Dallas star Linda Gray compares Donald Trump to JR Ewing

Dallas star Linda Gray has compared Donald Trump to JR Ewing, the fictional oil baron and villain from the revered US soap.

The actresses’ claim came as it was revealed the US leader’s recent trip to Britain cost the UK taxpayer £18 million for the police operation surrounding his visit.

Gray dismissed the idea a character like JR would not be a hit with viewers today and said Trump, who was a well-known businessman before entering the White House, reminds her of her on-screen husband.

She said: “We have a president like that. There are personalities like that around the world, it’s not just here.

“It’s that kind of big personality; the ego, the money, the deals and the philandering.

“I am talking about personalities, bigger-than-life personalities. Like JR, it’s all about the deal – how can we do this? How can we manoeuvre this?

“I find a lot of people who have an enormous amount of money, they have a lot of influence, they can influence a lot of people by the way they control things.”

Dallas originally aired between 1978 and 1991, while a reboot in 2012 failed to match the success of the original run, finishing after two years.

It is one of the most successful TV shows in American history and was also a huge smash in the UK. The ‘who shot JR?’ storyline remains one of its best known.

Set in Texas, Dallas centred on a wealthy and feuding family, the Ewings, with Gray, 78, playing the glamorous Sue Ellen opposite Larry Hagman as her scheming husband JR.

Gray put the show’s popularity down to viewers’ fascination with problems of the wealthy.

She said: “It’s the great question everyone asks. It was perfect timing and people wanted to see the rich Americans with all the problems. Everyone wants to think in their minds that if you have all the money in the world and the cars and the businesses then you have no problems.

“But you could point to these rich Americans who had heaps and heaps of problems so it was lovely for them to see because their own lives looked quite lovely by comparison.

“And it was also great entertainment that took them out of their daily lives.”

Gray, 78, has enjoyed a successful showbiz career spanning six decades, starring alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone.

She also appeared in Hollyoaks in 2016.

Gray described Hagman, who died aged 81 in 2012 following a battle with cancer, as her “best friend for 37 years” as well as her “brother”.

When the pair were appearing on Dallas together, Gray said Hagman was paid more than her – something she would not allow today.

She said: “If it happened now to me, I would be right in there saying, ‘Mr Hagman and I get equal pay’.

“It happened on our show (unequal pay) but it wasn’t about gender at all.

It was probably me because I was so excited to have a job that I loved. So grateful that I thought I’ve never had this money, this is lovely money.

“Now, if this show were to start tomorrow, it would be entirely different.

I would say, ‘excuse me, Mr Hagman, I am getting the same as you’. That’s what would happen today”.

Gray’s discussion about money came as Sara Thornton, who chairs the National Police Chiefs’ Council, defended the £18 million bill for Trump’s visit to the UK saying it was a “significant operation.”

In July, the President visited four force areas while protests took place across the country.

She said: “Nearly every force supported the operation with nearly 10,000

officers deployed from all over the country, performing over 26,000 shifts.

“The full cost of the operation is still being worked out but an early estimate is nearly £18 million.”

Ms Thornton said all forces reported “high demand” at the time of the visit in July, which coincided with increased demand and calls linked to the World Cup, hot weather and numerous events and festivals.

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