Big hair, bigger shoulder pads, unrelenting greed, and campy catfights were the hallmarks of the 1980s, and no show reflected the signs of the times better than ABC’s ‘Dynasty.’
Starring John Forsythe and Linda Evans, Dynasty was the story of Denver-based oil tycoon Blake Carrington (Forsythe) and the women in his life. These included his former secretary and new wife Krystle (Evans) and his ex-wife Alexis (Joan Collins), who joined the series in its second season for the sole function of causing havoc for Blake and his bride.
Dynasty also starred Pamela Sue Martin (Fallon Carrington), Heather Locklear (Sammy Jo Carrington), John James (Jeff Colby), Emma Samms (Fallon Carrington No. 2), and Gordon Thomson (Adam Carrington) as various members of the Carrington clan and their oil rivals, the Colbys.
“It is so nice to be a part of this diaspora because you are always glad to see each other,” Gordon Thomson told Bio in a catch-up interview about the series, which made it into the Top 10 in 1982 before landing at No. 1 in 1985.
In honor of the 35th anniversary of the January 1981 premiere of the Golden Globe Award-winning series, we take a look at what happened to Dynasty‘s renowned cast after the series wrapped in 1989.
Forsythe, who was the patriarch of the Carrington clan, followed up his role as Blake Cararington with the TV series The Powers That Be. It only lasted one season.
The New Jersey-born actor also returned for some off-camera work, reprising the voice of the mysterious Charlie, owner of the detective agency on Charlie’s Angeles, when it segued from a TV series to two motion pictures, starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore.
Forsythe died in April 2010 of pneumonia in California. He was 92 years old.
Gordon Thomson recalls how several of the cast members came together to pay tribute to Forsythe on the occasion of his passing: “We gathered at Hollywood Park Race Track — that was John’s favorite place to be,” he tells Bio.
Evans, 73, continued her acting career with several TV movies following the demise of Dynasty, including The Stepsister (1997), Dazzle (1995), The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991), She’ll Take Romance (1990), and Dynasty: The Reunion (1991).
Afterwards, she retired to Rainier, Washington, where she has a home on 70 acres of woodland, and developed an interest in the culinary arts. She used her newfound skill in 2009, competing in — and winning — the U.K. edition of Hell’s Kitchen. She followed that up with a cookbook/memoir, entitled, Recipes for Life: My Memories, in 2012.
“After Dynasty, I wanted a reality check,” Evans said. “I wanted to get in touch with real life, you know?”
Evans is also the inspiration behind The Linda Evans Eyewear Collection.
Collins, 82, has never disappeared from the limelight, continuing to work in series TV — The Royals, Footballers Wives, Rules of Engagement and Happily Divorced — and movies — Saving Santa, Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist, and The Time of Their Lives.
Collins, who became a novelist while still playing Alexis on Dynasty, today is the author of 17 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Most recently, she put her personal treasures up for auction with Julien’s Auctions, including love letters from Warren Beatty.
In 1997, Collins was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, which was followed by her being named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 New Year Honors for services to charity.
Dame Collins, is married to Percy Gibson, 50, her fifth husband.
Locklear’s role as Sammy Jo Carrington on Dynasty was just the beginning of a successful association with Aaron Spelling. She followed up her role as Krystle’s vixen of a niece by playing bad girl Amanda on Melrose Place. Then Locklear cemented her place in TV history with the comedy Spin City. More recently, Locklear reprised her role as Amanda on the reboot of Melrose Place and spent a season on Franklin & Bash.
Locklear, 54, is also famous for her romances, which include marriages to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, with whom she has a daughter Ava. She was also engaged to her former Melrose Place co-star Jack Wagner, but the couple never made it to the altar, breaking off their romance in 2011.
The Canadian actor, 70, joined the cast of Dynasty in its second season as Adam, son of Blake and Alexis Carrington.
Thomson had an extensive career in daytime drama following Dynasty, with roles on The Young and the Restless, Passions, Sunset Beach, Days of Our Lives and Santa Barbara. Most recently, he starred in the online series Winterthorne and DeVanity.
“I loved doing it,” Thomson says of his 3-year role as Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara. “I was very lucky. It was the best writing I ever had in front of the camera.”
Following Dynasty, Thomson also guest starred on several of Aaron Spelling’s other primetime shows, and played a small role in Little Miss Sunshine, which won the Academy Award in 2006 for Best Picture.
These days, Thomson spends his free time reading. He says, “I read and I read. It is one of the most gorgeous pleasures in life.”
Thomson is celebrating his 50th anniversary as an actor this year.
James, 59, began playing hunky Jeff Colby on Dynasty in 1981, following the role to The Colbys and doing double duty, when Aaron Spelling created the spinoff in 1985.
Like Thomson, James, 59, found success in daytime drama when the two ABC primetime series ended, starring on As the World Turns and All My Children, both New York-based soaps.
James’ daughter, Laura, is following in her dad’s footsteps. She won the 19th season of America’s Next Top Model, and launched her acting career with Hello Ladies: The Movie.
Most recently, James and wife Denise sold their farm in Saratoga, N.Y. and moved back to L.A.
PAMELA SUE MARTIN
Martin, 63, portrayed Fallon, the headstrong daughter of oil magnate Blake Carrington for four seasons, before asking out of her contract on Dynasty. She continued to act in TV movies and mini-series, including Bay Coven and Strong Medicine, as well as co-writing, producing and starring in the feature film Torchlight.
Martin also applied her talents to theater as the artistic director of Interplanetary Theater Group. Her theatrical directing credits include Drawerboy (2005), Proof (2002), and Wild Guys (2001), among others.
According to Thomson, Martin is currently residing in Mexico.
Emma Samms, 55, took over the role of Fallon Carrington upon Martin’s departure. These days, she is currently residing in her native England, where she is writing and directing for radio.
Samms did make a return to U.S. television, briefly reprising her role as Holly Sutton-Scorpio on General Hospital in 2015, to mark the departure of Anthony Geary from the long-running ABC soap.
Samms has a son Cameron, 18, and a daughter, Beatrice 17, from her marriage to third husband John Holloway, from whom she split in 2003.