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Town hall series gets ‘dynastic’ start

Evans describes how she learned to age ‘gracefully’

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Trumbull Town Hall speaker, actress Linda Evans, answers questions from the audience during the opening TTH program on Wednesday at Packard Music Hall. The program is marking its 44th year with the 2021-2022 season.

WARREN — Even though film star and actress Linda Evans had plenty of money, fame and awards, she still felt something was missing.

“All my life, I’ve wanted to know love,” Evans told an audience of several hundred during a lecture she gave Wednesday at W.D. Packard Music Hall.

Evans’ presentation, “Aging Gracefully: Living Your Best Life and Life Lessons,” opened the 2021-22 Trumbull Town Hall series, in its 44th year.

Evans, 78, is perhaps best known for her role as Krystle Carrington in the 1980s Aaron Spelling nighttime soap opera “Dynasty,” for which she won five People’s Choice awards for favorite actress in a drama. Many also remember Evans for her portrayal of Audra Barkley in the popular 1960s western “The Big Valley,” in which Barbara Stanwyck played her mother.

The longtime television star recalled that after her nine-year relationship with new-age pianist Yanni ended in 1998, she learned she had “looked for love in all the wrong places. It’s inside ourselves that we have to look for love.”

Evans said she also discovered the value of seeking enjoyment and fulfillment without allowing one’s age to stymie those efforts.

“As we age, it’s important to continually reinvent ourselves” and conquer the fear of trying new adventures, Evans said, adding she learned to ski in Aspen, Colo., at age 64.

It didn’t matter how often she fell on the slopes; the important aspect of the experience was the excitement from doing something new, Evans explained.

She also lived for a while in Africa with the Maasai, an ethnic group that lives mainly in much of Kenya and northern Tanzania. Even though they had few western amenities, the children and adults were content and self-sufficient — something that had a dramatic effect on Evans, she said.

“I saw how happy they were with what civilized life calls nothing,” Evans added.

The actress also discussed many aspects of her career in show business, starting with her appearance in a 1960 episode of “Bachelor Father,” starring John Forsythe. The role was her first speaking part, Evans remembered.

She also humored her audience with her recollections of having been in “Beach Blanket Bingo,” a 1965 comedy in which a group of misfits hit the beach for a series of shenanigans. Evans played the part of pop singer Sugar Kane.

Before being cast in “Dynasty” in 1981, Evans appeared in the 1979 thriller “Avalanche Express” with Lee Marvin, as well as in the western “Tom Horn,” one of Steve McQueen’s final films.

Evans recalled having been turned down for a part in the 1979 Walt Disney Productions science-fiction film “The Black Hole.” Nevertheless, the rejection proved a blessing because it paved the way for her to land the “Dynasty” role — something that was a “nine-year job, not a nine-month job,” Evans explained.

“It was an amazing, amazing nine years,” she said.

Evans also talked about her failed marriages to actor and film director John Derek, who, while filming in Greece, had an affair with the 17-year-old star, Bo Derek; and Stan Herman, a property executive.

Evans also praised Bunky Young, her former assistant and one of her best friends whom she said exemplifies the ideals of forging ahead while dealing with hardships. Young, who is about 90, started a band a few years ago, despite suffering from macular degeneration. Young also continues to enjoy life without allowing a recent fall that damaged her pelvis to slow her down, Evans continued.

The longtime performer also advised those in her audience to view inevitable failure as a path to greater wisdom, to see self-love as a means to accept oneself regardless of having failed and to not let fear stop them from setting out on a new adventure.

“Do something you have never done, and open your arms and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy,” she said.

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