TV Soap’s Dallas’ Sue Ellen Ewing loved his Rodeo Star…
Remembering Dallas’ TV actor Jared Martin’s acting career on and off that ranch.
Dallas: SueEllen and Dusty: Scenes 3, Simply Dallas
I was sad to read of the passing of Jared Martin recently, an actor I had watched in Dallas (1978-91). I’d hated his character for most of his 34 episodes. But then to be fair I always detested anyone who would break up my favourite Dallas couple, J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing. So it’s probably due to Dusty being the first of Sue Ellen’s affairs and not the last, if that character from the final episode, Conundrum can be included (who am I kidding!).
Jared Martin appeared in the second series as Steven “Lusty Dusty” Farlow, as his character entered the Ewing’s Southfork Ranch rodeo. Which was a yearly event along with the barbecue and Oil Barons’ Ball. There, Dusty took a bit of a fancy to the then resident – but not happy – Mrs J.R. Ewing (Linda Gray). Much to the annoyance of J.R. (Larry Hagman) who called him the Cowboy. But then with Martin was three inches taller than Hagman this may explain J.R.’s love of the cowboy boots in many of their scenes together.
Dusty and Sue Ellen had a torrid affair and they fell in love. Sue Ellen planned to leave J.R. but Dusty was killed in a plane crash, and Sue Ellen on hearing this hit the bottle. And husband J.R. got shot with a lengthy list of possible culprits. But despite this, off-screen the bookies were collecting money with bets the dead Dusty was alive and was responsible for the shooting.
So Sue Ellen was implicated in the shooting, and a mystery man put up her bail. It was Lusty Dusty, with Martin back on the
Southfork Southern Cross ranch by popular demand from viewers off-screen. So Martin returned to the show and his character was now in a wheelchair and paralysed. Sue Ellen divorced J.R. and she moved to live with him the Southern Cross Ranch, where they lived kind of happily for a wee while. Despite J.R. banging on about his ex-wife’s sexual needs.
Luckily Dusty was cured by the powers of soap and returned to the rodeo circuit. And Sue Ellen returned to J.R. and Dusty married Linda (Melody Anderson). Anderson played Dale Arden in Flash Gordon. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen had attracted his adoptive father, Clayton.. played by Howard Keel (with surprisingly no singing involved, unless I’ve blanked it from my memory). Dusty came back for Sue Ellen and hoped to reconcile, in that Season 9 dream season… But as for Dusty’s parentage, that’s another storyline…
Jared Martin had also a prolific acting resume in his pre-Dallas days. Martin’s film debut was in his roommate Brian De Palma’s Murder à la Mod (1968) – also De Palma’s first film which has a fantastic 60 feel to the opening credits – where he played the lead. He also popped up in Crichton’s Westworld (1973). However, he is remembered more as a TV actor. His numerous TV included series such as The Fantastic Journey (1977), How the West Was Won (1978-79) and War of the Worlds (1988-90).
His IMDB page impressively shows Martin’s acting CV in just about every hit series of the seventies and eighties. With parts in those series with guest stars galore be it Fantasy Island (1983) and two roles in both The Love Boat (1982-85) and Hotel (1985-86). He additionally acted in Magnum P.I (1986), Hart to Hart (1979) and Murder She Wrote.
In The Six Million Dollar Man (1978), Martin acted alongside Lee Majors, a future Dallas 2012 (2012-15) star as ironically Sue Ellen’s last love interest before the series folded. And Martin started all this off with just one more TV series, Columbo (1973). He also starred in a two-parter episode in Wonder Woman (1975-79) called Phantom of the Rollercoaster. And some ominously titled episodes of Knight Rider (1982-86) in Knight of the Drones and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1980) in The Kids Who Knew too Much.
More bizarrely Imdb’s biography on Martin also mentions Martin played Laertes in a rock-disco version of Hamlet with Martin Sheen – which sounds amazing for this cast alone. But I’ll always remember Martin as Lusty Dusty, the rodeo star, the cowboy and the man who wooed Sue Ellen.