Ciji Dunne was born December 16, 1957 in Kentucky. Despite her overbearing moralistic mother’s objections, Ciji left home to pursue her dream of being a rock star. She moved to Los Angeles and began working with local bands.
It was while she was singing in a small club in Knots Landing that she had a chance meeting with Gary Ewing. It was a meeting that would change her life and ultimately lead her to her untimely demise. Gary thought Ciji was incredibly talented and prompted his neighbor Kenny Ward to come and see her perform. Kenny was a record producer and immediately took to the sexy blonde singer. He felt she had the talent and the look too not only make it for herself but to bring him success as well. Ciji and Kenny began searching LA for a record deal. No one was buying so Gary stepped in. He had inherited a hefty sum of money from his oil baron father and funded a record label with Kenny for the sole purpose of recording and selling Ciji Dunne.
During this time, Ciji began singing at Richard Avery’s restaurant Daniel. Richard hated having Ciji there and especially hated it when Ciji and his wife Laura became good friends. Ciji was also becoming close to Chip Roberts, a sleek con man who had moved into Valene Ewing’s house and worked part time as Val’s book publicist. Chip and Ciji began an affair and she even hired him on as her manager. Ciji’s growing popularity among the close-knit neighbors and friends prompted many bouts of jealousies. Richard blamed his marital problems and financial distresses on Ciji, even insisting that Ciji and Laura were having an affair. Chip didn’t want anyone to know about their affair as he was having another affair with young Diana Fairgate. He led people to believe that Ciji and Gary were having an affair thus prompting even more animosity, this time from Gary’s lover and business partner Abby Cunningham and Gary’s ex wife Valene; who thought Ciji led to Gary’s new bouts with alcohol. Kenny’s wife Ginger became increasingly jealous as Kenny spent so much time with Ciji while ignoring her own dreams of singing success; Ginger had her final straw when Kenny gave Ciji a song to sing that Ginger had written. Kenny began resenting his protégé as well when Gary and Abby signed on famous producer Jeff Munson to take over her album. When Kenny wouldn’t cooperate, Abby and Gary cut him loose from the deal and sold Ciji’s contract to Munson. Jeff and Ciji began recording her debut album.
During all of this turmoil, Ciji found out she was pregnant with Chip’s child. Chip wanted her to have an abortion as both of their careers were on the verge of taking off. At first he had Ciji convinced but she quickly changed her mind after spending time with Laura and her children. Ciji then found out that Chip was in actuality Tony Fenice, a con man that was wanted for assault in Seattle. Ciji threatened to expose him and fired him as her manager.
Ciji’s album was finally ready for release and a huge celebration was planned at Daniel. No one could find Ciji and when she didn’t show, Ginger stepped in to perform for her. The next day, after a drunken night, Gary Ewing found Ciji’s body on the beach – dead. A criminal investigation determined Ciji had been murdered, it was also revealed that she was pregnant. A number of suspects were lined up but the staggering evidence pointed to Gary Ewing and he was arrested for her murder.
Meanwhile, Chip and Diana left for New York and while on the run, he confessed to her that he was in fact the murderer. Despite his insistence it was an accident, it was found out that Chip strangled Ciji and threw her body into the ocean when she threatened to expose him as Tony Fenice and tell everyone about her pregnancy. Chip escaped prosecution but in a twist of irony, he fell on a pitch fork and died when he was startled by Ciji’s look alike, Cathy Geary.
We lost Ciji Dunne on the evening of February 10, 1983 but her beautiful song will forever be in our hearts.
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