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Video: Linda Evans looks back at Hollywood, ‘Dynasty’

  1. Closed captioning of: Linda Evans looks back at Hollywood, ‘Dynasty’

    >>> back now at 8:11, with golden globe winning actress linda evans . she starred as crystal carr carrington in the 1980s . she had her millionaire husband, blake, hook, line and sinker.

    >> heads we get married, tails we don't.

    >> you're joking?

    >> i want you more than anything i've ever wanted.

    >> this is a decision that will affect the rest of our lives. you can't make it on the flip of a coin.

    >> i don't need a quarter to tell me that i love you.

    >> mmm, i like that. linda left the show after nine years. rededicating herself to life out of the spotlight and now out with a new book called "recipes for life, my memories." linda evans good morning to you.

    >> good morning.

    >> so fun to see you and in many ways this book is really fun and it has recipes from so many surprising people.

    >> well, it's not that they were cooks. it's just i went to their house for dinner and loved the food and said can i have the recipe.

    >> for example you have john wayne 's favorite green chili and cheese casserole recipe in here.

    >> yes because his crab dip is the first recipe i ever asked anybody for and got. i was so excited, and the chili cheese recipe you're talking about, his wife pilar said he used to take it when he would go on location and put the recipe in his pocket so the caters could make it for him, he loved it so much.

    >> so many recipes and speaks to the breadth of people this job allowed you to meet. it's a book about your life and memories, including memories about barbara stanwick , rock hudson , the queen of england, pope john paul ii . when you realize the breadth of your life and yet also realize that this was actually something that you fell into this acting thing. what was your original plan?

    >> my original plan was to get married and have kids and, and i was so shy, i wouldn't get up in class and give a book report so they made me take drama, which made me horrified. i used to throw up before i had to get up, i hated it. i was with a girlfriend on a commercial and she was up and the director wanted me to do the commercial. i said i can't do the commercial. he said why not? you can't drink ginger ale and sit on a merry-go-round? i said my girlfriend would kill me. he gave me the part an my girlfriend gave me her agent and he said can you walk, talk and say lines. i said i don't know. he set me up for a show "bachelor father" with john forsyth and gave me my first speaking part.

    >> and there you went.

    >> and there i went.

    >> many of us remember you as crystal to joan collins ' alexis and that hair pulling scene which is so memorable. i mean was it hard to be so hateful to joan collins ? i mean you're pulling her hair. i think she's got --

    >> i loved to do stunts. when you say that, i loved to do stunts. barbara stanwick got me involved in doing stunts when i did " big valley " so this had a lot to do with fun, there was nothing to do with hate, just chore row graphed, fun to do.

    >> looks like you might have gotten some bruises.

    >> i'm telling ul i love to fight physically, joan loved to fight verbally so we each had our own little place. when i got to do a fight i loved it. i don't do that in life. i never beat anybody up.

    >> thank goodness, i like my hair. i am starting to lose it already but i didn't want to lose any more of it.

    >> we didn't hurt each other.

    >> 40 isn't fatal, what would you say about the age you are now?

    >> well i'm 68. i'll be 69 next month.

    >> no.

    >> i love it. i love it. i am the happiest i've ever been in my life. there's a certain amount of wisdom that comes with getting older that i wouldn't trade being young and tight bodied and everything because there's something about the wisdom that we gain that really serves us in life.

    >> and you, if you could say one thing to the young women who are listening, women who are younger than you are, about this search for wisdom, what would it be?

    >> as you get older -- you're meant to be young and you're meant to be exciting and have adventures, but when you get older, if you understand not to discount now people that are older, and i want to say to everyone, let's just create something where we all get to say we respect people that are older and we have a lot to contribute, and they're going to have a lot. don't think of just living 30, 40, 50 years with your kids and everything. think of what you'll do until you're 80 or 90.

    >> linda evans you keep living that life. thank you so much this morning.

    >> thank you.

    >> the book is called "recipes for life" and the excerpts

By
TODAY books
updated 10/11/2011 11:59:55 AM ET 2011-10-11T15:59:55

As the popular star of classic televisions series "The Big Valley" in the ‘60s and "Dynasty" in the ‘80s, actress Linda Evans became a beloved fixture of American pop culture. In "Recipes for Life," Evans looks back at what brought her the greatest joys in her remarkable journey. Here's an excerpt.

Chain Me to a Stove

Friends laugh when I tell them “You could chain me to a stove and I’d be happy.” But it’s the truth. My two favorite things in life are people and food. Combining them by preparing meals for the people I love is simply my recipe for joy.

My whole life I never could say no to food. I’m a mystery to my family. I was called “Bones” by my father when I was young and blessed with an incredible metabolism that allowed me to eat, eat, eat, with little consequences, and I still can. It has been one of the great pleasures of my life.

I started cooking when I was about twenty-three. It was rough going at the beginning, and then I discovered Julia Child’s first cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I was in heaven.

As I continued to experiment and learn and grow, I found it wasn’t just the cooking I was deriving such pleasure from, it was also the cooking for. Finding the right menu for the right person was a wonderful experience, and when I hit it, the alchemy was delicious. Since the first time I cooked something special for someone and saw the joy it gave them, I’ve been hooked. It became my passion, though not my only passion.

Ironically, I never planned to become an actress. I’d always dreamed of having children, a loving husband, and a beautiful home. Destiny definitely took me down a less traditional road. I have had beautiful homes, and two marriages that started off very lovingly, and I’ve been a stepmother instead of a mom. Not exactly what I’d had in mind, but God knows I have no regrets. Life led me in directions I never imagined, but it has always fulfilled my heart’s desire and has given me far more than I ever could have dreamed.

Acting has afforded me a lifetime of meeting remarkable people around the world. Sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve actually dined with kings and queens and presidents, that I’ve been invited to everything from intimate dinners in quaint little villages to the most prestigious restaurants from Paris and Hong Kong to Sydney. I even spent my fortieth birthday in the dining car on the Orient Express en route to Venice.

From "Big Valley" to "Dynasty" and everything in between and since, I have been collecting recipes. Some are from world-renowned chefs, others were handed down through the generations. Some are from friends and celebrities I have known, and, of course, many are from the hundreds of cookbooks I have amassed over the last forty years.

I love experimenting: creating my own versions of recipes and testing them out on my friends. As I’ve said, one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is to prepare their favorite meal. Being able to touch someone’s heart, while doing something I adore, is one of the reasons I so love to cook.

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Since those amazing "Dynasty" days, my life has continued to be a wondrous adventure, enabling me to travel the world, getting to know others and myself. I’ve learned so much more than just how to separate the yolk or all the lovely ways to set an inviting table. Certainly, my wild ride on "Hell’s Kitchen" with Marco Pierre White was one of the greatest cooking experiences of my life. I’ve come to see the complete picture, why it’s not just about preparing a meal, but the importance of friends gathering to share their hopes and dreams.

This book is a love letter to all those I have known and cherished and shared wonderful foods with. I hope that you will enjoy the people, the recipes, and the banquet that has been my life—so far.

The Joys of Having Two Dysfunctional Families

"Dynasty" opened the world for me in every way. I’ve thanked God endlessly, but I owe a special thanks to Angie Dickinson for turning down the part of Krystle. Since then, we’ve become friends, so I was able to thank Angie myself.

Vanguard Press

Just like a real dysfunctional family, there was always so much drama to be had, and we had so much fun with it—especially during the famous catfights between Krystle and Alexis. The first time I read a script that had our characters fighting, I was thrilled to be back to the stunts I so enjoyed doing during "The Big Valley." Lucky me.

The first stunt was Krystle confronting Alexis in her cottage. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight with feathers flying everywhere. We fought our way through the entire room, knocking over everything in sight, including each other. I won!

Another one of my favorites was the lily pond scene, which we filmed at an estate in Pasadena. Oh, the magic of television. It looked like we were in six feet of water but in reality we were in only two and a half feet, and fighting on our knees! It felt absurd and we struggled all day to make it look authentic. When at the end of the day the director yelled “Cut and print,” we stood up looking like a couple of drowned rats. The crew spontaneously broke out in applause and laughter. What fun!

The audience always looked forward to these confrontations and so did I. Joan loved the verbal fights—I hated them. I loved the physical confrontations—she loathed them. We did them all—for nine years!

Credit: “Recipes for Life: My Memories” by Linda Evans. Copyright © 2011 Linda Evans. Published by Vanguard Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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