A “Dynasty” reunion?!?!?! Why?!?!

Forsythe rules his ‘Dynasty’
WOODSIDE, Calif. ó A limousine turns into the courtyard of Northern California’s Filoli Mansion. It is just before 8 a.m., and actress Linda Evans steps out of the car. A greeter hurries down the steps with an umbrella to shield her from the light rain and escorts the still-elegant 63-year-old inside the familiar 43-room, 36,000-square-foot brick manor seen in the opening credits of ABC’s Dynasty from 1981 to 1989.
She is soon followed by a stream of limos carrying Carrington cargo.
John Forsythe, who played the popular prime-time soap’s debonair Denver oilman Blake Carrington, is flying in from his ranch near Santa Barbara to visit the mansion, 30 miles south of San Francisco, for a one-hour CBS retrospective, Dynasty Reunion: Catfights and Caviar (May 2, 10 p.m. ET/PT).
And many of his fellow Carringtons are not sure what to expect.
Aside from close friend Evans, who played Forsythe’s devoted secretary-turned-wife, Krystle, no one has seen the cast’s 88-year-old patriarch for more than a decade.
“We haven’t all been together for a really long time,” says Evans, who looks like classic Krystle in a draped black-and-white-striped chinchilla wrap over a periwinkle-blue gown designed by Dynasty wardrobe wizard Nolan Miller.
Wearing a camel-colored sweater jacket, Forsythe has been sneaked into the mansion by his protective daughter, Brooke, and wife of four years, Nicole, and brought to a guarded room posted with a sign: “Quiet Room. Shhhh.” This only ups the anticipation and creates concern about what state the star is in.
“I haven’t seen John since 1992, and I’d heard stories that maybe he wasn’t too well,” says Joan Collins, still sexy at 72. She is seated in the ballroom, dressed in an over-the-top style reminiscent of Blake’s evil ex-wife, Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, in a $12,000 white/silver gown draped in white fox.
“We’re all waiting for him. He really was like a father to me,” says Pamela Sue Martin, 53, who left Dynasty and acting when she felt her “glib” character ó Blake and Alexis’ bratty daughter, Fallon ó had been reduced to “a victim.”
“I asked John to walk me down the aisle when I got married in real life, but he said, ‘I think maybe you should ask your real dad,’ ” Martin says. “I was just so attached to him.”
Says Al Corley, 49, seated in the library where his character, Steven, engaged in so many ugly fights with his father, Blake, “I had heard John sometimes felt good and sometimes didn’t, so you don’t know what to expect.” Corley quit the show after less than two seasons when he objected to producers caving in to network pressure to straighten out his gay character. “Seeing John was really the only reason I wanted to do this.”
Gordon Thomson, 61, the former bad-seed son Adam, whose gray temples now make him look like Forsythe in his Dynasty prime, descends the grand staircase from the upper floor, where he chose to meditate during his lunch break.
“I am a year younger than John was when he began doing Dynasty,” says the smoky-voiced Thomson, who was “dreading” this reunion because of the low pay he had been offered. But he worked out a deal and now says: “It’s been so great to see everyone thriving. It is the last time, probably, most of us are going to see John.”
But Collins already is making plans for the next reunion. She says Forsythe has accepted her invitation to attend a Los Angeles performance of Legends, the play she is producing with her fifth husband, 40-year-old stage manager Percy Gibson. (Cracks Thomson: “What better mate for Joan than a stage manager?”)
The play, which opens in Toronto in September, reunites Collins and Evans (in her first play) as actresses who loathe each other. Though both have different demeanors, Collins and Evans share laughs between takes as they sip sparkling apple juice from champagne flutes. Dressed in snakeskin boots, Collins adjusts her wig in a mirror and asks, “Is my bra showing?” and “Can I ask someone to check if I have lipstick on my teeth?”
“I’ll tell you, Joan,” Evans assures.
Before they begin, Collins issues a stern warning: “Can I ask everyone behind the camera to be absolutely still?” Later, she scolds, “Even if someone puts their hand in their pocket, it distracts me.”
As the women recall their characters’ catfights ó with pillows, mud and sequins ó the Carrington children begin to emerge from hair and makeup. Missing from the reunion are Heather Locklear (Sammy Jo), John James (Jeff) and Diahann Carroll (Dominique), who were invited but declined.
In the ballroom, Martin is greeting her TV siblings. “You guys look exactly the same,” she says. “It’s like we’re all in formaldehyde.”
The last Carrington child to arrive is Catherine Oxenberg, 44, whose two-season run as Amanda was defined by the infamous 1985 Moldavian massacre cliffhanger, when the whole cast flew to another country for her wedding only to be gunned down by revolutionaries.
“We were all afraid it was going to be the end of the show because it was so over the top, but I think it’s the show’s best moment,” she says.
Oxenberg says she owes a lot to Forsythe for offering personal guidance during a difficult time. “I was battling bulimia, and he had tried to do this little intervention on me,” says the actress, who sought therapy after leaving the series when producers balked at raising her $7,500-a-week salary by $2,000. “John was very delicate, but I looked at him like any addict in denial. It broke my heart that I was never in a place to thank him.”
It is early afternoon, and cast members ó still minus Forsythe ó have gathered around a table to reminisce, but they’re finding it hard to fake spontaneous greetings after a get-together the night before at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.
“So we’re supposed to pretend like we didn’t have that cocktail party last night?” Martin asks.
“Or even lunch today?” Evans adds.
But before long, they are all gossiping about their differing salaries and why each left the series.
When Collins, who remained with Dynasty throughout its run, announces that she quit as well, her castmates look at her dumbfounded. “Well, I wasn’t going to come back,” she explains, “so they canceled the show.”
While the cast continues reminiscing, Miller helps Forsythe into his tuxedo as producer Henry Winkler assists Forsythe with his lines. There has been a great effort to shield him from media camera crews. But the concern is unwarranted. Finally revealing himself to the cast, Forsythe appears, as Oxenberg notes, “a little more slouched” but with “the same quick wit and sparkle in his eye.” And the cast’s greeting of Forsythe is authentic, as everyone leaps from their seats to embrace him.
Greeting his grown “children,” Forsythe playfully asks Collins, “Can we make more of them?” The one-liner puts everyone at ease.
“John looks great ó witty, charming and fun as he always was,” says an uncharacteristically emotional Collins. “I have to say I got a bit of a lump in my throat.”
Adds Thomson: “He has good days and bad days, and this was a good day. It’s sad to see the simple process of aging, but he did extraordinarily well.”
Forsythe says he’ll cherish the experience. “Chatting and sharing stories with the old Carrington clan was heartwarming,” he says. “I miss them all so much.” And poking fun at his age, he describes 88 as “great … much better than 87!”
As the sun starts to set over Filoli, Martin alerts Forsythe that his champagne is, in fact, juice, prompting him to wince.
Still, he plays along as the Carringtons raise their glasses, saluting in unison: “Twenty-five years of Dynasty.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Forsythe says, clinking glasses with Evans and Martin. Then, after the cameras stop rolling, he adds, “I’ll drink to anything.” But ever the black sheep Carrington, Collins feels left out. “Hey,” she pouts, “no one clinked with me.”