Lar Park Lincoln represented the future of Knots Landing. Her creation of the scheming and troubled Linda Fairgate energized the old warhorse and paved the way for a 90s generation of devotees. The decision to retire Linda’s character through one of network television’s most grisly murders in effect killed the last young light on the show. Knots Landing limped along for another two years but the zesty excitement we had grown to love, had grown to depend on, was snuffed out.
Lincoln has had a turbulent ride since then, suffering through career disappointments and family sorrows and soaring as a mother and self-made businesswoman. Her invention “The Freedom Bag” is one of the most popular items in the world of home shopping. She has two children reaching adolescence, both ready to follow in their mother’s footsteps. And Mom herself is finally ready to return to acting after nearly a decade’s absence.
We welcome Lar Park Lincoln back, speaking to us from her home in San Antonio.
Arthur : It’s an exciting day to be speaking with you.
Lar Park Lincoln: Why thank you very much.
Petey Hollister asks Wow, *the* Lar Park Lincoln. Lar, babe, I've been a fan all the way back to 1988 when I first saw you as Tina Shepherd in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. And then when you turned up on Knots, my second favorite pastime (horror movies being the first), I was surprised and delighted. Your portrayal of Linda Fairgate was one of the best things about Knots in the later years, and such Linda catchphrases as "To hell with theory, let's get down to the brass tacks" and "MORT?" are still bandied about my home all the time. The show suffered a huge loss when you exited stage left. My question is this: since it's been stated that you are planning a return to acting, I'd like to know if you already have a project lined up and if so, when can we expect to see it? Also, I've read that you're a fan of horror films; would you be willing to return to the Friday the 13th franchise if they wanted you back?
Lar: That’s a fun question. I don’t have a project yet. But I really love television. I love the technical aspect much more than movies. And in September I’ll be going out for the Emmys for my “re-debut,” so hopefully around that time I’ll have an offer (for work). As for Friday the 13th series I’d love to come back to that if they asked me.
AS: How did you get involved with that?
Lar: Well it was very quiet the way they advertised for the audition. It was cast as something called “Birthday Bash” so they wouldn’t have all the fans showing up and crashing the audition but my husband read the script and he said, “This is definitely Friday the 13th.” (Laughs). He passed away 7 ½ years ago.
AS: I’m so sorry. I didn’t know that.
Lar: But I’ve written a script for Friday the 13th that has a grown-up Tina returning as a psychiatrist and I’m hoping Paramount might want to produce it.
AS: That sounds like a great idea. But isn’t there a “Freddy vs. Jason” movie in the works as well?
Lar: I’ve been told that but I don’t know much about it.
AS: So what else have you been doing?
Lar: What aren’t you doing is more like it. We put products on QVC (the shopping network), I do live on-air hosting for the beauty line which is interesting because it’s live speaking with very little delay on the phone. I’ve been writing; producing a video called “Getting Started and Not Scammed.” (The video) is important to me because I want to show how to avoid people taking advantage of those trying to get a start in acting, and the scams that go on all across the country. I started on my own at 16 and I did not come from a family with money; I only had two pairs of blue jeans in a little apartment. I went to modeling school and was an intern and worked my way up from there. So I’ve been doing public service seminars about this and they’re going to be filmed for a video.I’ve been doing all that and have been a single mom to my two children.
AS: What was the cause of your husband’s death?
Lar: Cancer. He had it for 2 ½ years and was 43 when he died. We had a home hospice set up here in San Antonio. So I took time off after being on 90210 to be with my family. I feel great, and with the passage of time it seems right to return to acting.
AS: How old are your children now?
Lar: My daughter is turning 13 and my son 10. My daughter is a little union actress who played a young Ashley Judd and my son has also been bitten by the (acting) bug, so we’ll see.
Ulysses asks - In an old magazine from ´89 I read that you were originally contracted to appear on KNOTS LANDING as a mid-twenties mystery woman and eventual love interest for Gary Ewing. But then the producers thought you looked like a teen and because on DALLAS, another of their shows, they´d already given a young girlfriend to Larry Hagman and they didn´t want to look like they were copying themselves. Is that story a true one?
Lar: That’s almost exactly true actually. There’s a little piece of trivia I’ve put in my new bio. I originated as Linda Fairgate, that was a two-part position, where I wore a brown wig and aggravated Karen. They wanted me to be like a young Michele Lee for that. (Laughs). And then I also played a character named Sally’s Friend
AS (stunned): You were Sally’s Friend?
Lar: It was me … they only showed my body
AS: But I thought Teri Austin was Sally’s Friend? She’s been credited as Sally’s Friend.
Lar (slightly confused): No, it really was me. I did eight episodes as the body of Sally’s Friend, but they thought I was too energetic and too young to play her when her identity was revealed. Which is funny because they later paired me with Bill Devane, who was actually older! So that question is almost right, but I don’t think they were afraid of looking like they were copying from Dallas at that point (chuckles).
AS: Well that resolves the mystery of Sally’s Friend. I think people thought that since Jill Bennett died right before Sally appeared, that it must be Teri Austin.
Lar: It was me - Sally’s Friend. But I originally didn’t come in to read for Linda. I was casted to be a young Donna Mills, in flashback. She was only supposed to be in one episode, I think. I remember showing up for the audition and there was a line of blondes who looked like Donna Mills and a line of 5’9” brunettes who were supposed to look like Karen. And after testing for Donna they thought I would be better as Linda. The brown wig also was because they said they had too many blondes on the show.
AS: Your hair evolved in many ways.
Lar (laughing): Yes it has. They made it shorter and more severe as time went on. They really wanted to age me faster than I was aging so they kept working on my hair.
Along those lines, Bob Phillips asks: Had you ever watched Knots Landing before joining the cast?
Lar: Of course! I thought Nicolette was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
AS: So what was your first day on the set like?
Lar: It was a wonderful day. I remember wearing a hound’s-tooth jacket and I got a headache from the wig. Michele Lee stayed after her time to do my close-up with me and I was really thankful for that. It was a great day. I had an absolute blast.
Christine asks We once had a thread on the Knots Landing forum about everybody's top 10 characters. At least 90 % of the posters had Linda Fairgate on their top ten lists! Does it surprise you to hear that the character of Linda was so popuLar among the fans?
Lar: I didn’t know it was that much. I would guess Linda was popular because she was so rotten and so fun at the same time. I studied a few people to become Linda, as she went from the brown hair to the blonde meanie. I remember having lunch with David Jacobs when he told me that they were changing my hair to blonde and he said, “I’m doing this because you look so sweet and everyone will be shocked how you turn out.”
LKC1 asks Which storyline of yours stood out as your favourite and which would you have liked to have had changed?
Lar: I definitely would have liked to have changed the videotape thing with Brian. I liked the actor but what in the world were they doing? For my favorite, Mort and Bob. I just loved them. I loved them and the fake little elevator that we rode on. I also loved the scenes we shot with Mimi Kennedy, who played my mother. Isn’t she great on Dharma and Greg?
AS: You know, your mother won a Gary Award last year, in the category of “Best Short Term Player.”
Lar: Oh really?
AS: The Garys are our site’s award ceremonies. And I have a feeling … even though they technically haven’t been announced yet … that you’ll be nominated for a Gary for best supporting actress. Just a hunch (even though I’m on the nominating committee). (Laughs loudly)
Lar: A Gary! That’s amazing! Now that’s very exciting.
AS: I thought you’d like it. So you liked working with Mimi Kennedy
Lar: Yes and there was another scene that never made it in where Linda was so poor and broke that she was putting bagels in her pocket and bringing them back to her apartment. And they showed me eating bagels in a run-down apartment. Elements of that made it on screen, like a scene here and there with Linda eating a bagel at her desk, but the whole thing never aired.
Chris Sumner Matheson asks Were you surprised being asked back after just one appearance 2 years before and were there plans for you to stay, or make more appearances during your first appearance on Knots?
Lar: They didn’t contract me for more than two. I had no idea at the time they were going to ask me back. But they did. With Sally’s Friend.
AS: I think you may have already answered this one but
Laura Avery Sumner asks A lot of fans have commented on the similarities between Linda when she first arrived in KL & what they believe the young Karen Fairgate to have been like. Do you know if it was intentional? Do you feel there is any validity to that observation?
Lar: Yes and completely. And I’m glad she picked up on that because I don’t know if it was obvious to everybody. There were a few scenes in the beginning where Linda was very opinionated and it was supposed to remind you of how Karen was.
Greg Matheson asks Did you and Nicolette Sheridan get along in real life because you made excellent enemies?
Lar (laughing): I think we got along pretty well. I had the young baby and husband at home so I didn’t really socialize with many people.
AS: Who were your friends on the set?
Lar: Kevin Dobson was a friend to me. He showed me how to take some challenges and channel them into the acting. Michele Lee, of course. (The set was) professional and simple. People did their work and no one acted liked stars. I never felt as a new person coming onto the set like I was new. I had that feeling in other places, believe me.
AS: In that case, let’s bring this question up
Pamela asks I hear all the time the cast of Knots was one big happy family, is that true? At my work place everyone is backbiting, so was Knots truly a wonderful place to work or is that just a Hollywood myth? No prima donnas on set? Sorry to ask but I’m just a gossip.
Lar: There probably were. I got in trouble once when I wanted to have my skirt ironed. It was really wrinkled! But I’ve never really seen any problems on any set. Then again, you have to realize that we don’t work with as many people as people think. A lot of times you do a master shot, an over-the shoulder shot that is tighter but no one else is there. So you have situations where you’re more conscious of not tripping over equipment than the other actors in a scene.
AS: That’s interesting. I don’t think people know about how cluttered a set can be.
Lar: Yeah, exactly. Anytime you walk in something that seems like a room you’re conscious of all the wires and cables that you have to step over … and there are so many union rules that prohibit actors from working too many hours. So what happens is that you’re shooting a scene, with all the necessary shots and close-ups, by yourself. This happens especially with children who really can’t work a lot of hours.
AS: So many little things that the viewer never sees.
Lar: For one thing, I never realized that you could fake crying. On Friday the 13th I cried and cried, for real, until I saw that you didn’t need to do that (for it to be successful).
Tatianna asks Linda once commented to Paige that she thought it an honor to "work with her", and Paige responded by saying, "you don't work with me, you work for me". Linda did seem to work longer and harder to get ahead than Paige ever thought about doing. If Linda had not been killed, do you think Greg would have helped Linda get a higher position than Paige?
Lar: I think they were definitely going to that position. Linda kept getting big kudos in the conference room scenes from Greg, and Linda learned to be manipulative from Paige, so yes, Linda was always working very hard and probably was headed for bigger things.
AS: I thought the relationship with Greg was the most promising thing about your character. Two wounded people just using each other for sex, but with real feelings beginning to develop.
Lar: I got that feeling too. I remember when Bill Devane was directing me for the first time. I was supposed to be tearing up the apartment looking for a videotape and he said, “This isn’t brain surgery here. A little less on the tearing up!” (Laughs heartily) I really concentrate on every scene I do and in that one I was literally ripping the apartment to shreds. I also remember in that same episode that Bill Devane directed that there was a sex scene where there was a fly on my head. I thought he would ignore it and keep shooting but he burst out laughing at one point and said, “We’ve got to get the fly off her head!”
James from London asks I loved your scenes at The Sumner Group with Greg and Paige. One gets the impression that both William Devane and Nicolette Sheridan are quite tough, demanding characters. Was that your experience? Was there a different atmosphere on set of The Sumner Group during filming than, say, at the Mackenzie house?
Lar: I didn’t feel any difference at all. They’re so comfortable in their skins that you don’t even notice they’re acting. Bill was kind of a joker; Nicolette was easy as pie.
AS: I always get the impression about Bill Devane that he was this comical, practical joker with an air of mystery thrown in.
Lar: And that’s … the way he really was! I remember another time when he was doing a sex scene I believe in a trench coat, sitting on the side of the bed. Only Bill could get away with that. But he gives a lot too, to everyone acting with him.
AS: He’s the best that Bill Devane.
Lar: Yes he is.
AS: Do you keep in touch with any of the other actors?
Lar: I really haven’t. Donna Mills, we’ve kept in touch a little. We both are on QVC.
Patrick Petersen a little bit. But no one lately. With raising my kids and my husband dying I just lost touch.
Tommy Fairgate asks Did you steal anything from the set to sell on eBay?
Lar: Oh my word, no! (Laughing) I got my chair, the canvas was green, and everyone signed it. But there really wasn’t a lot to take. There was a lot of fake clothing in fake closets for imaginary characters, especially all the bras. They gave us all the bras we were supposed to wear.
AS: Bras? Now this is something I want to hear.
Lar: Well, they were made to fit a certain type of cleavage.
AS: To make it bigger?
Lar: Or to hide it. Depended on the person.
Shashie asks Hi Lar, You came on the show in the beginning and was paired with Steve Shaw, one of the young actors on the show. I thought your scenes were fantastic, but you seemed a bit strained with him. Was that written that way? Did you guys get along?
Lar: I chose to do it that way. There was supposed to be tension because of Karen so that’s why it came across that way.
And Karen Mackenzie asks Following on from Shashie's question...It must have been pretty hard for you, and the rest of the crew when Steve Shaw died, having played Eric's wife and ending up having a fling with Michael. What was it like on set around that time?
Lar: When that happened - it seemed to start a series of illnesses and deaths that were just terrible.
AS: Steve Shaw’s death sounded like it was quite random.
Lar: From what I understood it was a completely fluke accident while he was driving in some curvy areas.
AS: It didn’t involve drunk driving, right?
Lar: Not that I know of. Definitely not on (Steve’s) part.
Jake asks I remember reading, at the time of your departure from KNOTS LANDING, that one of the reasons you left the show was because the original creators of the Linda character, Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Marie Latham, were having less and less to do with the show as they were in the process of creating HOMEFRONT, and you didn't like the direction the other writers were taking the character. If Lechowick and Latham had stayed with KNOTS and continued to write and nurture the Linda character, would you have stayed?
Lar: Absolutely I would have stayed. But the new writers said there was nowhere else to go with my character.
AS: So you were written out.
Lar: I was written out. And I thought she was really getting cooking. There were some good moments at the end - Devane at one door and Brian at the other - those were fun scenes. But the rest didn’t make sense.
AS: Do you know what they were trying to do with the missing videotape?
Lar: I really don’t.
AS: Do you think Latham and Lechowick put that plot in to be intentionally ambiguous as they were leaving the show? Meaning, to make something open-ended for the new writers?
Lar: I don’t think they wrote it actually. It was not their style of writing. There was some good stuff in there, though, like the blonde in the white suit, the blonde in the hotel, a pretty fun mystery seemed to be developing.
Alex Wade asks If you could have re-written your last episode on Knots and have had Linda slit the throat of any one character, who would it have been?
Lar (laughing): The only correct response could be Paige. Though I probably would have liked to have gotten rid of Mrs. Richfield’s niece who kept sneezing on me.
AS: And I guess we’re up to your unfortunate departure from Knots. It’s my opinion that Linda’s character was the greatest wasted opportunity in the show’s history. You’ve said that the new writers thought your character had nowhere left to go, which obviously showed how incompetent they were. Can you give any insight as to why they were hired?
Lar: I have no clue. I was completely out of the circle. It did become odd all of a sudden. Nobody knew where things were going. One day I was delivered the script that had me killed in it. I guess they thought things were getting too expensive. They brought the one on who played Kate, Stacy Galina, and they had to make some room. Didn’t the cute cop go at this time? What was his name?
AS: Tom Ryan.
Lar: Right. So they had a large cast with costs to get rid of.
AS: So it wasn’t a contract dispute?
Lar: No. How can you dispute one of the most fun jobs you’ve ever had?
AS: It sounds like you had a lot of fun on the set. What was the best day you had while on Knots?
Lar: Probably when we shot the “Brass Tacks” scene in the conference room with Michele Lee. It was a long scene but it was wonderful. Everything worked ... But you know, not all of it was great. I had stalkers and was attacked by fans.
Lar: Yep, she was in frozen food and I was in bread. I heard somebody yelling, “You bitch!” and I just knew she was talking about me. It kept getting louder and louder until she hit me.
AS (incredulous): She punched you?
Lar: She knocked me down.
AS: What was she saying?
Lar: Oh you know, “How dare you break up the families?” and stuff like that. She was a very large woman. (Laughs loudly)
AS: Was she arrested?
Lar: No, the manager came out and we decided to keep it quiet and she was sent on her way.
AS: Smackdown in the supermarket - I love it.
Lar: It was kinda funny.
KL Fan asks Hi Lar,Just a question about your big "exit scene" on KL. I remember watching it that night and I was horrified! Okay... maybe Linda wasn't the most "lovable" person to ever hit Seaview Circle... but man that was drastic.Was there a lot of discussion about how graphic that scene was when it was shot? It seems tame now compared to some of what we see on TV... but then... wasn't it a little risky?
Lar: There was a lot of discussion. I don’t know of a lot of murders being on Knots. I wanted to die with my eyes open. The network said we couldn’t do it.
AS: Do you think it was graphic for the time period?
Lar: Not as graphic as how we shot it. I would have rather had my eyes open.
Pearsonsf asks Lar, What leading role would you have liked to see yourself in over the past few years? You would've made a great Erin Brockovich!
Lar: That’s very nice. I was fortunate to test against Julia a few times. The one movie that I really remember with her was Mystic Pizza. What roles would I have wanted? I really wanted to get the Robert Redford and Demi Moore movie (Indecent Proposal) because I wanted to spend a few months looking at Robert Redford. I also like … Will and Grace … I love the Karen character. I’d love to work with Jessica Lange, Andy Garcia … Holly Hunter. I didn’t want to do Baywatch.
AS: Were you offered that?
Lar: It was discussed. But I really don’t like the cold water. I didn’t want the part of Silk Stalkings because I thought it was about pantyhose, not crimes. That shows I’m a blonde. I remember reading for Friends and I can say I was spared not getting Dirty Dancing because no one can replace Jennifer Grey.
AS: So we’ve talked about your first day on Knots, and your best day, now let’s talk about your
Lar: Last day. The last day was very sad, but it was a fun scene to shoot. It was almost like a movie of the week. I remember being in the parking lot of Lorimar Studios and sitting on the makeup case that I used and waiting for my ride. Michelle Phillips came by and said hi, she was always very gracious, and I just sat there and remembered thinking, what was next?
AS: In your case, there was always something next.
Lar: Yes, there was
AS: Thank you, Lar.
Lar: Thanks, Art. Thanks everyone.
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