Joan Van Ark first became well-known for her role as Valene Ewing in the Dallas spinoff series, Knots Landing.
The actress, who briefly played the part again in 2012, is now happily married to the man she first fell in love with in high school, and they have a kid together. Despite getting older, Van Ark, who is now 78, is still in good health.
This tells you everything you need to know about Joan Van Ark’s life and her assertion that she is solely to blame for Knots Landing’s demise.
Dorothy Jean Van Ark and Carroll Van Ark had four children together when Joan was born on June 16, 1943 in New York City, New York. When she was 7 years old, her family relocated to Boulder, Colorado, and the new environment was very beneficial to her later in life.
Van Ark always knew she wanted to be an actor, despite the fact that her parents never worked in the film industry (her mother was a writer and her father was in public relations).
When the quarterback of her high school football team declined to invite her to prom, Joan said she made the decision she would go in show business.
“That developed more in Boulder. I auditioned for a play at the Community Playhouse. The quarterback on the football team didn’t ask me to the prom, so I said, ‘Screw boys,’ and went and auditioned for a play,” Joan Van Ark recalled.
“I didn’t get the part I auditioned for but got the flower girl and the bug bit. I did a monologue as my audition, and you could hear a pin drop. They complimented me so much I said, ‘Who needs guys?’
During an interview for a neighbourhood newspaper while performing in Denver, Van Ark met the actress Julie Harris, who convinced her to enrol in the Yale theatre School’s acting and theatre programme.
Van Ark was the second woman to enrol at the prestigious school and the youngest student to ever get a scholarship as a result. Julie Harris was the first female and assisted Van Ark in entering the school.
“She wrote to the dean and asked him to meet me. Long story short, my parents drove me to New Haven, Connecticut, to meet the dean, who gave me a scholarship,” she recalled.” It was meant to be.”
At the Minneapolis Guthrie Theatre, where she played the title role in Molière’s The Miser, Van Ark made her acting debut.After performing at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, for nearly a year, she relocated to work with the national touring company Barefoot in the Park in 1963, which resulted in her Broadway debut. She starred in The School for Wives and received a Tony Award nomination for
Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1971.
By that time, Joan Van Ark had switched from working on stage to working in front of a screen. She made guest appearances on several television shows, including as Temperature’s Rising, Spider-Woman,
Days of Our Lives, and even in a Bonanza episode.
Even though Joan Van Ark had enough of work, as the 1980s got closer, she was still searching for her important breakthrough role. She made multiple cameos on Dallas as Valene Ewing in 1978, which helped her land the part of a lifetime.
In 1979, Joan Van Ark returned to play Valene Ewing in the Dallas spinoff Knots Landing. She played alongside Michele Lee as Karen and Ted Schakleford as Gary in 327 episodes and rose to fame.
Although it was a Dallas spinoff about the corrupt but affluent Ewing Clan, it was originally introduced to CBS years before.
Dallas was chosen as the “big rich family” show the network sought, nevertheless. But as the studio realised how huge of a show Dallas had become, Knots Landing shot to fame and, after just one season, entered the top 20 of TV ratings.