IN CONVERSATION WITH LINDA CRISTAL

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH JANET HYEM

 

 

 

This is the transcript of an article I was given. I dont know when the interview took place but Id imagine it to be late 80s as she mentions the Bonanza film, which was made in 1988. Its a shame that the projects Linda mentions never took place especially the High Chaparral Next Generation film. - Kate

 

 

 

 

JH: How did you get on with the cast of The High Chaparral?

LC: I got along with them very well, with everybody really. Being the only woman in the show it's easier.


JH: What are you doing now?

LC: I am starting my career again, I have been away from it a few years in this country. I did a series in Mexico which became very, very successful in Latin America and here in the Spanish speaking channels. Then I did another one in Argentina, and that took six months also. And then I thought, you know how it is, sometimes if you're on a boat that is going to be sinking you jump, and my son said the other day, 'If you don't try it now when you look great, in another five years mother, forget it! Do it now if you want a career.' So I went to some agencies and got some agents, and there is a lot of excitement about it.


JH: So what are you going to do?


LC: I have a film called 'Be Young Forever', which was tailor-made for me, and that's been negotiated. And I have different possibilities for things for television. But what I'm really waiting for is the right kind of series. You know, I turned down a couple of shows, like soaps, in New York, because I don't want to live there. So I'm waiting, saying 'No, the right thing is going to come along'. And two days later my agent said to me, 'You know, I don't know why David Dortort (producer of both The High Chaparral and Bonanza) didn't do a special on The High Chaparral - The New Generation also,' So they are now planning to do just that, which we might shoot in Argentina, on the pampas, which will be far less expensive. Last week we had a meeting on the possibilities of doing The New Generation, and Dortort is very excited about the prospects.


JH: Marvellous. You know, you still look just as nice.

LC: Oh, thank you. I feel very well. I do weights, I do bicycle and isometrics, everyday for about an hour. So I'm as solid as rock. When you don't smoke or drink it's easier to stay healthy. And then, it's also the way you think. An objective and optimistic view of life is a healthy attitude, which makes for better physical health.


JH: I can't get over how you haven't changed. The last thing I saw you playing in was The High Chaparral and you haven't changed. And I'm also amazed at after seeing you and the other members of the cast, how each one of you still looks the same.

LC: I was told that Henry has turned grey.


JH: He's grey, but he still looks like Manolito.

LC: Mark looked very good when I last saw him.


JH: Yes, I saw him on Wednesday, and he also looked the same, the same as he did when he played Billy Blue. I couldn't believe it. You see people in programmes and you wonder what they look like years on, and you all look the same - it's incredible.
Can you tell me where you were born?


LC: I was born in Argentina, and I lived there until I was five. Then I went to Europe and was there until I was nine or ten before going back to South America where I stayed in Uruguay until I was twelve - that is when my parents died. Then I returned to Argentina for a year, left for Europe where I stayed for a long time, and then I went to Mexico. And Mexico is where my career started.


JH: What did you first appear in?

LC: The film 'When the Fog Lifts', then I did thirteen motion pictures over the next six years, all for Mexican producer/director, Miguelito Aleman (son of the then president, Miguel Aleman).


JH: And what came after this?

LC: I was working in films in Mexico and I was doing well. And one day I saw an advertisement in a Mexican newspaper that United Artists were looking for a Mexican actress who could speak English. I was seventeen or eighteen at the time, and I spoke no English. But I went to see them anyway, and I had such a desire to make it, to survive, to go forward, that I went for it. And I came out of that office with a picture, a script, and a seven year contract.


JH: That was fifteen years ago.    KATE'S NOTE: I think they must have this wrong. If Linda was 17 or 18 that would have been in 1951 or 1952. Fifteen years from that would be '66 or '67. Yet this interview is obviously well after H.C.

LC: That's right. They trusted that I was going to America, and the first picture they gave me was to co-star with Dana Andrews in 'Comanche'. And that started my career around the world. From America I went back to Mexico and afterwards Universal brought me back under another seven year contract. And I did a lot of pictures with them, and they started to send me to European countries, and I did pictures in Italy, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Greece - I made pictures all over the world. And after all that came The High Chaparral. After all of that - after thirty-five motion pictures came The High Chaparral.

 

 

JH: What did you do after that?

LC: After The High Chaparral I was typecast, a series will do that, you know. But then I started to do some guest star appearances and various TV shows. Then I did a picture with Charlie Bronson called 'Mr Majestyk' (1974). And then I continued doing guest star roles, and then I decided this is for the birds, and I got up and bought a new place in Argentina, in Buenos Aires. And that's when my son told me 'It's now or never mother, you look great (laughs). So I thought I would give it one more try and see how far I can go. And that's what I'm doing.


JH: Would you like to go into a series again, or movies?

LC: I'll tell you, very honestly, I love acting. The industry, the Hollywood parties and things like that, I'm not interested in at all. So if it's a soap, a series or a movie, like 'Young Forever', whatever it is so long as it is acting I love it. The craft itself, creating a character, finding out what to do with each character, I love that.


JH: Can you tell me a little about your background?

LC: Well, it was not a happy background at all. Extreme poverty, sickness, emotional stress because they were not well, lonesome childhood.


JH: You were an only child, were you?

LC: Well, I had a much older brother. Two brothers actually, but one died. And both my parents were killed in an automobile accident.


JH: How did this affect you?

LC: Aside from the sorrow of losing people so dear to me, the tragedy made me want to fly, to take off, to lift myself out of that hole. I wanted to make something happen. So the experience really catapulted me out of that situation.


JH: So your tragedy changed your life. It gave you a push and made you more forward.

LC: Yes, and that has always been my way... I'll give you an example. When I got to The High Chaparral they were already shooting the pilot with Joan Caulfield - you remember Joan Caulfield, the blonde actress who made many, many movies? She was older now, she was playing the wife of John Cannon. And they saw me. I did a lot of improvisations for them, before the NBC executives. They were so impressed that they brought me in the second hour of the pilot and, Joan Caulfield, forgive me, got shot by an arrow and dies.


JH: So that's why John Cannon's first wife died.


LC: Yes, in the first hour of the pilot she is there, in the second she has died and John marries me. So you see, this is what tells me I'm going to make it again - because, the first opportunity that comes by is going to be mine.


JH: When I interview stars I find that they have people whom they look up to as well, and that quite surprises me.

LC: I am an absolute crazy admirer of Prince Charles. I collect cut-outs from newspapers. I have always been fascinated by him.


JH: I'm interested to know why you like Prince Charles.


LC: I'll tell you exactly why I like him, there is something of the old world about him. Also, he seems to be like a knight in shining armour. He is a dignified worldly gentleman, and there is something regal about him. Not all royalty are regal, but there is something majestic about him. I've always loved romantic settings. I think if I ever met him I would just faint. And who knows, one day I just might meet him. What I want is a castle and Prince Charles.


JH: Thank you for taking time out for this interview.

LC: Thank you, too.


JH: What will you be doing now?


LC: Now, I'm taking the car to Palm Springs for the weekend with my Doberman and my canary. The feeling of peace that I get there I don't get anywhere else. And now my canary is like an orchestra, he sings and he's beautiful.


 END

 

 

 

 

 

 

USE BROWER BACK ARROW TO RETURN TO STORIES PAGE