Flashback Friday: The Twisted Tale of Christopher’s Birth Mother Kristin Shepard
Rebecca Sutter Ewing broached a touchy subject for her husband Christopher by mentioning how his birth parents abandoned him, but as longtime Dallas fans know, fate traded up when it delivered him to the loving arms of Bobby and Pam in 1981. Christopher’s biological mother, Kristin Shepard, was a misguided schemer whose ambitions proved to be the death of her, quite literally. Kristin, originally played by Colleen Camp, was introduced in 1978 as Sue Ellen’s baby sister, who took a shine to Bobby, which J.R. encouraged as a way to get Pam out of the Ewing family. Kristin failed to snag Bobby and set her sights on bigger prey — J.R. himself — when she returned the next year recast with Mary Crosby, the daughter of legendary crooner Bing Crosby. A curvy brunette with long chestnut hair, a distinctive walk and a sexy, lopsided smile, Crosby made the role her own. Raised, like Sue Ellen, to be upwardly mobile by her mother Patricia, Kristin planned to parlay a summer job as J.R.’s secretary at Ewing Oil into a full-time gig as his next wife, scheming with J.R. to get Sue Ellen drinking again to help him get custody of John Ross.
Kristin was a demanding mistress, however, and J.R. decided to pimp her off to his business associates. When he tried to run her out of town on trumped-up prostitution charges, she retaliated by pumping him with lead in the iconic “Who Shot J.R.” cliffhanger of 1980. Naturally she tried to frame Sue Ellen for the deed but her sister figured out Kristin’s scheme in the nick of time. When Kristin revealed she was pregnant with J.R.’s child, J.R. shipped her off to California and paid her hush money to bury the scandal. In California, Kristin found time to make trouble for Lucy Ewing’s parents Gary and Valene in an episode of Knots Landing before reappearing in Dallas the following year. Kristin demanded more money from J.R. to pay for an expensive drug habit she developed after hooking up with a sleaze ball drug dealer named Jeff Farraday. She had also been extorting money from oilman Jordan Lee, telling him he was the father of her child.
When Cliff Barnes discovered Kristin’s dead body floating face down in the Southfork swimming pool, both he and J.R. were briefly questioned in her death but it was determined that Kristin had fallen into the pool in a drug-induced haze. The mystery of the parentage of her baby, Christopher, was a painful affair for Bobby, who had intercepted an attempt by Jeff Farraday to continue her blackmail scheme against J.R., but it turned out Kristin lost the child she had conceived in Dallas and the baby Farraday sold to Bobby was not J.R.’s but his. Farraday was eventually killed by some of his drug-dealing cohorts and Bobby and Pam were free to raise Christopher to be the kindhearted, moral young man he is in 2012.