Barbara Kain also stood-in for Ms. Ellie, appeared on-screen as actress
DALLAS, TX---During the summer and fall of 1980, America was captivated by one question: "Who shot J.R.?"
That was a reference to Larry Hagman's character, J.R. Ewing, on the CBS series, Dallas. The "reveal" episode on November 21, 1990 was, at the time, the highest-rated television episode in U.S. history.
Barbara Kain, now a resident of Highland Springs, the Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas, had a front-row seat to the entire drama.
In season one of Dallas, Mrs. Kain served as a stand-in for actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who played the Ewing family matriarch Ms. Ellie.
"Ms. Bel Geddes would sit off-camera, and I would be on the set so the crew could adjust the lighting," described Mrs. Kain. "Ms. Bel Geddes was a wonderful actress and a real character off the screen."
For Mrs. Kain, the journey to the set of Dallas was remarkable, beginning much later in life than most acting prodigies. She attended Southern Methodist University (SMU), where she jokingly admitted she "majored" in her soon-to-be husband, Patrick.
They raised a son and daughter, and at one point, lived in California near Hollywood. Ironically, Mrs. Kain did not act there, but was exposed to the industry.
She performed some runway model work, but it was not until she returned to the city of Dallas that her acting career began in earnest at the age of thirty-five via the Kim Dawson Agency.
That connection led to commercial work for the likes of Bombay Company, Radio Shack and Zales and children's voice-over work in various ads. Some of her commercials even aired during two Super Bowl telecasts.
While as an extra on the set of Dallas in 1979, Mrs. Kain was asked by the casting director to serve as the stand-in for Ms. Bel Geddes because of her coloring and height. "Not too many people realize now that the first season was filmed in the city of Dallas and surrounding areas. It was like a dream come to true," recalled Mrs. Kain. "It wasn't until season two that the show was shot in Hollywood with a few scenes still filmed here."
During season two in 1980, Mrs. Kain gained her fame. In the cliffhanger episode, she made it on-screen to play a nurse who wheeled J.R. on a gurney into the emergency room after he was shot. She also appeared in the operating room scene.
"I always say that I helped save J.R's life," she noted with a laugh.
Now at Highland Springs, Mrs. Kain is only semi-retired from acting, doing a photography job and commercial film work. She enjoys swimming, spending time with her family and volunteering, and she shared her expertise to the retirement community's drama club at its inception.
With the resurrection of the Dallas series on TNT this summer, Mrs. Kain has found herself watching the show. "I am always interested in Larry Hagman. He's not only a great actor, but knows how to market it, too."
"The notoriety of appearing on Dallas was unreal. People would ask to take my photograph," Mrs. Kain said. "It was an incredible experience."
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs, managed and developed by Erickson Living, is a retirement community that provides worry-free living for America's seniors-the country's fastest growing population segment. Erickson Living's financial value and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind. Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into our continuum of care, lead to demonstrated resident benefits. A robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. For more information, please visit www.ericksonliving.com.