Fans of Linda Evans, ever immortalized as the blonde beauty Krystle Carrington in the Dynasty television series, will be surprised to know that she was once afraid to speak in front of an audience. “I couldn’t even do a book report,” she tells Show Daily. Her junior high made her take a drama course, but even after working in television for years, the actress balked at performing live in front of a large group of people. “I told my agent, ‘Don’t ever, ever, ever make me get up in front of people and do a play or anything’—I thought I would die.” Yet when an opportunity came up five years ago to star onstage with former Dynasty nemesis Joan Collins in a touring production of the play Legends, Evans decided to face her worst nightmare.
“It was a life-changing experience,” says Evans. “And when I came home, I thought, ‘Okay, what am I going to do now?’ ” The actress has had a passion for cooking since her early 20s. “If you could chain me to a stove, then I’d be a happy girl in this life,” she jokes. “There’s something about making food for people I love and watching them enjoy it that just thrills me beyond belief.” Realizing that she had many memories she wanted to share, Evans came up with a way to tell some of her stories and combine them with her love of cooking. “I got to put everything I love together,” she says. “All the people, the places, the times, the food—the good, the bad, the highs and lows of my life—and it’s been exciting to weave them all together.”
The actress was coy about revealing some of the stories in her book, Recipes for Life (Vanguard Press), which comes out in October. “I don’t want to give it away. It’s like those movie trailers—how much do I tell you?” But she did share a story about one of her closest friends, Bunky, to whom the book is dedicated. Evans’s former husband John Derek wanted her to meet Bunky, who was best friends with his previous wife Ursula Andress. They went to Bunky’s house for dinner. “I wasn’t thrilled because I thought, ‘Wow, what were the odds we were going to get along?’ We’re sitting around, and what does she bring out for dinner? A meatloaf—because she knew John liked beef—sculpted in the form of a giant phallus! That was my introduction to Bunky! And then her kids say, ‘Oh, Mom, not meatloaf again,’ as if it was the most normal thing in the world. That is why I love her!”
The actress makes a point of saying that she has not written a cookbook, but has interspersed some of her favorite memories with much loved recipes. “Some of them are for people that have limited funds; some are for average cooks. And other recipes that I’ve gotten from chefs are for people who really know what they are doing. This book isn’t about eating right or being healthy, it’s about loving and enjoying food, and wanting to make great food to give to people.”
As a television star, Evans rubbed elbows with many celebrities, and there are stories in her books mentioning the likes of John Forsythe, Sammy Davis Jr., David Janssen, Liza Minnelli, Rock Hudson, and Tony Curtis.
The actress worked on the book with her stepdaughter, Sean Catherine Derek. Evans wrote a story in longhand, and then Derek put it on the computer. “I’ve never been more stretched by anything in my life—including Dynasty and Legends. There was much more to this project than I had ever even dreamed. I don’t know if I would have done it had I known what it would require, but having said yes, it’s been a great, great ride.”
Asked what she hopes readers will take from her book, Evans ponders for just a moment. “I suppose that people are really like recipes. And I’m not just saying this because it’s how I came up with the title. We’re all individuals—we’re all put together and seasoned uniquely by our life, and as time goes on, the recipe changes. We change. I hope that readers will see in my life pieces of their own struggles, that there’s nothing—just because you’re a celebrity—that makes you any different from anyone else. We have highs and lows, too. We just do it in a more public way. One of the blessings of Dynasty was that for nine years, I could be a part of millions and millions of people’s lives. I just want to share my life and my journey with them to say this is one life, one expression—and I hope you laugh and feel the pain and the joy of just being alive from my perspective.”
You can meet Linda Evans in person today, 3–4 p.m., at the Perseus Books Group booth (4106), where she will be signing blads of her book.