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Gary Ewing was a character in the CBS television series Knots Landing and Dallas. The character of Gary Ewing was played most notably by Ted Shackelford (1979-1993) and briefly played by David Ackroyd (1978).
Gary was the second son of oil baron Jock Ewing and his wife Miss Ellie of Dallas, Texas. He was often considered the black sheep of the family, as he would become an alcoholic, and was never treated as an equal by his father and eldest brother J.R. However, Gary was loved by his mother and younger brother Bobby.
Gary Ewing was married three times to Valene Ewing, played by Joan Van Ark. They first married when he was 17-years-old and she was 15, and settled at Southfork much to J.R. and Jock's annoyance. To help the newlyweds out, Miss Ellie bought them a home and gave Gary a job as ranch foreman. Their daughter Lucy was born. However, older brother J.R. kept harassing the young couple, and Gary and Valene were soon fighting. He took to drinking again, eventually walking out on his family. J.R. also forced Valene out of Southfork. She fled to Virginia with baby Lucy, hoping to have her mother, later played by Julie Harris, care for her child, but she was refused. J.R. followed her, accusing her of prostitution and warning her never to return to Dallas. J.R. took away Lucy and delivered the baby to the care of her mother-in-law Miss Ellie. Most of this occurred off-screen.
Years later, Gary bumped into his brother Bobby and his wife Pam in Las Vegas. Bobby persuaded him to visit Texas. While he was visiting, Lucy his teenage daughter surprised him by reintroducing him to Valene, who had been working as a waitress in diners around Dallas. For the sake of his ex-wife and daughter, Gary tried to make things work in Texas, but soon came under the old pressures of living up to Jock's expectations and J.R.'s deviousness. J.R. had set Gary up in an office equipment machinery firm in a hope that Gary would fail as usual. To ensure his newfound sobriety, he knew he had leave Southfork and his family once again. Valene tracked Gary down, while turning down money from J.R. to leave Southfork, and they reunited and remarried.As a wedding present, Gary's mother Miss Ellie bought the couple a house in California, the area of which Gary suggested since they could not return to Texas. This served as the basis for the shift to the spin-off and concurrent series of Knots Landing in which the couple relocated to that state. Originally, their daughter Lucy was to join them, but this event did not materalize, and she remained at Southfork with her grandparents.
On Knots Landing, Valene and Gary's marriage was undermined by Abby Cunningham, whom Gary married after his divorce. As Gary's marriage to Abby was short-lived, he eventually remarried Val a third time and they parented their twins Bobby and Betsy Ewing (who were born in the interim period of Gary and Val's marriages). Bobby was named after the "late" Bobby Ewing, whose dream-death on Dallas was never reversed on Knots Landing, which never again referenced its "parent" show. Gary also had a daughter, Molly Whittaker, who was conceived during his relationship with Kate Whittaker which was at a time when he believed Valene had died.
Gary appeared again in the final episode of Dallas in 1991. In the finale, J.R. Ewing experienced a dream sequence that detailed a world in which J.R. had never been born. In this dream, Gary still meets Valene, but Lucy is never born. It is revealed in the dream that Gary inherited Ewing Oil following Jock's retirement but as he was a "lousy oilman," the company went bankrupt two years later, resulting in Jock committing suicide and Miss Ellie dying of a broken heart. Gary rebuilds his life by beginning a career as a Beverly Hills attorney.