By Pat Sellers
The latest soulmate of Dallas' master heel is blonde, hazel-eyed Audrey Landers, who's no newcomer to show business (she made her professional debut at 4) but only recently cast herself in the glamour-girl mold. She underwent an image change shortly before the Dallas audition, discarding an Alice-in-Wonderland look that was netting her mostly “cheerleader roles.”
When she went in to read for the part of Afton Cooper, it was with a new hairdo and makeup and in a dress borrowed from her sister, actress Judy Landers (“Stacks” of B.J. and the Beer), all more appropriate than anything in her wardrobe. She heard from Dallas (the show) at 7 p.m. the next day, and the following morning was on her way to Dallas (the city) to begin filming.
Landers' metamorphosis into a sexpot is, she insists, strictly external “I'm very, very different from the character I'm playing. I've got very old-fashioned values. I would never compromise myself for anything.”
Indeed, her response to every question tilts decidedly less Afton-ward than toward Wonderland's wide-eyed Allce Her relationship with her mother and manager, Ruth Landers, is “like a fairy tale”; her sister Judy is “my best friend in the world.”
She's currently dating a law student, unnamed (“my personal life is very special to me”), and would one day like to have a husband and family, though she'd never dream-- as Afton most assuredly does--of marrying for money. “I think there are a few things in life that are more important than money. Look at all those people on Dallas--how unhappy they are!”
She does, however, share one characteristic with Afton Cooper, the most determined lady in Dallas since Kristin relocated. Audrey Landers, says her mother, is “a very determined girl who knows what she's doing every step of the way.”
That determination propelled her through high school with a straight A average, despite the fact that she had been accelerated a year; was taking even more advanced courses; and was absent three days of every week to work on the soap opera Secret Storm and then on Somerset. “I wanted to be sure I'd get into the only college I applied to--Barnard.”
Unsure of whether she'd later pursue medicine or acting, she enrolled as a premed student while continuing to work on the soap. “I'd leave for the studio every day at 6 a.m, get back at 4:30 or 5 on a good day, attend classes from 7 fill 11, then go back to the dorm, do my homework and study my script for the next day I was averaging 4 1/2 hours' sleep a night.” She graduated with a 3.9 average.
Landers then decided to make the final commitment to acting. She enrolled at Juilliard to study music theory and composition. After a semester, she moved out to Hollywood and “spent three years adjusting. It was a pretty bad time. The parts I was getting were nice, but nothing heavy. I guess I was spoiled by the soaps, where I got to do every sort of dramatic scene imaginable.”
Now she's back in soap opryland, nighttime variety. Now, in addition to having her fill of dramatic scenes, she's also scheduled to display her singing talents (it's rumored that J.R. will buy her a nightclub).