The most successful primetime soap in TV history, ‘Dallas‘, will always be a personal favorite of mine. In fact, I could watch the entire series all over again just for the pleasure of seeing Victoria Principal.
In her iconic role as Pamela Barnes Ewing, Victoria was one of the biggest reasons to tune into Dallas – alongside Larry Hagman, who played the ruthless oil baron J. R. Ewing.
Today, Victoria has turned 73 years old – and I think you will be quite surprised when you see the latest photos of this timeless beauty …
Victoria Principal, 73, has always been a multi-hyphenate – during her long professional career, she was a successful actress, author, producer, and skin care entrepreneur.
Perhaps this can be explained by her background – Victoria grew up in a variety of places and was constantly forced to adapt to her surroundings.
Born in Japan
Victoria Ree Principal was born on January 3, 1950, in Japan.
Her father, a United States Air Force Sergeant, was stationed in the city of Fukuoka and Victoria spent her first months of life on Japanese soil.
The family moved around a lot during her childhood – Victoria and her mom were shunted around a series of U.S. Air Force bases. She grew up in England, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, and Florida, among other places.
During her primary years, Victoria went to 17 different schools, including the famous Royal Ballet School in England.
Whether her childhood was actually happy or not is hard to say – there are varying reports about it.
According to Daily Mail, Victoria and her mother, Ree Principal, had a complicated relationship. The paper said in 2009 that Victoria has described her childhood as miserable. In an interview with Huffington Post in 2012, Victoria was asked what she would like to have known earlier in her life:
”I wish I had known my childhood would end,” she said.
On the other hand, there is a rather famous quote attributed to Victoria Principal:
”I was very lucky. My parents raised me in such a way that it never occurred to me that I wasn’t equal”.
What we do know is that Victoria started working from a very early age. As a 5-year-old girl, she landed her first job in a television commercial.
But when Victoria enrolled at Miami–Dade Community College in 1968, it looked like she would settle on a completely different career path.
She decided to study medicine. If everything had gone her way, Victoria would probably have become a doctor.
Victoria Principal car crash
But fate had other plans for the young student.
Just months before completing her first year of college, Victoria was involved in a horrific accident. On the way home from the library one day, she got seriously injured in a car crash. Victoria had to spend months resting and in rehab.
Unfortunately, she missed important months at college and was faced with having to take the first year of studies all over again.
It was then Victoria decided to drastically change her direction in life. She moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting instead.
After acting and modeling in New York and Europe, Victoria moved to L.A. in 1971. On the west coast, she pursued major film roles.
Finally, she landed a role in John Huston’s Western film, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. Victoria portrayed the mistress of the main character, Roy Bean, played by Paul Newman.
Struggled in Hollywood
It was obvious that she had talent. Victoria earned a Golden Globe nomination for best newcomer, and her name was mentioned more and more in Hollywood.
“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 told People.
After the success of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Victoria struggled to find roles that gave her satisfaction. Her next film, The Naked Ape, flopped, and that really took a toll on Victoria’s confidence.
“I wanted to be successful simply because I didn’t want to get hurt. I began to get hard. I became very protective of myself,” she told People.
In 1974, she appeared in the disaster film Earthquake, which was a huge hit at the time in terms of revenue.
But in 1975, halfway through the action film Vigilante Force, Victoria felt that something was seriously wrong. She collapsed under the stress of trying to live up to a perfect image.
”I realized I was so unhappy I didn’t want to live,” Victoria explained.
She decided to move away from feature films and study law. Between 1975 and 1977, she made a living as a talent agent, something that became a huge relief for Victoria. Throughout her whole life, the focus had always been on her looks and body.
As an agent, she was finally being treated for what she could say or do.
It was as an agent that Victoria first came in contact with the television series Dallas. She had previously received some requests to return to acting, but it wasn’t until she obtained the script for Dallas that she decided to change her long-term ambitions.
”I had left acting to be an agent and was on my way to law school, but when a friend dropped off a Dallas script, I read it. When I finished, I knew my life had changed – that part was mine. So I called the [casting] person and said, ‘I’m sending someone in.’ She said, ‘Who?’ I said, ‘Just put down my name. It will be a surprise.’ And it certainly was a surprise – I showed up with me! I sent myself in for it!” Victoria said.
As we all know, Victoria landed the role of Pamela Barnes Ewing and the rest is history.
Victoria knew Dallas would be a hit.
“When I went in for the part on ‘Dallas,’ I had already fallen in love with the show and with the part, so my feeling from the moment I read it was that it was incredibly special and that I really, really wanted to be a part of it. I could not imagine not being Pam,” she said. It was as if she was born for the role, Victoria told People.
With all her knowledge of the industry, she negotiated her own contract with CBS. This meant, among other things, that she was free to do whatever she wanted as Dallas conquered the world and captured the heart of millions.
”As a result that’s why, you can only notice in hindsight, I was the only person in the cast who did commercials, who was doing movies of the week, who wrote books and these all belong to me. I retained control and ownership of my image. No one owns me,” she said.
Aired in 1978, Dallas can certainly be considered one of the greatest television dramas of all time. It’s difficult to describe how popular Dallas was back then – today’s young people would probably never understand how one soap opera could become an international phenomenon and matter to basically everyone in the world.
The series revolves around the Ewings, a wealthy and feuding Texan family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries.
Victoria Principal had turned 28 when Dallas premiered, and she was a major reason why the series became a worldwide hit. As Pamela Barnes Ewing, the beautiful wife of Bobby Ewing and sister-in-law of JR, she became the boyhood crush of a whole generation.
During her nine-year run in Dallas, Victoria was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Soap Opera Digest Awards.
In recent years, she has revealed several details from the set and also talked about her relationship with icon actor Larry Hagman, star of Dallas.
”Going toe to toe with J.R., a.k.a. Larry Hagman, was always a delight. Larry was a generous actor and would find a way to talk to me the morning of the scene about how we could make it even more powerful,” she said.
But she wasn’t particularly close with her castmates.
“There were phone calls, but I didn’t really have get-togethers. We never hung out really anyway. We worked together and 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, and Linda was married with children. I was single. And so those are very different lifestyles,” Victoria told People.
Why Victoria Principal left Dallas
Victoria Principal left the hit TV series in 1987.
There were several different reasons for her decision.
“A lot of work has gone into keeping Victoria Principal separate from Pam Ewing. To stay on the show any longer would really seal my fate in the industry,” she told New York Times in 1987.
Victoria even said no to a huge contract that would have made her the highest-paid actress on TV at the time.
”The first five years in Dallas were so unbelievably wonderful — then some key writers departed, and by year seven there was a decline in the writing, which was an enormous part of my decision to leave. I informed the producers during renegotiations in the seventh year that I would only stay for two more. They wanted a longer contract, and I said no. I was completely transparent. I learned a lot from playing Pam. She was someone with such innate goodness and who was courageous in fighting for what she believed in. It was really a privilege to play her,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
Victoria Principal’s net worth
Victoria could easily have retired after Dallas, but instead, she stepped up and invested heavily in her own skincare company, Principal Secret. She still appeared in some TV movies – but her main target was to build a skin-care empire, which she launched in 1984.
Since the start, the company has been very successful and the line has generated more than $1.5 billion in revenue. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Victoria Principal has a whopping net worth of $350 million.
But none of this would have been possible without the success of Dallas.
”I continue to be passionately dedicated to running my skincare company, Principal Secret. We are about to celebrate 27 years in business. And I have never forgotten that Dallas gave me the springboard to achieve so many of my dreams,” Principal told TV Insider in 2018.
One year after the interview with TV Insider, Victoria announced that she was stepping away from her company.
“After 30 years in the skincare business and 28 years as the President & Founder of Principal Secret, I will be stepping down to devote myself full time to my philanthropic work through The Victoria Principal Foundation for Thoughtful Existence and my rescue work with animals,” Principal said in a statement.
The former actress is now focusing on philanthropy and her foundation has made important donations over the years. For example, she donated a fleet of rescue boats to the American Humane Society following Hurricane Harvey, in 2018. She has also donated $25,000 to fire restoration efforts in the aftermath of the California Wildfires in 2018.
During her career, Victoria somehow got the reputation of being a man-hunter, but nothing could be more wrong. Victoria has been married and divorced twice – pretty normal for a Hollywood star if you ask me.
“No one who ever dated me has ever said an unkind thing about me,” she exclaims. “I’ve probably had fewer relationships than many in my 33 years, but no one will ever believe it,” Victoria told People in 1983.
Victoria Principal met her first husband, Christoper Skinner, during the set of Dallas. Skinner was then a young actor, seven years her junior.
The couple first met in 1978 and dated only three times before they got married. After two years, the couple filed for divorce.
According to Victoria, her 75-hour-a-week job was too much for her young husband.
After her first marriage, Victoria dated the English singer-songwriter Andy Gibb. It was a high-profile relationship, but filled with problems. Although the couple had very strong chemistry and loved each other, Gibb’s lifestyle and addiction became too much 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.
Since Victoria married a plastic surgeon, many speculated that her husband ”helped” her stay young. But in an interview in 2007, Victoria denied that she used her husband’s services.
”I’ve never had a face-lift. Or a professional peel or lasers,” she said.
Victoria Principal children
Victoria and Dr. Harry Glassman divorced in December 2006, with the Principal stating: “We have had a loving relationship for over 20 years.”
Victoria Principal has no children of her own, but during her marriage to Glassman, she became close with his two children from a previous relationship, Andrew and Brooke.
Her life today in 2022
Today, Victoria’s Principal is 71 years old and very active on social media. Judging by her Facebook page, she spends a lot of time on her ranch outside of Los Angeles, where she rehabilitates animals.
To me, it’s just tears of joy when I see what this amazing lady looks like today!
Her 300,000 followers get a great insight into Victoria’s life – she often uploads photos and short movies from life on the ranch.
From time to time, she also publishes photos from the Dallas era and her acting career. Of course, she’s going to look different today, but we all do. It’s called life.
My dear Victoria, you are one of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen! You are an example of beauty, from the inside out, kindness, sweetness, strength and inspiration!
You deserve all the best, all the happiness life can bring you! The way you treat and love your animals goes beyond words – share this article on Facebook if you agree!