Big Hair, Big Shoulders And Big Money: Linda Evans On '80s Excess | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Big Hair, Big Shoulders And Big Money: Linda Evans On '80s Excess

Play associated audio

You may find a hint to the era in which you were born (as well as your taste in entertainment) in Linda Wertheimer's clarification that on the '80s nighttime soap Dynasty, actress Linda Evans played Krystle Carrington — Krystle with a K, that is. (And, she does not add, an L-E.) If that surprises you at all, you were almost surely not paying attention to the television of the 1980s, when Evans, John Forsythe and Joan Collins made up the wealthiest, nuttiest, most notorious and most rhinestone-covered love triangle ever bedazzled for prime time: Krystle, Blake and Alexis.

Evans is featured in the National Geographic Channel miniseries The '80s: The Decade That Made Us, which began airing Sunday night and continues Monday and Tuesday. While she may be part of a slice of pop culture history more often remembered for the over-the-top dialogue and the huge hairdos (Evans says she had "more hairpieces on than anyone's ever worn"), she believes something more was at work in the saga of the super-rich Carringtons.

Evans says the 1980s were a time when "we all wondered what it would be like to be that wealthy." And of course, the Carringtons had nothing but drama, quite literally. "I hope the show expressed well that money doesn't buy you happiness," says Evans.

Money doesn't even buy you a ticket out of having Joan Collins pull your hair, as Evans learned when the two women were set up to end each season with a knock-down drag-out. The way she sees it, their rivalry was so rich because they were set up to be opposites, showing the contrast between "the women who make choices for money and power [and] the women who make choices for love and family."

That's not to say, of course, that they had nothing in common. They certainly shared an affinity for shoulder pads. "Joan and I could not walk through a door at the same time," Evans acknowledges.

But she says she always liked the fact that Krystle, no matter how crazy her life became, never embraced the money obsession that surrounded her. "Greed is an option," she says, "and it's been an option in every decade."

Perhaps Krystle's glamorous life and Alexis's string of men looked like pure indulgence, but Evans sees much of the story of Dynasty as a cautionary tale about excess and the universal tendency in its direction: "People got to look at a part of themselves, the choices they could make, and see the consequences of it."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Comedian Jenny Slate Gets Quizzed On Jennifer Lopez

Slate has rocketed to fame with her online film series Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and the movie Obvious Child — but there are some other famous Jennifers out there ...
NPR

Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

For Dr. Gavin Francis, Christmas Eve marked the start of a year-long stay in an icy research base 8,700 miles from home. In this "empire of ice and isolation," he says, food is essential to morale.
NPR

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

The secretive regime denies any involvement with the Sony Pictures hack and says the U.S. must allow it to help find the real culprit. Or else.
NPR

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they'll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony's withdrawal of The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.