Hollywood stars

Hollywood stars linked to Chesterfield say they fell in love after linking Zoom calls during the pandemic

Patrick, who played Bobby Ewing on the hit Oil Barons soap opera, and Happy Days actress Linda Purl bonded over Zoom calls before meeting in person.

Ahead of their visit to the Pomegranate Theater in Chesterfield in the thriller Catch Me If You Can, Hollywood stars opened their hearts about how they fell in love.

The actors had already met in person two years prior to chatting online and had stayed in touch via group text with mutual friends before the pandemic hit.

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Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl in Catch Me If You Can which is on tour at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theater from May 3-7, 2022 (photo: Jack Merriman).

Linda said: “Patrick and I started zooming in. We chatted one night for a few hours and it was like ‘Let’s do it again’. We found out we had a lot in common and a lot of friends. Before long we were literally zooming every night for two or three hours. He’s so smart and kind and intuitive, he writes poetry and he read me a poem that made me think ‘My God, there there is a lot in this good soul and this beautiful human being”. One evening, he ended our conversation with ‘I love you!’ so the next night, maybe I got a little more pissed off than usual.

“One conversation led to another in a very Victorian way and after about three months when the lockdown was lifted he jumped in his car and drove from Oregon to Colorado. It was terrifying and we were shaking both like leaves but we took the plunge and it went wonderfully well.

Patrick, who was widowed in 2017, said he and Linda have an attraction, attraction and compatibility that leaves him in doubt that they would have reunited without the help of Zoom. However, he said: “It was a great opportunity to get to know each other. There’s never been a moment in the four-plus months that we’ve been communicating where I’ve ever had to think, ‘My God, this is our third dinner. Should I kiss her and say goodnight. But we got to know each other on such a deep level that when we met in person, we had covered all that territory and were ready for this relationship. I think we would have been ready anytime, but this route is perfect.

The couple had fallen in love and were living together when they went to Canada to shoot a TV movie last year.

Patrick Duffy and Gray O’Brien in Catch Me If You Can (photo: Jack Merriman).

Linda said: ‘Canada was under quarantine at the time but you were allowed in and out for work, although after we arrived we weren’t allowed out of our room for two weeks. We had just gotten together as a couple and thought, ‘It could be a disaster if they locked us up together’, but we survived. Then we made the film together and we said to ourselves: “What if we had different rhythms? but it was so much fun working together. What was unusual, however, was walking towards the set holding another actor’s hand.

Now the couple are working on stage together for the first time, playing the newly married husband and wife in the thriller Catch Me If You Can which is filming in England.

Patrick describes the play as an Agatha Christie thriller where the mystery is not solved until almost the curtain falls. The production presents Patrick with a mentally and vocally exhausting challenge as he never leaves the stage.

He said, “I will live as a monk for 22 weeks. I’m going to go to the theater, spend every ounce of juice I have, then recover until it’s time to go back to the theater. I won’t be able to do as many tours as I would like but the beauty is that we are in a new town every week and drive ourselves so we can see a lot of the countryside.

Asked about the one thing he couldn’t live without on the road, Patrick replied, “LInda. Also, I have been a Buddhist for 50 years now and I practice every day so I carry a small shrine with me. Wherever I am, I set up my little Buddhist shrine and say my morning and evening prayers. It’s something I do no matter where I am, whether I’m in England, in the United States, wherever. And I’m a minimalist when I travel. Give me a few pairs of jeans and a few shirts; if I don’t have to go to official dinners or do interviews, I could live with a small suitcase.

Catch Me If You Can, which also stars former Coronation Street actor Gray O’Brien, runs at the Pomegranate Theater from 3-7 May 2022. Tickets from £25 (Wednesday and Thursday matinees) and £29 (evening performances). Go to www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk