Memorable Moment: Kimberly Cryder Gets Something Off Her Chest
When J.R. Ewing has an affair, you can count on three things to happen: the woman he’s fooling around with will believe he’ll actually leave Sue Ellen for her, J.R. will betray her in some way and she’ll retaliate in dramatic fashion before riding off into the sunset. These elements were all present in the tangled tale of Kimberly Cryder, J.R.’s fateful fling during the 1987-1988 season. After Mandy Winger departed Dallas for good when J.R. rejected her to remain with Sue Ellen, J.R. turned his focus on taking control of Ewing Oil’s chief rival in the oil business, Westar Oil. To get to the company, he targeted Kimberly, the bored and beautiful wife of Westar’s president Wilson Cryder. J.R. had discovered that Kimberly’s father was the actual power behind Westar who put Wilson in his position, which J.R. hoped to usurp. Sensing Kimberly’s dissatisfaction, J.R. began to woo her and convinced her he was willing to marry her in exchange for the top job at Westar. Recognizing a kindred spirit in J.R., Kimberly quickly dumped her husband and pressured J.R. to do likewise with Sue Ellen. Although Sue Ellen realized J.R. had once again compromised their marriage for the sake of business, she wasn’t the pushover she once was and sought solace in the arms of the studly Nicholas Pierce (Jack Scalia), her new business consultant at Valentine Lingerie. A desperate J.R. resorted to pulling a “Holly Harwood” by arranging for Sue Ellen to catch him in bed with Kimberly. Rather than give him a fast and easy divorce, Sue Ellen laughed it off and stayed at Southfork. Faced with an ugly custody battle for John Ross if he declared all-out war on Sue Ellen, J.R. opted to take Westar by force and launched a hostile bid that provoked the death of Kimberly’s beloved father.
A devastated Kimberly received an unexpected helping hand from Sue Ellen, who had been quietly buying Westar stock and joined forces with her former rival in a dramatic boardroom confrontation with J.R. that ended in the reinstatement of J.R.’s longtime enemy Jeremy Wendell as chairman of Westar. The humiliating defeat caused the final breach in J.R. and Sue Ellen’s relationship, not that Sue Ellen cared. Kimberly, meanwhile, poured salt in J.R.’s wounds by showing up at his office at Ewing Oil wearing a sable coat, and nothing underneath, to show him what he could have had if he hadn’t lied to her. In a neat bit of casting, Kimberly was played by Leigh Taylor-Young, the doe-eyed beauty who became a star in 1966 as Rachel Welles in the original primetime soap Peyton Place. Taylor-Young looks back fondly on her Dallas experience on her website. She loved her scenes with Larry Hagman and the outrageous ’80s fashions she wore as the irrepressible Kimberly.