Flashback Friday: Holly Harwood takes J.R. from the boardroom to the bedroom
One of Dallas’s biggest attractions is its long tradition of casting some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women. Whether villainous vixens or saintly sirens, the Dallas women always beguile, bewitch and bewilder their male counterparts — and viewers — without fail. J.R. Ewing is usually a focal point for the storylines of the female characters and his encounter with oilwoman Holly Harwood was a memorable one with dark twists and turns. Holly was introduced in the 1982-1983 season in the aftermath of his ouster as head of Ewing Oil by a Ewing family vote. Having just inherited her daddy’s company Harwood Oil, an inexperienced Holly offered the jobless J.R. the gig of running her company, which he gladly accepted under the condition that he act as a silent CEO, running things behind the scenes while Holly remained its pretty public face. Played by former model Lois Chiles, who appeared in a string of iconic 1970s films like “The Way We Were,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Moonraker,” Holly was neither totally good nor bad. She was a woman of many shades of gray and had a mercurial temperament, especially when it came to her dealings with J.R. A spoiled rich girl, Holly was used to getting what she wanted and was the kind of woman who employed model-handsome young men as personal assistants who “served” her as she held business meetings poolside while wearing the flimsiest of swimsuits. Holly playfully flirted with J.R., who for once stayed true to Sue Ellen during one of their brief instances of matrimonial bliss.
When J.R. began using Harwood to further his battle with Bobby for Ewing Oil in a contest dictated by their father Jock’s will, a concerned Holly turned to Bobby for advice, realizing she had made a big mistake involving the elder Ewing brother in her company. Holly took a liking to Bobby, as most women on Dallas did, and her position in the middle of the warring brothers put her in a lot of hot water. After Holly began to resist J.R.’s orders at Bobby’s urging, J.R. decided to rein her in by setting up Harwood’s business dealings into a precarious house of cards and, in one of his most dastardly scenes, forcing her into a sexual encounter. Holly was one who gave as good as she got, however, and when J.R. came around for seconds she shoved a gun in his face and renegotiated a working agreement free of bedroom perks. Ironically, it would be sex that gave Holly an escape clause in her ill-fated involvement with J.R. Helpless to stop J.R.’s exploitation of Harwood Oil to build his war chest against Bobby, Holly decided to strike at J.R.’s personal life and targeted his happy marriage with an unsuspecting Sue Ellen. She slowly insinuated to Sue Ellen that she and J.R. were having an affair, which in a twisted way was a lie, and although Sue Ellen didn’t believe her at first, she eventually showed up at Holly’s home and caught J.R. and Holly in the aftermath of a rendezvous Ms. Harwood had deviously set up. Holly’s scheme sent Sue Ellen reeling back to the bottle and led to the tragic car crash that paralyzed Lucy Ewing’s young fiance Mickey Trotter. The chaos she brought to J.R.’s life succeeded in getting him to accept a buyout but ruined any chance she might have had at a life with Bobby because she had to sleep with J.R. to pull it off. Holly may have been one of the few Dallas vixens to leave the show in one piece but her name became code for the dreaded rule: Once in the sack with J.R. means never with Bobby.