When Tracy met Dynasty’s Gordon Thomson by Tracy Diane Miller
On September 29, 1982, a new Carrington came to town.
Canadian actor Gordon Thomson graced our television screens as long lost son Adam Carrington on the hit night time soap opera, Dynasty. It wasn’t long before the charismatic Thomson, as the heir apparent to the resident villainy established by legendary British actress Joan Collins who played his mother, Alexis Carrington Colby, became one of my all time favorite actors. There was an alluring quality to Thomson’s portrayal. Sure, Adam infamously painted rival Jeff Colby’s office with a poisonous compound laced in the paint (the fumes contributed to Jeff’s erratic mood swings) and plotted with his mother to dethrone his father Blake as the head of the Denver Carrington Oil Company. But there was also traces of vulnerability to the character who bore the scars of a lonely childhood and feelings of abandonment towards the family who stopped searching for him following his kidnapping as a baby.
I LOVED Dynasty largely due to Gordon’s Adam Carrington. The night time soap operas dominated the television landscape in the 1980s. Often in the ratings, it was the battle of the oil titans- J.R. Ewing versus Blake Carrington, the Texan with the ten gallon hat versus the silver-haired Colorado powerhouse with his sweet Krystle by his side. Both the Ewings and the Carringtons helped line television executives’ pockets as Nielsen rating giants.
The television climate was very different thirty years ago. In the 1980s, there was no Internet. Consequently, interaction with other fans about television shows was limited to family, friends or work colleagues. Further, the news cycle ran at a snail’s pace. Fans were lucky if they happened to see a favorite celebrity on a talk show.
In mid-January, 1989, I was a second year law student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. My mother discovered on a news program that Gordon Thomson was scheduled to appear at the Variety Club Telethon at the Philadelphia Civic Center in a few weeks. I couldn’t believe it! I would FINALLY get to see one of my all time favorite actors in person in my hometown. There was no admission fee to attend this event.
My inner 17 year old was excited even as my pessimistic 23 year old self was certain Gordon would cancel his appearance due to some last minute crisis.
There was a chill in the air on Saturday, February 4, 1989. The telethon wasn’t until 10:00 p.m. that evening. I kept myself busy that day reading some dry cases for my International Law class and writing an article on informed consent that I wanted to submit for a law journal.
Arriving at the convention center later that night, my heart was performing a loud symphony in my chest. In these pre-911 days, security wasn’t as stringent at public venues. There were a few security guards who manned the doors as well as others who made their presence known on the convention floor. I spotted Gordon talking to then Miss America Suzette Charles. A short while later, Gordon moved from the stage area to the general area to meet some of the people in attendance. It was 10:10 p.m. When Gordon started walking, so did I. Somehow, I ended up at the front of the line. And somehow, my brain and my voice cooperated. I was able to let Gordon know I was a big fan of his, compliment his work on Dynasty and give him the University of Pennsylvania Law School coffee mug I had bought for him as a gift. He smiled, thanked me and gave me a hug. I have never forgotten that moment.
Dynasty ended its network run on May 11, 1989. But I continue to support Gordon in subsequent projects including his roles on the soap operas Santa Barbara, Passions and Sunset Beach. Most recently, Gordon appeared in the Michael Caruso created web series DeVanity and Winterthorne.
I will always remember how gracious Gordon Thomson was when I met him. Twenty-seven years later, the memory is still beautifully clear in my mind. Every year, on February 4th, I let the memory live again.
UPDATED: I interviewed Gordon Thomson for The Nerdy Girl Express on July 18, 2016!
After spending 30 years in law, I am grateful and thrilled to be pursuing my first love of writing. As a published poet of numerous poetry books, book reviewer and journalist, there is a marvelous satisfaction that I find in exploring this new facet of my life.
I am pleased that I was able to interview Gordon Thomson and be able to showcase his remarkable body of work for The Nerdy Girl Express readers!