Victoria Principal, best known for her iconic role as Pamela Barnes Ewing, gained global recognition as the TV show Dallas became one of the most successful primetime soap operas in television history.
Victoria was born on January 3, 1950, in Japan. Her father, a sergeant in the United States Air Force, was stationed in the city of Fukuoka at the time of her birth. Consequently, she spent the early months of her life in Japan. Due to her family’s frequent relocations, Victoria attended 17 different schools during her childhood.
Interestingly, her first taste of acting came at the tender age of five, when she appeared in a TV commercial. Yet at that time, she didn’t anticipate that acting would eventually become her life’s passion.
Victoria Principal’s childhood wasn’t always easy, according to various reports, largely due to her turbulent relationship with her mother. In a 2012 interview with Huffington Post, she said, “I wish I had known my childhood would end.” Despite this, she also acknowledged her parents’ influence on her self-perception, once stating, “I was very lucky. My parents raised me in such a way that it never occurred to me that I wasn’t equal.”
As for her career aspirations, Victoria initially had her heart set on becoming a doctor. However, just as she was concluding her first year of medical studies, she suffered serious injuries in a car crash. This incident forced her to take a break for recovery, during which she missed substantial academic work and was faced with the possibility of repeating her first year. At that point, she wasn’t willing to go back and start over.
One of Victoria’s initial roles in film was playing the mistress of the protagonist in “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” a character named Roy Bean and portrayed by Paul Newman. This performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Newcomer.
Despite the recognition, Victoria found acting to be quite demanding and exhausting. Consequently, she decided to pivot her career and began working as a talent agent.
However, her journey with acting wasn’t over. Roughly two years later, she was offered the role of Pamela Barnes Ewing, a character that would bring her significant acclaim and recognition.
Reflecting on this pivotal moment, Victoria shared, “I had left acting to become an agent and was on my way to law school, but when a friend dropped off a Dallas script, I read it. Upon finishing, I knew my life had changed – that part was mine.” She took the initiative and called the casting director, saying, “I’m sending someone in.” When asked who, she replied, “Just put down my name. It will be a surprise.” The surprise, as it turned out, was that Victoria had submitted herself for the role!
The Dallas series was a resounding success and catapulted Victoria to stardom. At the time of the show’s premiere, she was 28 years old. Her portrayal of Pamela Barnes Ewing earned her nominations for a Golden Globe and two Soap Opera Digest Awards.
In 1987, Victoria decided to leave the Dallas series. Speculation about her departure abounded, but she clarified her reasons to the New York Times, stating, “A lot of work has gone into keeping Victoria Principal separate from Pam Ewing. To stay on the show any longer would really seal my fate in the industry.”
Victoria has been married twice, with both unions ending in divorce. Though she doesn’t have children of her own, she maintains a close relationship with the son and daughter from her second husband’s previous marriage.
After departing from Dallas, Victoria pivoted to entrepreneurship and established her skincare company, Principal Secret. This venture transformed into a massive empire, reportedly generating yearly revenue of $1.5 billion. As of the latest reports, Victoria’s net worth is estimated to be around $350 million.
Despite her successful tenure at the helm of Principal Secret, Victoria eventually chose to step back to focus on her foundation, The Victoria Principal Foundation for Thoughtful Existence. “I continue to be passionately dedicated to running my skincare company, Principal Secret. We are about to celebrate 27 years in business. And I have never forgotten that Dallas gave me the springboard to achieve so many of my dreams,” she revealed in a 2018 interview with TV Insider.
At 73 years old, Victoria continues to charm with her timeless beauty. She remains active on social media, where she shares pictures of herself, the animals her foundation aids, and nostalgic snapshots from the days of Dallas, the series that forever transformed her life.