A tiny woman with a big heart is just a fitting description for Charlene Tilton, the actress who began to grace our television screens as a teenager in the 1970s. More than four decades later, the veteran actress, who always had big dreams of becoming a star, has undeniably seized every opportunity she has been given.
Although the actress is considered very successful professionally, not many people know that she has overcome some personal life difficulties. Despite an impoverished childhood, a mentally handicapped mother, two failed relationships, and a tragic loss, the Dallas star has resumed life and continues to flourish in her career.
Charlene Tilton Biography
California-born Charlene L. Tilton was welcomed into the world on December 1, 1958. Tilton never knew who her father was because he disappeared shortly after her birth. So she was raised by a single mother – Katherine Thacker – who worked as a secretary and struggled to get food on the table.
Charlene Tilton always wanted to become an actress and had big dreams of becoming a star. She discovered her passion for acting when she was a child and slaved her socks off to make her dreams come true. During her studies at Hollywood High School, she was a very active student, performing in plays and in the local community theatre. In addition to being the cheerleader of the school team and president of the Thespians’ Club, Tilton also took singing and dancing lessons.
Charlene Tilton was just a teenager when she got wet feet as an actress. In 1976 and at the age of 17 she made her television debut in an episode of the series Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984. While still at school, Charlene met actor Larry Hagman, who eventually became the father figure she longed for in her life. At the same age of 17, Tilton successfully auditioned for the role of Lucy Ewing in the cult soap opera Dallas, which ran from 1978 to 1991.
She became a world star in the role of “Poison Dwarf” Lucy Ewing, the youthful troublemaker of J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) in the primetime series. Charlene’s character Ewing, known for her deviousness and romantic plot, was a huge sex symbol that bounced from one catastrophic love affair to the next in the series.
Tilton became an instant fan favorite when he starred as the character of “Poison Dwarf” for eight seasons and was finally written out of the long-running hit series in 1990, a year before the series ended. The role was resumed in 1980 in an episode of the spin-off of the series “Knots Landing” and also returned for the restart of the series between 2012 and 2014.
Over the course of her career, Tilton collected further credits in which she played both guest and recurring roles. These include Love Boats (1980 – 1987), Fantasy Island (1980), Hotel (1983), Murder, She Wrote (1987), Married…with Children (1993), the web series DeVanity (2013) and more recently Starting Up Love. Charlene also hosted an episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) in February 1981, and in 2012 Tilton, who has been a fan of skating since childhood, got the chance to skate on TV when she appeared on the TV show Dancing on Ice Skate.
Charlene Tilton made her film debut as Bambi in the 1976 classic Freaky Friday, and her other notable films include Big Wednesday and Sweater Girls, both released in 1978. In 1979 she starred in Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker and The Fall of the House of Usher. Others include Border Shootout (1990), Problem Child 2 (1991), and The Silence of the Hams (1994). The following year, Charlene starred in Favorite Deadly Sins and Star Witness. She is also recognized for her outstanding roles in Security Patrol of 1998, Bar Hopping, and The Theory of Everything of 2000. Others include Superhero Movie (2008) and most recently 2017’s Vengeance: A Love Story.
Tilton also has an opening credit behind the camera. In 2017 she worked as a producer on three films, including the film Road Less Traveled. It’s been more than four decades since Dallas and Charlene Tilton first came to the silver screen and the actress. Though no longer in her prime, the acting veteran has undeniably proven herself in the entertainment industry.
Charlene Tilton Net Worth
The award-winning actress was reportedly awarded about $50,000 for each episode of the 80s hit series Dallas. Although Tilton has not disclosed her earnings after Dallas, she currently has a net worth estimated at approximately $2 million.
Charlene Tilton’s Family
Charlene Tilton has had two failed marriages and a heartbreaking engagement. Her first marriage was to famous country singer Johnny Lee. The ex-couple, who formed the Covenant of Life in February 1982, had a daughter named Cherish Lee, who followed in her parents’ footsteps as an entertainer. Charlene’s daughter is a country singer and is married to her fellow countryman Matt Dunn.
Charlene and Johnny’s union lasted only two years when they officially separated in June 1984. A year later, Tilton found love again in the arms of singer Domenick Allen. But like the first, their union was short-lived and lasted only seven years (1985 to 1992).
In the new millennium, exactly in 2001, Tilton met and fell in love with cameraman Cheddy Hart. Reluctantly, the two lovebirds remarried moved in, and lived together for eight years in Oxnard, California, until Hart’s unexpected death in 2009. Cheddy’s passing was a severe blow to Charlene, as the actress considered the cameraman her only true love. Devastated by his death, Tilton’s grief and despair drove her into alcoholism and depression. In fact, the Dallas star never left her house for about seven months. Although Charlene, who lives in Los Angeles, tried to move on, she is still single today and now devotes herself to other passionate interests.
Other Interesting Facts About The Actress
1. Charlene Tilton has received several awards during her career. After working in Dallas, she won her first prize as best youth actress in a television series or special in 1979. Tilton received the Young Artist Award in 2001, the prize for the life’s work of a former child star, and the TV Land Pop Culture Award in 2006.
2. The Dallas-based star is a dedicated philanthropist and is now involved in charitable causes such as the fight for autism awareness. She volunteers at the School for Autistic Children and Adults, which is involved with the Actor for Autism School.
3. The tiny poison dwarf is also known for its special physical characteristics. The platinum blond, blue-eyed Tilton stands at a height of 1.5 meters and 11 centimeters. Although her other body measurements have not been disclosed, it is obvious that the actress has a seductive physique.
4. Charlene Tilton is active in social media. Although she is not present on other popular platforms, fans can contact the Dallas star through her Facebook and Twitter accounts.