If you were a fan of Dallas, then you’re likely also a big fan of Victoria Principal, who played Pamela Barnes Ewing.
Now 83, Victoria has mainly stayed away from the public eye (at least in terms of acting). However, she was recently in the news back in April 2023 when her Malibu property was invaded by trespassers.
Though we’ll discuss the details of this event later, let’s first go over who Victoria Principal is and how she got started in showbiz.
Victoria Principal was born on January 3, 1950, in Fukuoka, Japan. Her father, Victor Rocco Principal, was a United States Air Force sergeant, who was stationed in Fukuoka at the time of her birth.
Her stay in Japan didn’t last long, however. Her family moved from Japan when she was three months old and later resided in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, London, and Puerto Rico, attending 17 schools throughout her childhood, including South Dade Senior High School where she graduated in 1968.
While her family was stationed in London, she did attend the Royal Ballet School. Fellow alumni include dancers Francesca Hayward and Sir Anthony Dowell, CBE. She has two younger sisters.
Victoria was just five years old when she got into acting. Her earliest works consisted of television commercials. Despite this early work, she enrolled in Miami-Dade Community College to pursue a career in medicine.
However, during her first year at college, she was severely injured in a drunk driving accident. It was this accident and her being forced to take time off to recover that altered her career path. As a result, she moved to New York City to pursue acting, then London, and finally in 1971, Los Angeles to make her dreams come true.
A year after relocating to Los Angeles, she landed her first film role, starring as Maria Elena in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. The film was a big get considering it also starred veteran actor, Paul Newman. Her portrayal of Maria Elena earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
After The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, she appeared in two episodes of Love, American Style, and one episode of Love Story and Banacek. She went on to star in several other films, including Earthquake, Last Hours Before Morning, and Vigilante Force.
Victoria continued to work in both TV and film throughout the mid-1970s but landed her biggest – and most famous role – in 1978 when she starred as Pamela Barnes Ewing in Dallas.
Though Victoria had been steadily acting when she landed the role on Dallas, she had actually been pursuing a career as an agent and was about to enroll in law school. However, when she got the script for Dallas, it was too good to pass up.
Dallas followed the affluent, but feuding Ewing family. The Texan family owned the fictional Ewing Oil company and a cattle ranch. Victoria played Pamela Barnes Ewing. Her character married Bobby Ewing, who was the son of Jock and Miss Elie Ewing.
Throughout the series, Victoria’s Pamela was plagued by child loss and divorce drama before ultimately getting severely burned in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in her taking time away from Bobby. In the show’s 12th season, it is revealed that Pam, now played by Margaret Michales, has a terminal illness. It’s this admission on the show that makes the character’s final appearance.
Victoria appears in a total of 251 episodes between 1978 and 1987 with “Digger’s Daughter” marking her first appearance on the series. When asked about her appearance on Dallas, Victoria said, “I could not imagine not being Pam.”
Why did Victoria Principal leave Dallas?
Victoria decided to leave the hit show to start her own business. Namely, she launched her own production company (Victoria Principal Production) as well as a cosmetics line and books about health and beauty. Reflecting on her time as Pam, she is quoted saying “I learned a lot from playing Pam. She was someone with such innate goodness and who was courageous in fighting for what she believed in. It was really a privilege to play her.”
Life After Dallas
Victoria continued working after Dallas. In 1987, she starred in the TV movie, Mistress and Naked Lie and Blind Witness in 1989. As she entered the 1990s, her roles included Linda in the TV movie Don’t Touch My Daughter, Seduction: Three Tales from the ‘Inner Sanctum’, and Beyond Obsession.
In 1994, she appeared in an episode of the hit series, Home Improvement, as herself in the Larry Sanders Show in 1995, and as Leila Parker in Michael Kael contre la World News Company in 1998. Though she worked steadily, none of these roles were big hits.
One of her more notable appearances as herself was on two episodes of Family Guy between 1999 and 2000. Her last acting credit was in 2001 on the TV series Titan, where she appeared in 14 episodes as Gwen Williams.
Skincare Line and Entrepreneurship
Principal Secret, Victoria’s premium skincare line, was and remains enormously successful. Her passions behind creating the line are obvious in its many products as customers continue to be satisfied years later, even after she has since sold the brand to focus on other entities.
Victoria sold Principal Secret to Guthy Renker in April 2019 for an undisclosed amount. However, since the company was a small empire it can be assumed the purchase price was reflective of its massive earnings.
Upon her retirement from acting, Victoria wanted to dedicate herself to her longtime skincare company, Principal Secret. Their tagline is “Healthy Skin is Beautiful Skin…at every age.”
What is She Doing Now?
Since retiring from acting, Victoria has busied herself not just with her skincare company but many of her other philanthropic pursuits. In 2013, she provided funding for an awareness ad for Wildlife. org. In the same year, she funded the Red Star Rescue Team through the American Humane Association to help with the aftermath of the EF5 tornado that struck the city of Moore, Oklahoma.
In 2016, she worked with the American Humane Association again to help rescue dogs that were displaced after the floods. In 2018, she donated rescue boats to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence. She attributes much of her financial contributions to Dallas and Principal Secret, which as of 2013 had already generated more than $1.5 billion.
In addition to the three books she authored, she has a YouTube channel titled “Victoria Principal.” However, her last post was back in 2019. She is also on Instagram at the handle @victoriaprincipalofficial. She is active on her Instagram. Her content includes everything from her current reads, pets, charitable initiatives, and career throwbacks. She also routinely posts about the animals she helps to rehabilitate.
In April 2023, Victoria was in the news after trespassers entered her Malibu property.
According to the police report, the couple who trespassed were allegedly told the home was for sale and that they were allowed to tour it. Allegedly, the couple was corresponding with someone on Craigslist and even had instructions on how to enter the home.
The couple received a vandalism citation. Victoria was not home at the time of the trespassing.
Her Personal Life
Victoria is currently single. She was previously married to her Dallas co-star, Christopher Skinner, but divorced in 1981 after just two years of marriage.
She later married Dr. Harry Glassman, a prominent plastic surgeon in 1985. Though they divorced in 2006, they both stated that they “…had a loving relationship for over 20 years.” She does not have any children.