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Roseanna Christiansen interview

You asked your questions to Roseanna Christiansen who played Teresa the Southfork maid.

Colin - Hi Roseanna , welcome to Ultimate Dallas. Thank you for doing this, we have questions from all over the world.

Roseanna - Thank you

Colin - I believe you are going to the Dallas Reunion at Southfork.

Roseanna - Yes I am going to the Dallas reunion, I am going with my husband. I am excited, I have not seen some of the people in about 15 years. I talk to Charlene and I have communicated with Susan Howard. But its been a while.

Colin - Really! So in what capacity do you talk to Susan and Charlene?

Roseanna - With Susan, when I was on the show I used to, every once in a while, take care of her home for her in California. So we were pretty good buddies, and then she moved back to San Antonio and I stayed in California. Now I'm in Texas but I have lost contact with her.

Colin - Well hopefully she will be at the reunion.

Roseanna - Hopefully she will, I look forward to seeing her. Her husband actually gave me away when I got married.

Colin - Oh Really? (excited)

Roseanna - Yeah (laughs) , and then Charlene we talk maybe twice a year. Her and I were really good friends with Jerry Gugliemotto, who was the head hair stylist on Dallas. We loved him very much and he passed a few years ago.

Barbara_Fan asks asks what do you do now and can you bring us up to date with what you have been up to since the end of Dallas

Roseanna - yeah actually my husband and I are both ordained ministers now. But we really are involved in the entertainment industry as much as we can be here in Texas. Both our children, Joesia and Grace, Joesia is 15 and Grace 14. Grace is a wonderful, brilliant dancer and Joesia a wonderful film maker. As a matter of fact we just produced a film that he wrote , film and directed, and acted in, we just had a Hollywood type premiere at a theater here and we had over 300 people who attended. So we have been working on producing and directing different projects. That kept us pretty busy.

I teach acting classes in Texas, and some of the churches we have ministered in we have dealt with their video department, anything that was on stage or filmed. I have done a few things , but mostly my kids, both are models and actors.

Pams Twin sister in spain asks: How did you land the role of Teresa?

Roseanna - Lorimar Productions were the producers of Dallas, they used to do a lot of movies of the week and I loved them. I was very persistent to get a part in one of their productions and Dallas was one of them. I loved Larry Hagman from when he was in 'I dream of Jeannie' , so I always wanted to be on Dallas because of Larry Hagman.

So I really put my mind on it and pressing my agent to get me on the show. They used to call me in a lot , one particular time was to be an airline hostess on one of JR's flights. I went in for that and thought I did a great job and they did too, they complemented me and everything. I walked out of there very confident that I had got that part, then my agent called me and said I didn't get it, I said "oh that's weird, I thought I did great" and he said "yeah you got the part of the maid Teresa and they want to give you a recurring part on the show" I went "woo" (laughs), that's better than the hostess.

Colin - What year was that?

Roseanna - Oh gosh, I don't know. I was twenty five, I believe it was their fourth season. It was after who shot JR.

Colin - Do you remember your first scene?

Roseanna - I do and I talk about it often because it was with Larry Hagman. Up until that point most of the maids they had on that show they never really talked, they never had lines. I get on the set with Larry Hagman, all the crew are there and we went over the first line and the whole crew went "oh she talks". It was so funny, they were all relaxed and had to mic me up (laughs)

Barbara_Fan also asks What was your final scene on the show and were you sad when it all ended?

Roseanna - I was the one who decided to leave because I wanted to start a family and just felt I wanted to pull back a bit from the entertainment industry. I had eight years on the show, it was very satisfying for me. I really don't know the last scene I did, I really don't remember it, but it had to be something like pouring the coffee or answering the phone (laughs)

Garry asks Would love her thoughts on Barbara Bel Geddes. You had many scenes together

Roseanna - I loved Barbara, sometime I don't think she got the attention that she really deserved, because there were so many young women on the show who got the attention. She was an incredible actress, sometimes she could be a bit rough, but I understood her.

Colin - What do you mean by rough?

Roseanna - She could sometimes be short with you. But I understood her, and I just admired her so much. One time she said something to me that wasn't very nice and then later I wrote her a little note. I wrote that I loved her, admired her and it was a privilege to be on the same set with her and after that she said "How can you be so nice to me when I can be so mean sometimes" (laughs), I said "I just love you, you know" (laughs).
After that we were buddies, she was always very sweet to me and very protective.

Colin - That is so interesting, thank you. Are you able to share what Barbara said to you?

Roseanna - I'd rather not (laughs)

Colin - (laughs)

Carl D asks Did she ever go to TX for the location shoots, or did she just do the California shooting at the studios ?

Roseanna - I always did the California sets. When I did go to Texas just to visit, I happened to be in town on the last day of shoot and thought our set was a whole lot nicer (laughs). It was so much larger, we had a fabulous set in California.

Killerbob asks I would like to ask what it was like working with the show in it's last years, when almost all of the original characters was gone?

Roseanna - It didn't really matter to me because the core people were always there. I always enjoyed it when new people came in, it would add something to the atmosphere and you would get to know more people. I enjoyed it.

Elvis asks Roseanna , as 'Teresa' were you and 'Raul' married or even dated, or just good friends; did you do the Ewing laundry as well as the cooking and cleaning?

Roseanna - Ra who?

Colin - Rahoul , he was like a......

Roseanna - Oh Rahoul (Laughs) We never figured that out. It was funny, thats a big joke. I never even met Rahoul. Did we even show him? Maybe once or twice.

Colin - Teresa went to a movie with him once (laughs)

Roseanna - (laughs) I settled in my mind he was a boyfriend and not a husband.

Sid asks I'm curious as to why your only two credits are "The Jeffersons" and "Dallas."

Roseanna - I was working so consistently on Dallas for eight years, I did over 200 shows. I was working on Dallas. Did some pilots I hoped would go into series but they did not, it was a big possibility to have the Jeffersons but it didn't work out.

Colin - So what was your day like on the set, say in comparison to the main cast.

Roseanna - Well I had a lot less lines and action to participate in. It would start at the same time, 5am, go in have make-up and hair done. I was interested in behind the scenes, I knew I would do some other stuff, so I used to like to hang around a little bit after my shoot. I would talk to the Editors, and Sound Editors and pick their brains about the business.

Oil Baroness asks How much mingling did you do with the cast and folks like Leonard Katzman and Philip Capice?

Roseanna - We would have parties, Larry would have a Super Bowl party once a year, we would do Christmas parties. It was like a family party. I didn't do a whole lot of socializing, but every once in a while we would go out to lunch, I think its still there, Dear John's.

Mutt asks What was Her thoughts on the "DREAM SEASON"?

Roseanna - I thought it was kind of funny. To me it worked, it really didn't bother me. But I thought 'Hey its TV' (laughs)

Pamela asks Some of cast say Victoria Principal was great to work with but at times had on set tantrums, one incident closed down the set. Did you see anything like this? You can say she aint going to be at the Dallas Reunion :-)

Roseanna - (laughs) I know there was sometimes little tensions, she used to get teased a little bit. I used to notice every once in a while sparks flying but nothing major. She was easy to work with and she was very giving, and pretty funny. She used to like to tell jokes and sometimes she would test them out on us , she had a good sense of humor. She didn't always use it, perhaps because she was in character. She was pretty funny

Colin - I believe she did some standup or wanted to

Roseanna - Oh really. She could of done it, she had a really good delivery. Every once in a while they would bomb (laughs) but most of the time she was pretty funny. She would go "Oh that didn't work" and I would say "No but you delivered it well" (laughs)

Larry and Patrick were pretty crazy, so it was like a competition was going on with all the funnies.

Colin - When you said teasing, what did you mean by that?

Roseanna - I'm not sure how to put it into words. It was like siblings, teasing going on.

Texas asks were there cliques on the set?

Roseanna - Yeah well, the only one was Larry and Patrick were pretty close and Linda Gray. So the three of them pretty much, everyone else would filter in and out. But that was the core.

Pamela asks In the Dallas movie Teresa was replaced was Jane due to issues of a minority group being portrayed as a servant. What are your thoughts on this? What was it like living in Texas and working on Dallas at that time, did you ever come across prejudice yourself?

Roseanna - As a matter of fact one time I was taking a night course for writing and we were talking and I happened to mention that I was the maid on Dallas and this one woman went ballistic on me and followed me into the garage. She said you are doing a great disservice by playing a maid and being Latin. She just went off on me and I very politely turned around and said I thought I was doing a service by playing her with as much class and dignity I could find. I got in the car and was a little shaken.

Colin - I guess its a rather contentious issue

Roseanna - I am Latin but didn't see it that way myself. To me personally I was an actress and wanted a job. It was a job I did want and I was having a good time with it. I didn't play her as Spanish, I looked Spanish but I didn't have an accent, I tried to use a very slight Southern accent but not an Hispanic accent, so I didn't really feel I was belittling people. I'm not Mexican, my mom was Puerto Rican and my dad Dominican Republic.

Colin - Actually Steve Kanaly said that he thought it was a shame they never covered the Hispanic aspect of Dallas.

Roseanna - Actually Steve wanted them to write something in for me, like the movie Giant. He had come to me said "I had this great idea and you should talk to Leonard about it", I actually did have lunch with Leonard Katzman about it and see if they would expand my role but they never did.

Colin - What was the idea?

Roseanna - To have one of the main characters fall in love with her and because she was Latin have that issue come up. The whole Sabrina in Giant story.

Colin - Yeah that is the story Steve told me but I didn't realize it was about your character

Roseanna - When you said that I remembered he talked to me about it. I thought it was a great idea. I was a little bit intimidated by all the people and having to promote myself in that way. In retrospect if I were to do anything like that again, I'm not in that place anymore, I'm a whole lot bolder, secure and confident about myself. But in those days I was like "how do I talk to them about this"

Child of the 80’s asks And on the show - you made all that food for them, and they never ate it! Do you think you deserved more credit on the show? Like a thank you from JR's character "oh thanks Theresa for this good ol' breakfast!"

Roseanna - (laughs) Actually I'm glad they didn't eat it. I had some myself, it was pretty good. They had really good caterers that came in. Actually they did eat it, they would eat it. If they were not putting peas up their nose they did eat that food. But I didn't cook it (Laughs)

Barbara_Fan asks What did Miss Ellie's chili REALLY taste like!! sure you must have had a lick of the spoon. i also read that you worked as a secretary to supplement your income, on average how many days / series were you involved in Dallas ??

Roseanna - (laughs) I didn't eat any of that chili, I don't think she made that either (laughs)

When I was doing Dallas at the beginning I did, but afterwards didn't work anymore. I owned my own business with my sister for a while. On average I used to work three or four days out of a week. When I first started I worked as a temporary secretary, but later when it kicked in I really did not do that.

Ray&Donna asks Do you have any special keepsakes or mementos of your time on the show?

Roseanna - I kept some of the scripts and I have a big medallion from the 200th show in a velvet case.

Colin - Not the uniforms? (laughs)

Roseanna - The uniforms got stolen all the time. One year I came on they had to buy me all new uniforms. Its kind of bizarre, its not what I would be taking (laughs)

Don Howard asks How did this compare with working on The Jeffersons?

Roseanna -
It was totally like my show, they let me act full out, it was a very close knit family. On that show I was treated like a star, it was fun. I had a wonderful dressing room. It was a totally awesome experience. They were both fun but I would rather have my own show/situation comedy

Colin - How were you treated differently on Dallas in contrast with the main stars?

Roseanna - Well you know people would kind of ignore you sometimes, not the stars, people around them. Sometimes crew, not all of them. Other people who would come in. Dallas would always have directors come in, one was really nasty to me and treat me like dirt almost. Leonard came on the set and protected me.

Colin - He just picked on you?

Roseanna - He was very rude, he was kind of rude to everybody but he couldn't say a whole lot to Patrick or Larry so he kind of took it out on me. Rude and nasty, pushing me around, being very condescending.

Colin - So would someone like that be invited back again?

Roseanna - (laughs) No he never came back again, he was gone. The sad part about it, I'm not gonna name the person, he was an actor for many years and was someone I really admired. I went up and said that to him at the beginning of the show and he totally dissed me, it was kind of disappointing and I saw how he was acting with everybody and then he took things out on me and I was like "oh my goodness"

JockTX asks Did you have a favorite scene?

Roseanna - Yeah I did that was cut out. I was really upset, I can't recall but somebody died. But my other favorite scene was with Miss Ellie, where she was in a happy mood and I was laying the table and she talking to me about changing the pattern. I liked the way that moved, she would of had that relationship with Miss Ellie and I liked that they were beginning to show that.

Roseanna contacted UltimateDallas.com the day after the interview to further clarify this answer.

Roseanna - Yes it was the episode regarding Bobby's death. I forget who directed me in it but he and everyone else were moved by my performance.  I don't think they really knew I had it in me??  However, since they had almost everyone commenting on his death, I was low man on the totem pole.  Too bad. 

Colin - Ok some cast member names and your thoughts

Priscilla Presley

Roseanna - I really liked her, she was very quiet, polite, generous. I remember sitting on the couch on the set and talking a long time with her about god. We talked about faith, I was sharing some stuff of my life and she was sharing some things in her life.

Colin - Donna Reed

Roseanna - You see I liked Donna Reed a lot. She was another one I think people had problems with. We talked about genealogy and I found that very interesting.

Outside observations of the way she was treated sometimes on the set, even coming onto the set, I think there was a lack of respect. I think so many people didn't think Barbara Bel Geddes could be replaced, as good as Donna was in her acting that was Barbara Bel Geddes role.

Colin - Is that crew members?

Roseanna - Yeah sometimes, I never really saw the main actors treat her poorly at all. We were in hair and make-up all the time so if they were doing it, they were not doing when I was around. People were upset, it would of been a challenge for anybody.

Colin - How about Howard Keel?

Roseanna - Loved Howard Keel. I kept in contact with him and his family until just after my son was born. He was awesome, I liked his wife and daughter.

Colin - So what's next for you?

Roseanna - We really have been contemplating moving back to California. We love Texas but for my kids career. But we are looking to move back in the very near future. My son's second script is a much bigger production, I have a big role so we shall see. I would like to do some good films.

Colin - There are rumors they are bringing Dallas back.

Roseanna - Well why not. It would be interesting, being out here in Dallas I understand the show a whole lot better. Its a whole lot more truthful than I imagined, its very interesting out here (laughs)

Roseanna - Make sure that you thank all the people for the great questions.  I really enjoyed going over some of the memories.   These are some serious fans.  Sure do appreciate them

Special thanks to the wonderful Roseanna Christiansen and the Dallas fans who sent in their questions.

You can discuss this interview on the DALLAS FORUM

 



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