Originally a spin-off of the hit CBS soap opera “Dallas,” “Knots Landing” would eventually outperform Dallas in the ratings. The series focused on the lives of four couples living in Knots Landing, California, and while “Dallas” was based around rich society, “Knots Landing” dealt with real life issues such as drug addiction and parenting issues. In 1997, the cast of the show reunited for the mini-series “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac,” which took place four years after the show’s ending. We take a look back at the show’s massive cast and see what they’ve been up to since leaving the series.
Source: Sitcoms Online
Michele Lee, who played Karen MacKenzie on the show, was the only cast member to appear on all 344 episodes. Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination and multiple Soap Opera Digest Awards. In 2015, the Los Angeles native returned to Broadway with her portrayal of Madame Morrible in the hit musical “Wicked.”
Don Murray played the role of Karen’s first husband, Sid Fairgate, who died at the start of season three. Behind the scenes, Murray wanted to leave the popular show to start working on other projects. He recently worked on an episode of the 2017 “Twin Peaks” series, which is a continuation of the popular ’90s series.
Ted Shackelford played the role of the family black sheep Gary Ewing. Just like Michele Lee, the Oklahoma City native appeared in the show’s entire run. In 2006, Shackelford portrayed twin brothers William and Jeffrey Bardwell on the hit CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” In 2013, he reprised the Gary Ewing role on TNT’s revival of “Dallas.”
Joan Van Ark
Joan Van Ark played Val Ewing on the series, which earned her two Soap Opera Digest Awards in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role: Prime Time. In 2004, she landed the recurring role of Gloria Abbott on “The Young and the Restless.” In 2015, she lent her voice to characters in the “Fallout 4” video game.
Constance McCashin is best known for the role of Laura Avery Sumner on the show. Her performance earned her a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role on a Prime Time Serial. Her last performance was in the 1999 film “The Out-of-Towners.” She is now a psychotherapist in Massachusetts.
John Pleshette, who is best known for portraying Lee Harvey Oswald in the 1977 television film “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald,” played the role of Richard Avery on the series. Aside from acting, the New York City native wrote eight episodes of the show. Recently, he’s appeared on “Law & Order: LA,” “American Horror Story,” and “Happily Divorced.”
Jim Houghton played the role of record producer Kenny Ward for the first four seasons of “Knots Landing.” After leaving the show, the Los Angeles native became a soap opera writer for “The Bold & The Beautiful” and “The Young & The Restless,” which landed him four Daytime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team.
Kim Lankford played the role of kindergarten teacher Ginger Ward on the show. After leaving “Knots Landing,” the actress landed on shows such as “In the Heat of the Night,” “Diagnosis: Murder,” and “Martial Law.” In 2015, she appeared in the TV film “Dead of Winter: The Donner Party” and the documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
Patrick Petersen portrayed Karen’s son Michael Fairgate on the show. The Los Angeles native reprised the role in the 1997 TV mini-series “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac,” but he has since retired from acting. He’s currently the owner of a health-food business called Rhino Naturals.
Claudia Lonow played the role of Karen’s daughter Diana Fairgate. After the show, the New York City native turned her attention to writing and producing TV shows. Her producing and writing credits include “The War at Home,” “Less Than Perfect,” and “Crowded.” In 2015, she won the Audience Choice Award at the L.A. Indie Film Fest for the short film Bummed.
Julie Harris played Val’s mom Lilimae Clements on the show. In her illustrious career, the Michigan native won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards, and one Grammy. On August 24, 2013, Harris passed away at the age of 87 from heart failure. Her final role was in the 2009 film “The Lightkeepers.”
Donna Mills played troublemaker Abby Cunningham, and her performance landed the Chicago native three Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Villainess: Prime Time. This wasn’t the last time she would be in the soap opera world. In 2014, she played Madeline Reeves on “General Hospital.” She would go on to win a 2015 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series.
Tonya Crowe played the rebellious Olivia Cunningham on the show. After leaving the show, the Los Angeles native made appearances on the TV series “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” and the film Only In Venice, which she wrote. She is currently a yoga instructor. In 2016, she made an appearance on the Bravo reality series “Untying The Knot.”
Kevin Dobson, who is known by many as Detective Bobby Crocker on “Kojak,” played the role of attorney M. Patrick “Mack” MacKenzie on the show. He gained four Soap Opera Digest Awards for his performance. Recently, the New York City native had landed roles on “House of Lies,” “Anger Management,” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”
Lisa Hartman got her first big roles as singers (and doppelgangers) Ciji Dunne and Cathy Geary on the show. The Texan also had a music career while acting. She released five studio albums, including her 1987 release “‘Til My Heart Stops.” In 2000, she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration of the Year along with her husband Clint Black for the hit “When I Said I Do.” She recently appeared on her husband’s 2015 album “On Purpose.”
William Devane played Greg Sumner on the show for 10 years. Today, many folks know him as James Heller on the hit FOX series “24” and its 2014 follow-up “24: Live Another Day” or as Dr. Dix on the “Jesse Stone” TV movies. He recently appeared on the FOX sitcom “The Grinder,” which starred Rob Lowe and Fred Savage.
Doug Sheehan played the role of journalist Ben Gibson. After leaving the show, the California native landed the roles of Brian Harper on the NBC sitcom “Day By Day” and Mel Horowitz on the ABC sitcom “Clueless.” His last television role was portraying Edward Spellman on “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.”
One of Alec Baldwin’s first major roles was the televangelist Joshua Rush on the series. The New York native would go on to star on “30 Rock,” which earned him numerous Emmys and Golden Globes for his performance. On the movie side, his roles in The Cooler, The Aviator, and The Departed earned him Oscar and S.A.G. Awards nominations.
Nicollette Sheridan originally had a recurring role of Paige Matheson on the show, but she wound up being a series regular towards the end. 11 years after the show ended, the English native landed the role of Edie Britt on the hit ABC series “Desperate Housewives,” which earned her a 2005 Golden Globe nomination.
Brian Austin Green
Before Brian Austin Green could make his way to “Beverly Hills, 90210,” he landed the recurring role of Brian Cunningham on “Knots Landing,” which earned him two Young Artist Award nominations. Recently, the California native had a regular role on the sitcom “Anger Management,” and he starred in the action film “Cross 2.”