Charlene Tilton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charlene Tilton
Charlene Tilton.jpg
Tilton in 2010
Born Charlene L. Tilton
(1958-12-01) December 1, 1958 (age 58)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Johnny Lee (1982-1984)
Domenick Allen (1985-1992)

Charlene L. Tilton (born December 1, 1958) is an American actress and singer.[1][2] She is best known for playing Lucy Ewing, the saucy niece of John "J.R." Ewing Jr. (played by Larry Hagman), on the 1980s television series Dallas.


Tilton had early roles on television series such as Happy Days and Eight Is Enough. She made her first film appearance alongside Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday (1976). In 1978, Tilton made a cameo appearance in the John Milius film Big Wednesday. The following year, she made her big break by landing the role of Lucy Ewing, the sly, vixenish, frequently frustrated granddaughter of John "Jock" Ewing Sr. and the former Eleanor "Ellie" Southworth on the popular television series Dallas, alongside legendary television actors Jim Davis, Barbara Bel Geddes and Larry Hagman, from 1978 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1990. She also appeared on one episode of the series spin-off series, Knots Landing, in 1980. After Dallas fame, she received $50,000 salary per episode, appeared on 500 magazine covers and drew 65 million viewers for her 1981 TV wedding.[3]

Tilton is also a singer; her own vocals were heard on a 1978 episode of Dallas titled "Runaway", in which Greg Evigan guest-starred. In 1984, she released a dance-pop single, "C'est La Vie", which became a hit in several countries in Europe.[4] She appeared on Circus of the Stars in 1979 and 1991, on one occasion acting as a knife thrower's target girl in a gold bikini. Tilton also compiled experience on game shows, as a panelist on the 1979-1982 syndicated version of Match Game. She also hosted the pilot for a potential revival of the show in syndication as Match Game 2/MG2 in 1996.

Tilton was the guest host on Saturday Night Live on February 21, 1981. The episode in question featured a parody of the famed "Who shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas. In the episode, cast member Charles Rocket was shot in the chest by a sniper while doing a sketch about a sexy couple (with Gail Matthius as his partner) bathing a dog and spouting innuendo. At the end of the series, as its cast members traditionally gathered around the host to say good night, Tilton asked Rocket how he felt about being shot. In character, a wheelchair-using Rocket improvised, "Oh, man, it’s the first time I've ever been shot in my life. I'd like to know who the fuck did it."[5] The improvisation by Rocket, which violated NBC-TV broadcast standards, was during a season generally considered one of the show's poorest, and it led to Rocket's dismissal from the show's cast.

Tilton appeared in a number of commercials for the Abdominizer line of directly-marketed workout equipment in the 1990s. She appeared as herself in an episode of Married... with Children which sent up her involvement with the "Abdominizer". In addition, she has appeared in several send-up comedies, such as The Silence of the Hams (1994), Superhero Movie (2008) and Paranormal Calamity (2010). In 2005, she appeared in the British reality television show The Farm.

In 2001, Tilton was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for her role as Lucy Ewing on the original Dallas television series.[6] In January 2012, Tilton was a contestant on the British ice-skating show Dancing on Ice in its seventh season. She was paired with American figure skater, Matthew Gonzalez, who has previously worked with British actress Danniella Westbrook. But Tilton was voted out of the competition in week five of a twelve-week run.[7]

In 2012, Tilton joined the cast of TNT's Dallas revival series, and reprised her role as Lucy Ewing in multiple episodes.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Tilton was born on December 1, 1958 in San Diego, California, the daughter of Katherine Thacker, a secretary;[10] she grew up without knowing her father and with few financial resources available to her or her mother.[citation needed]

Tilton is shorter than mean-average height for most actresses, standing approximately 4'11" (1.50 m) tall in stocking feet.

Tilton was married to country singer Johnny Lee from 1982 to 1984. She has one daughter, Cherish Lee Dunn, born in 1982. In 2001, Tilton began dating cinematographer, Cheddy Hart. The couple enjoyed boating and lived together in a modest home in Oxnard, California. In December 2009, Hart suddenly died from heart failure at age 54.

Tilton is an strong advocate for Autism Awareness in the media. She is currently the ambassador for Actors For Autism, an organization that leads improv and acting workshops for children and adults with autism. She approached AFA in 210 with the desire to volunteer and has been affiliated with them ever since. [11]



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Freaky Friday Bambi
1978 Sweater Girls Candy
1978 Big Wednesday Party Girl
1980 Pale Horse Pale Rider Miranda Short film
1990 Law at Randado Edith Hanasain
1991 Problem Child 2 Debbie Claukinski
1991 Ragin' Cajun Ali Webster
1991 For Parents Only Mrs. Farell
1992 Deadly Bet Isabella
1992 Center of the Web Kathryn Lockwood
1994 The Silence of the Hams Jane Wine
1998 Detonator Gail Davies
2000 Guido Takes a Hike Bartender Short film
2001 Totally Blonde Blonde School Director
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Charlene Tilton
2005 A Distant Thunder Susan Short film
2006 Getting It Straight Cynthia Rosenburg Short film
2008 Tell Veronica Veronica Star
2008 Superhero Movie Jill's Mother
2009 The Fish Charlene Tilton
2009 Sarah's Choice Michelle Biden Direct-to-video
2010 Paranormal Calamity Jacquiline
2010 #1 Cheerleader Camp Charlene Tilton Direct-to-video
2010 Mean Parents Suck Jean Farell
2011 Doctor Spine Aunt Sally
2012 Edge of Salvation Sarah Malone
2012 Hemingway Mrs. Hemingway
2013 Buttwhistle Mrs. Podgorney
2013 Lucky Dog Jeanie
2014 Not Another Celebrity Movie Chef


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Happy Days Jill Higgins Episode: "They Shoot Fonzies, Don't They?"
1977 Eight Is Enough Wendy Springer Episode: "Women, Ducks and the Domino Theory"
Dallas Lucy Ewing Cooper Series regular, 246 episodes
Young Artist Award for Best Juvenile Actress in a TV Series or Special (1979)
Young Artist Award Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
TV Land Pop Culture Award (2006)
1979 Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker Julie TV Movie
1979 The Fall of the House of Usher Jennifer Cresswell TV Movie
1980 Knots Landing Lucy Ewing Episode: "Home is for Healing"
1980 Laverne & Shirley The Girl at Bar Episodes: "Murder on the Moose Jaw Express: Part 1 and Part 2"
1980 Fantasy Island Charlotte 'Charlie' Johnson Episode: "Skater's Edge/Concerto of Death/The Last Great Race"
1981 Saturday Night Live Herself - Host / Various Episode: "Charlene Tilton/Todd Rundgren/Prince"
1983 Hotel Holly Lane Episode: "Relative Loss"
1980–87 The Love Boat Various 4 episodes
1987 Murder, She Wrote Cindy March Episode: "The Cemetery Vote"
1993 Married... with Children Herself Episode: "Tis Time to Smell the Roses"
1995 Favorite Deadly Sins Norma Jean TV Movie
1995 Star Witness Grace Kelly TV Movie
1998 Safety Patrol Mrs. Zapruder TV Movie
2000 The Theory of Everything Stephanie TV Movie
2000 Bar Hopping Actress TV Movie
2004 Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork Herself TV Special
2007 Point of Entry Helen TV Movie
2012–14 Dallas Lucy Ewing 6 episodes
2013 DeVanity Francesca DeVanity Web series, Guest Star in episode 3.6
2013 Reading, Writing & Romance Penny TV Movie


  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ "Charlene Tilton". November 28, 1994. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Though not in the United States.
  5. ^ Shales, Tom; Miller, James Andrew (2002). Live from New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Little, Brown and Company. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-316-78146-6. 
  6. ^ "22nd Annual Young Artist Awards". Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Charlene Tilton on Dancing on Ice and going back to Dallas - Mirror Online". January 7, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Keck's Exclusives: TNT's Dallas to Serve Up More Lucy and Ray - Today's News: Our Take". November 10, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ "'Dallas': After Charlene Tilton's cameo, who else should return? - Zap2it". June 15, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Charlene Tilton Biography (1958)
  11. ^ "What Happened to Dallas' "Scheming Sexpot"? The Oprah Winfrey Show". 

External links[edit]