Patrick Duffy
Photos courtesy of Patrick Duffy

Actor Patrick Duffy: What you see is what you get

by soul of the biz

Patrick Duffy is incredibly handsome, and even more gorgeous on the inside.

A Montana native, Patrick has been a constant fixture on our screens, from his early days on Man from Atlantis to playing Bobby Ewing on Dallas (13 years on the original CBS series; he reprised his legendary role for 3 seasons on TNT’s remake). He then starred as the beloved Frank Lambert on Step by Step, followed by 5 years as Stephen Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful. You’ve also recently seen him in the NBC sitcom, Welcome to Sweden.

Patrick has had quite an illustrious career, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Patrick and the love of his life, Carlyn, have been married for over 40 years. They’re parents to two sons, and grandparents of four. They split their time between Oregon and Los Angeles.

Read why a brief encounter with James Coburn is his favorite Hollywood memory, how art feeds the soul and why he still keeps his hammer and saw handy.

What is your most memorable Hollywood moment?
In the early years of Dallas I was sitting with my wife in the San Francisco Airport waiting for my flight to Oregon. Passengers began coming off a flight and passing in front of where we were sitting. In the line along came James Coburn. I did then and still do think of him as one of my favorite film stars. As he walked by he looked over, gave a small wave and said ‘Hello Patrick’. It was the first and greatest moment I have ever had of verifying my presence in the film and TV industry.

What personal creed do you live by?
Am I able to explain to my wife and children each and everything I do and have them understand and encourage me to proceed?

Describe your day in 10 words or less.
Wake. Appreciate. Determine. Live. Love. Take personal inventory. Re-determine. Sleep.

If you could do it all over again, would you? What would you change, if anything?
What makes you think this is not “doing it all over again”? Promise to try harder the next time.

What’s one question you’ve always wanted an answer to?
How do bats poo hanging upside down?

What was your first break? How did you get it?
The Last of Mrs Lincoln with Julie Harris. I got it because James Prideaux and George Schaefer convinced PBS I could be 16 years old at the age of 23!

What does success mean to you?
Knowing if my wife outlives me, she will never have to worry about her welfare.

If you could hold on to just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
First time I kissed my wife, and I do.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
First I thought I would be a carpenter. Then I figured I would try harder and be an architect. Then I trained to be an actor. Then I went to NY. Then I became a carpenter again. Then I went to Los Angeles to be an actor. Then I became a carpenter again. Then I did Atlantis, Dallas, Step by Step, then Dallas again. Now who knows, but I still have my hammer and saw!

Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life?
My high school drama teacher, Maxine Dysart (now deceased) delayed my starting architecture enrollment at the U of Washington, by saying “People actually make a living doing professionally what you are doing after school in these plays, I think you may be able to be one of them. I will write a letter of recommendation to a special program at the U if you want to try.” That changed the trajectory of my life. Duncan Ross and Arne Zaslove in that program gave me the training for the rest of my professional life.

What 3 values do you admire most in others?
a.) Their admiration of me.
b.) When they tell others how much they like me.
c.) See a.

What does “soul of the biz” mean to you?
I think maybe it’s pretty simple. Our ‘biz’ is a craft and we are laborers in it. It’s our job to do our very best, while everyday leaving work with not a single member of the work place unhappy because of our being there.

How can art change the world?
Art is one of the greatest causes, in my opinion, that feeds the soul and can expand one’s life to better create value with a person’s natural gifts. It will decorate any other activity one pursues.

If this were your last 24 hours on Earth, what words of wisdom would you want to share?
What I am feeling I need to do with the other 23 hours 59 seconds of my life is what you need to feel with the remaining 10, 20 or 50 years of yours!

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