I always assumed that “Victoria Principal” was a screen name, nothing more. Which shows you how little I know: “Principal” is for real her surname, but her original given name was, um, Vicki.
In 1970, Principal moved to Hollywood. She had no money, no car, no agent, and no prior television or movie-making experiences beside the commercials she had made in her teenage years. She reportedly supported herself by teaching backgammon. Nine months later she had a car, an agent, a little money but auditioned and won her first film role as Marie Elena, a Mexican mistress, in Paul Newman’s The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), for which she earned a Golden Globe Nomination as Most Promising Newcomer.
In 1973, Playboy beckoned; Principal would do a pictorial and would take the female lead in The Naked Ape, an R-rated flesh-fest that Desmond Morris had nothing to do with.
But she’s probably best known for her nine years as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the prime-time soap Dallas.
Principal opted out of the 2012 Dallas revival. She had Good Deeds to Do, one of which was funding the American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue Team, which worked here in central Oklahoma to reunite lost pets with their families after the 2013 tornado on the city’s southern edge, through Moore.