Patrick Duffy is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Bobby Ewing in the hit TV series ‘Dallas’. His character was the youngest son of Miss Ellie and the good brother to the notorious J.R. Ewing. He reprised his role in numerous seasons and reboots of the show. However, Duffy did quit the show after growing bored of playing a positive character for long. But soon after his departure, the show saw a huge decline in ratings which prompted the producers to bring him back on the show. He returned to ‘Dallas’ in the following year and his character was brought to life by calling his demise just a dream. This twist did not go down well with the audience. Nonetheless, the show carried on successfully for eleven seasons. Apart from ‘Dallas’, Duffy is also known for his popular sitcom ‘Step by Step’ in which he plays the role of Frank Lambert, a single parent to three children. Fans of daytime soap opera ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ know Duffy as Stephen Logan, the character he played from 2006-2011. Duffy was last seen in the TV movie, ‘The Christmas Cure’, in which he played the role of the retired doctor, Bruce Turner.
Childhood & Early Life
Patrick Duffy was born on March 17, 1949, in Townsend, Montana to Marie and Terence Duffy. He was the second child and only son of his parents. His family ran a local tavern so he had a very humble upbringing.
At the age of 12, Duffy moved to Everett, Washington where he studied at the Cascade High School.
Being a member of the Drama Club and the Pep Club, he participated in several school dramas. His passion for acting took him to the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of Washington, Seattle where he was one of the few people selected from over 1200 applicants. He graduated with a degree in drama in 1971.
In his senior year of college, Duffy ruptured both his vocal cords so he started working as an ‘Artist-in-Residence’ for the state of Washington. Additionally he also took mime and movement classes. It was during this time he first met his wife, Carlyn Rosser, a ballet dancer, who then worked with the First Chamber Dance Company of New York.
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On his wife’s insistence, Patrick Duffy moved to New York, where he worked on several Broadway plays while also working as a carpenter to earn a decent living. He worked on an Off-Broadway production of William Inge's play ‘Natural Affection’.
Duffy and his wife then moved to Los Angeles, California following Duffy’s agent’s suggestion. He continued to struggle as an actor, taking up small roles in films and TV shows while working as a florist delivery truck driver.
In 1977, Duffy finally got his breakthrough with the TV series ‘Man from Atlantis’ in which he played the role of Mark Harris, a creature from the lost island of Atlantis who is discovered by a scientist. However, the show was cancelled the following year after which he bagged his career-defining role in the soap opera ‘Dallas’.
‘Dallas’ came out in early 1978 in which Duffy played the role of the good guy, Bobby Ewing and shared screen-space with Barbara Bel Geddes and Larry Hagman. The show went on to become a phenomenal success. Duffy remained with the show till 1985 after which he decided to quit. He stated that he was bored of playing the ‘good guy’ and wanted to explore interesting options. His character was supposedly killed off to mark his end on the show.
In the subsequent year, Duffy was requested to re-join the cast of ‘Dallas’ as his exit caused a decline in the show’s ratings. His character made a comeback in the famous ‘shower scene’ where his demise was said to be a mere dream. He went on to play the role till the show finally ended in 1991.
In 1991, Duffy was cast as Frank Lambert in the comedy-drama series ‘Step by Step’ opposite Suzanne Somers. In the show, both the Duffy and Somers characters are single parents each with three kids. The two characters, being totally opposite in nature, became a minefield of punchlines which greatly appealed to the audience and the show went on for seven years.
Duffy featured in two of ‘Dallas’ reunion television movies: ‘J.R. Returns’ that came out in 1996 and ‘War of the Ewings’ which released in 1998. He was also the co-producer of both the films.
Thereafter, Duffy made short appearances in several TV shows, including ‘Touched by an Angel’ and ‘Reba’. He also lent his voice to TV series such as ‘Justice League’ and ‘Family Guy’.
Patrick Duffy joined the cast of the daytime TV drama ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ in 2006 where he played the role of Stephen Logan.
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In 2012, Duffy and his ‘Dallas’ co-stars Linda Gray and Larry Hagman reunited for a reboot of the show. In this latest version of ‘Dallas’, Duffy’s character Ewing was married to a new wife played by Brenda Strong and had a son played by Jesse Metcalfe. His sibling rivalry with evil brother J.R., played by Larry Hagman continued in this show too. Tragically, just months after the new show went on floors, Larry Hagman passed away after suffering from cancer.
He once again reprised his role of Bobby Ewing in the documentary ‘Hotel Dallas’. The movie premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016.
Personal Life & Legacy
Patrick Duffy married Carlyn Rosser in a Buddhist ceremony on February 15, 1974. Carlyn was ten years senior to him. Together the couple has two children, Padraic and Conor.
Rosser introduced him to Buddhism and he has been practising the same for the past three decades. She passed away on January 23, 2017.
In 1986, Duffy suffered a tragedy wherein his parents were murdered by two teenaged thieves in an incident of armed theft in Boulder, Montana. The two murderers were captured and brought to trial and were sentenced to 75 years of imprisonment.
He was named Patrick because he was born on St. Patrick's Day.
As a kid, Duffy always wanted to become a professional athlete so he became a certified scuba diver as a teenager.
In an interview, he stated that he converted to Buddhism only because he wanted to date his to-be wife, Carlyn Rosser.
Barry Zito, the Major League Baseball pitcher, is his nephew.
Patrick published his first science fiction ‘Man from Atlantis’ in 2016.