The transformation of Joan Van Ark: From star on ‘Dallas’ and ‘Knots Landing’ to loving mother and wife

Known primarily for the spinoff series Knots Landing, Joan Van Ark gained popularity as Dallas’ Valene Ewing. The actress, who had a brief reunion with her high school boyfriend in 2012, is now happily married to him and they have a daughter together.

Even though Van Ark is 78 years old, he is still going strong. You now have a complete understanding of Joan Van Ark’s life and the reasons behind her assertion that she was solely responsible for Knots Landing’s demise.

Joan Van Ark

The fourth of Dorothy Jean Van Ark and Carroll Van Ark’s four children, Joan Van Ark was born in New York City on June 16, 1943. When she was seven years old, her family relocated to Boulder, Colorado, and the change of scenery proved to be quite beneficial to her later in life.

Joan Van Ark: Biography & Career

Van Ark knew she wanted to be an actor from the beginning, despite the fact that her parents—her father being in public relations and her mother being a writer—never held positions in the film industry.

Joan said We Love Soaps that she made the decision to pursue a career in show industry when the quarterback of her high school football team declined her invitation to prom.

That progressed further in Boulder. I went to the Community Playhouse to try out for a play. Joan Van Ark remembered, “I said, ‘Screw boys,’ and went and auditioned for a play when the quarterback on the football team didn’t ask me to the prom.”

“I got the flower girl and the insect bite, but not the role I tried out for. I auditioned with a monologue, and you could have heard a pin drop. They gave me such great compliments that I exclaimed, “Who needs guys?”

Joan Van Ark

Van Ark met actress Julie Harris while doing a press interview for a local newspaper while she was playing in Denver, and the actress convinced her to enroll in the Yale Drama School to study acting and drama.

Van Ark became the second woman to enroll and the youngest student to ever obtain a scholarship to a reputable university as a result. Julie Harris was the first woman to assist Van Ark in entering the school.

“She requested a meeting with the dean in a letter. In summary, she said, “My parents took me to New Haven, Connecticut, where I met the dean and was awarded a scholarship.””It had to happen.”

Valene Ewing on “Knots Landing” and “Dallas”

Van Ark debuted professionally at the Minneapolis Guthrie Theater, where she played the lead role in Moliere’s The Miser.She traveled down to work with the national touring production Barefoot in the Park in 1963, which led to her Broadway debut, after working for nearly a year at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. She starred in The School for Wives and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1971 for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

By then, Joan Van Ark had moved from performing on stage to working in front of a screen. She had appearances on several TV shows, such as Days of Our Lives, Spider-Woman, Temperature’s Rising, and even one episode of Bonanza.

As the 1980s drew near, Joan Van Ark continued to search for her big break, despite having no shortage of work. She appeared in multiple episodes of Dallas in 1978 as Valene Ewing, which helped her land the part of a lifetime.

Valene Ewing
When the Dallas spinoff Knots Landing debuted in 1979, Joan Van Ark played Valene Ewing once more. She co-starred with Michele Lee as Karen and Ted Schakleford as Gary in 327 episodes before rising to fame.Though it was a Dallas spinoff, the show about the wealthy but corrupt Ewing Clan was first presented to CBS years before.

However, Dallas was chosen as the show that the network wanted—a “big rich family.” But later, once the studio saw how huge of a show Dallas had become, Knots Landing became enormously popular and, in just one season, surged into the top 20 in TV ratings.

How Joan Van Ark nearly passed up her most important duty

The plot of Knots Landing revolved around Gary Ewing and his wife Valene, portrayed by Van Ark, and their decision to establish a new life there.

Van Ark, though, nearly lost out on Valene Ewing’s part. She clarified that she performed The Love Boat simultaneously and for a commercial in New York, which resulted in a “three-way clash.”

Ultimately, it was her spouse, John Marshall, to whom we will return shortly, who convinced her to select Dallas. Furthermore, it was a big and crucial decision.

“When I received the call inviting me to make a guest appearance on Dallas, a popular show, I told my husband, ‘John, what’s the point of reading this script?'” She told Express, “I can’t be in three locations at once. After reading it, he answered, “No, you have to do it. It appears fantastic.

Valene Ewing, Knots Landing

In essence, he persuaded me to agree to a timetable that called for me to spend one day in Los Angeles, two days in Dallas, two days in New York, and finally return to Texas. But now that I’m looking at this old cast photo from Dallas spinoff Knots Landing, I’m so happy I paid attention to him,” she continued.

Van Ark committed herself to Dallas and Knots Landing for fifteen years, and she began to be known by her character. She had a lengthy history with Julie Harris, as was previously established, and they reconnected in 1980.

“I could be safe and stay on the show forever.”

For the actress, Harris’ casting as Van Arks’ mother in Knots Landing seemed almost too wonderful to be true.

“I held my breath when the producers told me they had finally found someone to play my mother,” she recounted in a Florida Today interview from 1984.

“Oh my God, I wondered, would they mention Zsa Zsa Gabor, Phyllis Diller, or someone else? When they revealed that it was Julie Harris, I flew through the roof. I was in shock that they chose her to be my mother. They were unaware of our friendship.

Joan Van Ark appeared in 327 episodes over the course of 13 seasons. Then, Knots Landing was discontinued in 1993, just one season after she departed. However, Joan didn’t leave since she didn’t enjoy it. Rather, she was focusing on taking on new challenges.

Joan Van Ark

Van Ark once told the Los Angeles Times, “I could stay on the show forever and be safe.” This was in 1992.

“However, I had a phrase by Tennessee Williams—taken from an essay he’d written about success—taped on my mirror when I performed Night of the Iguana in Williamstown, Massachusetts, three years ago. I’ll quote it here: “In Los Angeles, security takes the form of a kidney-shaped pool where you wait for your leftover checks.” I shouldn’t be comfortable as an artist, yet I was on Knots in my comfort zone.

The TV show also started to play a significant role in Van Ark’s life at that time. She believed things would be simpler, so even though she felt comfortable leaving, it was a hard blow.

blamed herself for the cancellation of “Knots Landing”

“During my 13 years on that show, I have loved more than life,” the woman remarked. “[Knots Landing creator] David Jacobs has taught me so much about so many things and has had a huge impact on my life.” Ted [Shackelford] is a big part of my heart and the other half of every breath I take on the show. We have shared divorces, funerals, and marriages; these folks are like family to me. It’s much harder to leave than I anticipated.

Without the fantastic chemistry between Valen and Gary, the show fell flat. Joan accepted responsibility for the program’s cancellation.

All right, I was at fault. “I quickly went to NBC to work on a pilot, but it didn’t work out,” she remarked. After spending fourteen years with the same woman, I was eager to move on, so I tried out for the pilot and got the part. The negotiation wasn’t as smooth as it ought to have been. They invited me to return when the pilot didn’t work out, and I completed the show’s four-hour finale.

Even after leaving the soap opera industry, Joan Van Ark remained a popular TV celebrity, appearing in several shows. She starred in a few television movies and had small roles in a few television shows, such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Joan portrayed Gloria Fisher in fifty-five episodes of the wildly popular television series The Young and the Restless between 2004 and 2005.

Joan Van Ark, John Marshall

Joan Van Ark: spouse, kids, and marriage

Celebrities in Hollywood frequently wed other celebrities, and these unions don’t usually endure very long.

Joan Van Ark, however, found the love of her life while still in high school, thus that was not the case. She was a student in Boulder when she met her husband, John Marshall. The pair wed on a German military base in 1966.She said to UPI, “Believe me, it was nothing like the marriages [Valene Ewing] has gone through.”

Their daughter Vanessa Marshall, who also decided to pursue a career in entertainment, was born in 1969. She gave up on her acting career on camera to become a well-known voice actor. Rather, Vanessa Marshall is the voice of various video games, television shows, and animated movies.

John Marshall went on to work for NBC and KNBC-TV as an Emmy news reporter. Like his wife Joan, he has had a successful profession. Meanwhile, Vanessa was growing up and the couple was putting in a lot of effort to succeed in their various fields.

Vanessa Marshall

It was difficult for Van Ark to adjust to motherhood while attempting to run her business. She also acknowledges that her husband John did a good job of keeping the family together during those trying times.

Van Ark stated to The Leader-Post in 1988, “He is the reason we have the most wonderful daughter in the world and that the marriage has stayed strong.” “I believe I am the dedicated individual who is unable to sacrifice time for this or that.”

She said, “He did not want to miss me, and he did not want to miss watching Venessa grow up.” “He is aware that correspondents exist only in their luggage. I disagreed with John’s job decisions because, if it had been up to me, I would have packed my bags and been waving at the airport.

Joan Van Ark’s wealth

Joan Van Ark is an actor, but she also enjoys running a lot. The 78-year-old, who has finished multiple marathons, detailed why she chooses to run over seeing a psychotherapist. She did, however, declare that she would never go on a run with her husband.

Joan Van Ark, John Marshall

Why? Because, as far as I’m aware, it’s the fastest route to divorce. Joan remarked, “You’re always criticizing other people’s styles.”

Over the past ten years, Joan Van Ark has remained active in the theatrical industry, appearing in several productions as well as television shows and motion pictures like Psycho Wedding Crasher and Watercolor Postcards.She will, however, always be most recognized for her incredible spell on Knots Landing and Dallas.

Joan Van Ark’s net worth is estimated by Celebrity Net Worth to be approximately $10 million.

Regarding Joan Van Ark, how do you feel about her roles in Knots Landing and Dallas?Please share your thoughts in the comment area.

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