In the 1980’s, the theme for Friday night prime-time television on CBS was wealthy, ruthless and drama-filled families fighting for power, money and control — and to be completely honest, we loved every moment of it. Directly following the hit show Dallas came the ratings winner and equally addicting soap opera Falcon Crest, which ran for nine seasons from 1981 to 1990. And the famous — or infamous if you will — Falcon Crest characters and cast lives on in our most nostalgic memories.
This hour-long series was set in the make-believe area of Tuscany Valley, California, much akin to Napa Valley, and centered around the feuding Gioberti family that ran a prominent winery named Falcon Crest, hence the show’s title.
Feeling a hint of 80s nostalgia, we decided to take a trip back to the schemes and family drama of the Giobertis with a look at the amazing Falcon Crest cast.
Jane Wyman as Angela Channing
Depending on who you ask, some fans recognize Jane Wyman as the ex-wife of former President Ronald Regan (she was wife #1, First Lady Nancy was wife #2). Some remember her Academy Award winning performance as a deaf assault victim in the 1948 film, Johnny Belinda.
And then there are those who recall her as the no-nonsense, take no prisoners Falcon Crest character, Angela Channing — a role which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 1984.
Following a difficult childhood, Wyman got her start in acting in 1932. She then had a successful Hollywood career spanning more than 60 years in both television and film and even earned Oscar nominations for her work in The Yearling, The Blue Veil and Magnificent Obsession.
Wyman also headlined the long-running television show Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. She was nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards for that show and won a golden statue in 1956.
In addition to her many acting credits, Wyman was also an accomplished singer and dancer and performed alongside Bing Crosby. On September 10, 2007, Wyman passed away at the age of 90.
Lorenzo Llamas as Lance Cumson
You may not be able to distinguish him at first, but if you look close enough, young Lorenzo Llamas may look vaguely familiar. That’s because he played the blonde jock and brief love interest of Olivia Newton John’s character Sandy in the hit film, Grease.
Llamas also appeared five different times on the ABC series, The Love Boat. Then he scored the lead role on Falcon Crest as Lance Cumson, Wyman’s on-screen grandson. Llamas was the only member of the cast to appear on all 227 episodes of the primetime series.
Two years after Falcon Crest wrapped, Llamas starred on the TV show, Renegade. He also appeared in Air America, The Immortal, the daytime drama Bold & The Beautiful. Lastly, he was in the reality series, Leave It to Lamas and most recently, Lucha Underground.
On the big screen, Llamas was in the Snake Easter movie trilogy, Gladiator Cop and Terminal Justice. In 2014, the actor released his autobiography, Renegade at Heart. It touches upon his famous parents’ (Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl) divorce, his five marriages, being a father of six children, plus the ups and downs of his Hollywood career.
David Selby as Richard Channing
David Selby rose to fame starring as Quentin Collins on the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows. Following the show’s success, Selby went on to appear in more than two-dozen films including Raise the Titanic, Intersection, D3: The mighty Ducks, Surviving Christmas, The Affair, Endgame and The Social Network.
On the small screen Selby landed guest spots on Family, The Waltons, Police Woman, Kojak, plus a recurring role on Flamingo Road, before nabbing the character of Richard Channing on Falcon Crest, a role that earned Selby the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actor.
Most recently Selby appeared in Mad Men, Chicago Fire and NCIS: New Orleans.
Susan Sullivan as Maggie Channing
From there Sullivan went on to become a series regular on three different daytime soap operas from 1970-1976, The Best of Everything, A World Apart and Another World. After a handful of guest roles on primetime shows such SWAT, Barnaby Jones and Kojak, Sullivan was cast in 22-episodes of Rich Man Poor Man Book II, opposite Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte.
In 1978, Sullivan landed the title role in Julie Farr, M.D. and was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role. The TV sitcom, It’s A Living followed and then came Falcon Crest where Sullivan was a series regular for 207 episodes until her character was killed off in a drowning accident.
Sullivan was most recently seen on Castle and Last Man Standing.
Margaret Ladd as Emma Channing
Like some of her Falcon Crest co-stars, Margaret Ladd (no relation to Diane or Cheryl Ladd) started her career in daytime TV and then segued into film with roles innThe Friends of Eddie Coyle and A Wedding. Ladd went back into television where she had guest appearances on Taxi and Quincy, M.E.
Her big break came when she was cast as Emma Channing, a series regular on, Falcon Crest, and a role that earned her The Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Actress in 1986.
In 2019, Ladd was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in film Just in Time. Away from the spotlight, Ladd created a program called “The Imagination Workshop” which is the longest running arts and mental health organization in the country.
Robert Foxworth as Chase Gioberti
Robert Foxworth has a long list of impressive credits under his belt that date back to the 1970’s when the actor appeared in The Mod Squad, Streets of San Francisco, Hawaii Five-0, Barnaby Jones, Quincy, M.E. and the game show, Password Plus.
After starring in 155-episodes of Falcon Crest as Wyman’s on-screen nephew Chase, Foxworth landed guest roles in a plethora of television shows including: Cagney & Lacey, Babylon 5, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
In real-life the actor spent 20-years living with Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery before tying the knot two years prior to her death in 1995. He is currently married to his third wife, Stacey Thomas whom he wed in 1998.
William Moses as Cole Gioberti
William Moses’ big break came when he was cast as Cole Gioberti in the Falcon Crest cast, and was a series regular for six-seasons.
In that same time frame, Moses’ guest starred on the ABC dramas Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and Hotel and then scored it big when he landed a starring role in the movie, Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts, and Annabeth Gish.
From 1989-1995, Moses portrayed Ken Malansky on The Perry Mason Mystery series. He appeared in 11 episodes of Melrose Place on Fox and 21 episodes of the series, Fame L.A.
Most recently Moses was on Mad Men, Homeland, Chicago Med, The Good Doctor, NCIS, and the daytime soap opera, General Hospital.
Read on for more classic 80s TV series!