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Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win

It's been quite a year for new couple Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl, and it's just the beginning.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win

Every day life offers us chances - a chance at adventure, a chance at a lesson, a chance at love. Like blooms on the side of a road we walk, chances appear before us as we make our journey. If we are lucky enough, smart enough, and brave enough, sometimes we spot a chance that is perfect for us, and we take it, hoping for the best. For two longtime and loved members of the entertainment industry, taking a chance proved to be the right move, and it is paying off in a big, beautiful way.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win In a fascinating case of life imitating art, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy have found themselves in an exciting (if somewhat unexpected) new life situation. A renowned singer, Purl put a lot of energy into the subject of love while working on her 2020 album TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE, while television icon Duffy has been enjoying a healthy tenure in the Christmas movie market. Maybe it was all the time spent pouring over love songs with musical director Tedd Firth, and maybe it was all the goodwill picked up on the sets of the holiday pictures, but when these two casual acquaintances from years gone by reconnected a year ago this month, it led to a leap of faith that has landed them, squarely, in a big puddle of love.

And don't think they're not enjoying every minute of it.

In my first telephone interview since going into quarantine last March, I was elated to visit with Linda and Patrick and to hear the story of two people willing to take a chance on love.

This interview has been edited for space and content.

Hello, Linda and Patrick! Are we all met?

Linda: We're both here.

How are you folks doing?

Linda: We're doing great!

Patrick, how are you?

Patrick: I am well, thank you very much. Well, more than well.

I bet you never thought you'd be chatting with a cabaret journalist, but here we are!

Patrick: It was in the wind.

Linda is an important part of our community. So welcome to the family.

Patrick: Well, thank you so much. Yeah, she's wonderful in that community. I was fortunate to actually catch a live performance of hers at the Catalina in Los Angeles.

Linda: A year ago.

So blunt question for the happy couple, how does a romance blossom in the middle of a quarantine-informed pandemic?

Linda: (Laughs)

Patrick: Well, you can't see anybody else, so you got to pick up whatever you can.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Linda (Laughing) Accidentally. I was living in New York, Patrick was living in Oregon, our paths crossed in the way that they do in November, and a chummy... well, it's Richard Thomas's fault because a couple of decades ago I was in London. Richard was doing (the play) ART in the West end with Patrick. So I went to see Richard in the show and said hello to Patrick. And 20 years later we were at one of those LA functions and we bumped into each other. I was just in LA for a couple of days, I said, "I'm going to see Richard next week" and Patrick said, "Here's my email, for heaven sake, since life has put us back in touch." So I did. Then we had five months of rare, chummy emails. "How are you doing, fine." "Pretty crazy about the pandemic." "Happy Christmas," that kind of thing. Patrick came to see a show at the Catalina in February, still very chummy - "Oh, how nice, look who's there." But then, somehow, in May, I guess, we started...

Patrick: No, April.

Linda: April?

Patrick: I got back to the ranch in March. I was flying to the ranch after my film in Canada was canceled and I had to change planes in Denver to get to Oregon. And on a text, I said, "Oh, I'm going to change planes in Denver" - on my birthday, by the way - and she said, "Well if you layover in Denver, I'll make you a birthday cake." And I said, cheekily, "Well, if I layover there, you can put a chocolate on my pillow."

(Patrick and Linda both laughing.)

Linda: It was still very chummy and then, sometime in May, Facetime turned to a Zoom, and once we were Zooming, we Zoomed every night for a couple of hours, just talking. And somewhere in there, at some point, it turned a corner... Maybe when you put on a hula skirt.

(Patrick laughs)

Is that a real thing? Did that really happen? We're going to need pictures.

Linda (Laughing): No!

Patrick: I let slip, which she reminded me, and when I did it I thought, "Oooooooh, I don't know if that was right." But we would sign off "Well, it's been great!" and we'd listened to music together and everything, cause that's all you can do on a zoom for hours. And one night when we were signing off because there was an hour difference and she'd say, "I'm getting tired, I'm going to curl up and go to bed." I said, "Okay, well, tomorrow night, same time." She said yeah and I said, "Okay, bye-bye, I love you." And as soon as I hung up, I went, "What did I just say? Oh my God." And it didn't fall on deaf ears, apparently, because she heard it.

Linda: I go, "What? What was that?"

Patrick: And that's what started it. We literally fell in love 1300 miles apart. And at one point we decided, well we can keep doing this, but we got to figure out whether it's real or whether it's not.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Linda: And at first we were saying, "Gee, when this pandemic is over in 6 or 10 months, let's have dinner, okay, that's a date." Then suddenly that wasn't going to do. So Patrick heroically drove 20 hours from Oregon to here and we thought - we didn't really discuss this but I think we sort of both thought if it's a disaster it's all right because we have this lovely friendship.

Patrick: I can drive back to Oregon in a couple of days as a friend, and it'll be fine... and I never left.

Having this happen at such a crazy time when there's so much death in the world, do you think that that sort of lit a fire under you to go for it now rather than wait the six months and have dinner?

Patrick: I didn't feel that - I think it had a life of its own that would have happened no matter what the circumstances were. It was just that the months separated allowed us to discover each other without a dinner or a noisy bar or after dinner you kiss and say good night. All we were able to do is discover each other for two and a half months. We would discuss the pandemic but those conversations were short... And (we had) conversations about art and music and

Linda: Politics (Laughs)

Patrick: Politics! And friends in common, discovering who we knew... "Oh my God, you know him.. oh my God, you did that!" It just became "Well, we've got to find out what's going on." And the first time I ever kissed her is when I drove up her driveway and got out of the car.

It's sort of like a modern-day version of falling in love as pen pals.

Linda: Absolutely. Totally.

Patrick. Exactly. We were visual audio pen-pals.

Patrick, you packed up your car and drove... How long is the drive from Oregon to Colorado?

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Patrick: It's about 1300 miles. It took 23 hours. I slept in a Walmart parking lot for three hours. And then when I was five minutes away from the house - this is my actor's ego - I pulled over to the side of the road, took off my khaki shorts that I drove in cause they were comfortable, on the side of the road, I'm dropping my pants, changing. I put a bottle of water in my hands, tried to make my hair look good. I gargled, sprayed on some cologne, and then got back in for the last five minutes. So I could arrive in the driveway appropriately attired. And that was the beginning.

So how much did you pack?

Patrick: The car was not packed in full, a small suitcase with enough for - like Linda said, if it was a disaster - I had enough clothes for a week or so. And since it wasn't a disaster and she had a washer and dryer, I was good for another month. And then we decided I had to go home: this was the other turning point. I had to go home, back to the ranch, there's too many things I had to do. We were discussing, "Well, I'll go back, and then we can find a time to make the drive again and all that.

Linda: This was now July.

Patrick: We were sitting outside beside a little fire pit in our backyard and I said, "I gotta ask you something." And I don't know that she was thinking maybe like, "Do you mind if I never see you again?"

Linda: Oh, I was terrified! Patrick said, "I have something I wanted to raise with you," and I thought, "Oh, that's it, it's over, this is not going anywhere." (Patrick laughs) "Oh well, it was nice." And then...

Patrick: I said, "I have to go back. Why don't you come with me?" And there was no reason why not, so a second suitcase got dumped in the car... and the dog at that time?

Linda: Nope.

Patrick: Nope, no dog that time. Then we drove back to the ranch and spent a month there together and then came back here.

Linda: He's done a lot of miles...

Patrick: (Laughs) Oh, easily.

Linda: About 10,000 miles, cause you've done Oregon, LA, LA, Colorado.

Patrick: Over and over and over again.

Linda: All of our kids are in LA, so we got there a lot.

Patrick: And Sunday we're driving back to LA.

You just mentioned the kids. How do the kids and the grandkids feel about all of this?

Patrick: They love it.

Linda: They're thrilled. I think they're happy. Of course, because of COVID we haven't been able to get everybody together - we've seen everybody separately but... anyway, all in time.

Patrick: What they have said, though, is that they (and my sister as well, who I'm incredibly close to, obviously) the fact that they see me happier than I had been in years... that sealed the deal. It was just, "Well, obviously she's the right person" and they just accepted her completely.

Linda and I are connected on social media Patrick, so I see all the pictures. It looks like you guys have been having some great adventures like you're a real outdoorsy duo.

Linda: It's Colorado's fault because there's so much here. There's mountains - we do a fair amount of hiking, we were up in the Hills (in) skiing country. We did some fat tire biking up there, that was fun. We bike ride in LA.

Patrick: Which she made me do, by the way. I haven't been on a bike since I was about nine years old in Montana, and she rides bikes all the time. So she made me buy a 21-speed bicycle and a helmet, thank God, and she made me start riding for exercise. She makes me climb mountains!

Linda: I make him climb mountains but he's a Montana man, so it's good, I think.

Patrick: Yeah!

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win

Linda: It's been great. Part of it is that, in the pandemic, we've all had to find other things, other goals, other ways to keep ourselves occupied and engaged, which is a double-edged sword; I mean, there are great losses in that to be sure, but we're incredibly lucky to live in places that afford those opportunities. You just have to avail yourself of them.

Patrick: Linda's great. One of the countless great things that she means to me is that my tendency would be to hibernate during this pandemic to... not become a couch potato but more or less to become sedentary. And the benefit is that she's just the opposite: she becomes more and more active! And if I want to hang close, I've got to keep up. (Linda laughs) It's been a real benefit for me - my health has improved. My everything has improved because of the fact that we want to be together and do these things that she was describing because they're the only things left to do right now.

Linda: Patrick's ranch has a few huge dead trees on it.

Patrick: Which Linda has taken to painting. Spray paint, glitter and glue, off we go.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Linda: Very kind of him to indulge me on this.

Linda: And you know we've got nothing but time to dream with. Is that what I mean? We've got plenty of time to dream, I guess. One of them is we were thinking of the world of cabaret and we thought, "Well, how about we do a show where we enlist Deborah Grace Winer's brilliant help with this, where she creates a show where Patrick tells all the fabulous stories, and the ins and outs of who wrote what, when and why, and then give me a nudge. And with Tedd Firth's arrangements, then I would warble all the tunes. So, we are slowly building that show and God only knows where we'll do it. But we have the phrase between us... and part of it's the ages that we are but part of it also is (that) with the quarantine, you sort of realize what's precious and what's not. So our phrase has become, "If not now, when." So we're developing the show and if we get to do it great, and if not, it's a really fun exercise.

I think that show is something that we should all focus on making happen.

(Linda and Patrick both laughing)

You just mentioned your age. Given your mutual life experience, is there less pressure going into a romance when you meet somebody with whom you have a real connection?

Patrick: I think so.

Linda: That's a great question.

Patrick: So well-phrased, Stephen, because it's an interesting thing that you sort of shed over years and years - the falsity of how important little things are. Because what's important when you're young and it's your first real relationship, and you've got to figure out how to cohabit and everything... But once you've done that, and you're our age, you realize there's a lot of stuff you don't have to worry about because the other person doesn't really care... you know, in the sense that it doesn't change the way they feel about you. And that makes it much easier to communicate, to accept silences from each other, to do your own thing at times and not think, "Oh, she hasn't talked to me in an hour, I wonder if I said something wrong." All of those things are superfluous; they don't count, and you get down to just being a couple. And that's what we were instantly from the driveway on. We're a couple and there's just no denying it or trying to hide it.

So this story is going to drop for Valentine's day. What do you guys have planned?

Linda: We'll be in LA on Valentine's.

Patrick: Linda got a gig on a new HBO Max series, recurring if the show continues.

Linda: It's the very wonderful Jean Smart's new comedy and I'm thrilled to be on board as her sister.

Patrick: We have had the same bottle of champagne and a jar of caviar that has traveled with us now to all three of our residences! So we're taking that LA and that WILL be used on Valentine's Day!

Linda: (Laughing) We're gonna have that bottle of wine, finally!

Patrick: We'll find that's the other beautiful thing... What was it we did the black-tie...

Linda: New Year's Eve!

Patrick: It was New Year's Eve, we had a two-person black-tie, formal dinner here.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Linda: We did all the work in the kitchen, set the table, and then got all dressed up, sat down, and had our black-tie dinner. Then we went to bed long before midnight because it's too late for us! Like everyone else, we're just making it up as we go along.

Patrick: It WILL be a romantic Valentine's Day. It won't be a small heart-shaped box of chocolates and I love you, good night.

You traveled across the country with a tuxedo in your car?

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win Patrick: One of the trips. That would be a bit presumptuous. (Laughter from both) When we made the trip from LA to here, we had already planned, "Let's do this, this'll be fun!" You know, in Oregon if you wear a tuxedo people think you're dead. So, LA was where the tux was - we brought it back to Colorado and she looked gorgeous in an evening gown. It was really special.

Linda: It was a fun night.

Patrick: It was special.

Did you take a photo in your fancy outfits?

Patrick: (Laughing) We have the tuxedo pictures because we felt so full of ourselves. (Both laughing.)

Linda: Oh! There's this one, it's really weird, there's a photograph... We were at Crater Lake in Oregon... it's just a headshot... and then a friend of Patrick's pointed out to us: I have a heart in the middle of my forehead. It's just a shadow of my bangs or something.

Patrick: It's an absolute perfect heart and my friend saw that picture and she's an artist, so she sketched it in and when she sent it to me - she said, "I don't know if you noticed there is a perfect heart dead center in the middle of her forehead, right. Where, you know, right. Between the eyebrows a little higher. And we went back and looked at the picture and sure enough, it's right there.

Interview: Linda Purl And Patrick Duffy Take a Chance On Love And Win

How perfect, I can't wait to see it. I'm so glad that you guys said yes to doing this interview and Patrick, I'm so grateful that you've made Linda so happy.

Linda: (Audible sigh).

Patrick: Oh, thank you for saying that. And it's my intention, so I'm glad it's working.

Visit the Patrick Duffy website HERE and the Linda Purl website HERE.

Photos provided by Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy.

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From This Author - Stephen Mosher