas’ and her acting career. It’s natural for everyone’s appearance to change over time, and Victoria’s evolution reflects the journey of life.
Victoria, you are truly one of the most stunning women, both inside and out! Your beauty, kindness, sweetness, strength, and inspiration are exemplary. May you always receive the best and experience boundless happiness in life. Your love and care for animals are beyond words. Share this article on Facebook if you agree!