Victoria Principal

Active - 1972 - 2003  |   Born - Jan 3, 1950 in Fukuoka, Japan  |   Genres - Drama

Share on

Biography

Born in Japan to American parents (her father was a career officer in the Air Force), brunette leading lady Victoria Principal spent her teen years in Florida, where she was elected Miss Miami in 1969. While studying acting at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Principal became romantically involved with a much-older British financier named Bernard Cornfield. Thanks to Cornfield's show-business connections, Principal was able to meet enough of the "right people" to begin a movie career in 1971. After appearing without distinction in such films as Earthquake (1971) and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), she tried to give her flagging career a shot in the arm by posing nude in Playboy magazine. She then quit acting for nearly three years, becoming a talent agent for other actors, all the while seeking out the right "comeback" vehicle for herself. In 1978 she found that vehicle when she was cast as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the internationally popular TV serial Dallas. During her early Dallas years, she briefly pursued a singing career in the company of her then-boyfriend Andy Gibb. This came to naught, but Principal's other business enterprises -- her clothing and cosmetic lines, her self-help books The Body Principal (1983), The Beauty Principal (1984) and The Diet Principal (1987) -- made her a millionaire many times over. Since leaving Dallas in 1987, Principal has, through an unbeatable combination of talent and persistence, transformed herself into the Queen of Made-for-TV Movies, far outflanking such possible competitors as Cheryl Ladd and Jane Seymour. Those credits include Sparks: The Price of Passion, River of Rage, Dancing in the Dark, and Love In Another Town.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography

Factsheet

  • Father Victor was a sergeant in the US Air Force; she was raised on a series of Air Force bases in London, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts and Florida.
  • Began her acting career at age 5, with an appearance in a commercial.
  • Went to college for chiropractic medicine, but left school to become a model.
  • Named Miss Miami in 1969. 
  • Made her film debut in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring Paul Newman, in 1972.
  • Posed nude for Playboy in September 1973.
  • Worked as a talent agent for three years during the 1970s, when she became unhappy about her acting career.
  • Planned on going to law school and becoming a studio executive in 1978, until Aaron Spelling offered her a year's tuition to accept a part in the pilot of Fantasy Island.
  • Best known for playing Pamela Barnes Ewing on Dallas for nine seasons.
  • Authored several health books focusing on womens' issues, including the 1983 best-seller The Body Principal: The Exercise Program for Life.
  • Made stage-acting debut in a 1990 production of Love Letters.