|First seen||"Reunion, Part 1" September 23, 1978|
|Last seen||"Ewings Unite!" March 18, 2013|
|Appeared in||327 episodes|
|Also known as||Verna Ellers
'The Little Engine that Could'
Published author of 'Capricorn Crude', 'Nashville Junction' and 'Hostage'
|Family||Jeremiah Clements - father
Lilimae Clements - mother
Al Baker - step-father
Joshua Rush - half-brother
Gary Ewing - husband
Ben Gibson - ex-husband
Danny Waleska - ex-husband
June Wiley - maternal aunt
Virginia Bullock - maternal aunt
Freeman Bullock - uncle by marriage
Lucy Ewing - daughter
Betsy Ewing - daughter
Bobby Ewing II - son
Molly Whittaker - stepdaughter
Jock Ewing - father-in-law
Ellie Ewing - mother-in-law
Cathy Geary - sister-in-law
J.R. Ewing - brother-in-law
Bobby Ewing - brother-in-law
Ray Krebbs - half brother-in-law
|Portrayed by||Joan Van Ark|
Knots Landing follows the growth of the character of Valene. Valene begins the series with a child-like outlook due to her stunted upbringing as well as her own repressed maternal instincts. Repairing the relationship with both her mother and her daughter and gaining an education from the local college, Valene is able to blossom into an accomplished author. The character of Valene adopts a notably cooler exterior as the series progresses, as the tribulations of her life result in a more cynical approach to her life.
Early Life EditBorn to Jeremiah and Lilimae Clements in 1945, Valene suffered a tumultuous upbringing. In particular, her childhood was marred by her mother's singing aspirations, which caused a major rift early on in their relationship. After the death of her father, Valene would be bounced between relatives, namely her Aunt June (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”). Although never explicitly stated during the timeline of the show, it can be presumed that Valene’s other aunt, Virginia Bullock, also took part in raising her due to their close relationship (“Mrs. Peacock In The Library With The Lead Pipe”). At some point as Lilimae pursued her career away from home, she met and fell in love with a preacher; Jonathan J. Rush. Lilimae began to settle into a new family, as she joined Jonathan’s congregation and gave birth to a son, Joshua Rush. For a year Lilimae raised Joshua, and lived under the guise of Jonathan’s wife. Eventually a travelling act came through town, and Lilimae abandoned her second family. Valene would not learn of her half-brother’s existence for several decades (“Hanging Fire”).
As Valene moved into her teenage years, she would leave high school at an early age. Taking a job at a local diner, Valene would live out an unremarkable existence until she met Gary Ewing; the middle brother of the infamous Ewing family. Gary noticed a clearly overworked Valene at the diner, and offered to help (“Out of the Past”). This would be the start of a brief courtship, which would result in Valene’s first marriage to Gary at the young age of 15 in 1961 (“Pilot"). Shortly after, Valene would give birth to their first child; Lucy. Eventually Gary would bring both child and mother to his home, Southfork ranch near Dallas, Texas. Their marriage was met with open hostility from the Ewing family, namely Gary’s older brother, John Ross "J.R." Ewing, Jr, who resented Valene’s lowly lineage (“Reunion, Part I”).
Pressure within the household would result in the beginning of Gary’s alcohol abuse, and his eventual disappearance from Southfork. Realising her time at Southfork was short with her tie to the Ewing family gone, Valene left the ranch with Lucy and sought refuge with Lilimae, who was living in Virginia at the time (“Digger’s Daughter”). Valene was turned away by her mother as she consulted with her current manager, concerned that being a grandmother would affect her working image. J.R.’s men then caught up with Valene, and stole Lucy back to Southfork to be raised as a Ewing (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”). Valene was warned to never set foot in Texas again, and Lucy was raised by her paternal grandparents; Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Ewing and John Ross "Jock" Ewing, Sr. Not much is known about the time period in Valene’s life between Lucy being stolen and returning to Dallas. She would, however, briefly date a rancher, ‘Rusty’, in 1970 (“Cricket”). Valene would eventually build the courage to seek out her daughter in 1978, and returned to Dallas in spite of J.R.’s warnings ("Reunion, Part I").
Valene resolved to make contact with her estranged daughter Lucy in 1978. Waiting outside of her high school, Valene approached Lucy and made herself known. Valene would take a job at a local diner, the Hot Biscuit, and the two would begin to reconnect. Fearful of J.R.'s reaction, their meetings were held under secretive conditions. Simultaneous to these events, Gary ran into his younger brother Bobby Ewing and his new wife Pamela Barnes Ewing in Las Vegas. Having gotten his alcoholism under control, Gary agreed to return to Southfork after some persuasion from his brother. After reuniting with her father, Lucy sees an opportunity to bring her parents back together. Gary and Valene reunite after almost 17 years, and Valene too agrees to return to Southfork ("Reunion, Part I").
J.R. is not thrilled at the return of his brother Gary, fearful for his leadership position at Ewing Oil, feeling that Bobby is enough to contend with. Valene's return merely spurs him on to remove them both from the ranch once again. J.R. resurrects a failed subsidiary of Ewing Oil and places Gary in charge, hoping to inspire his alcoholic tendencies when the company inevitably fails. Valene is immediately concerned after J.R. announces Gary's new position, and suggests the pair move to California. Gary dismisses Valene's concerns, firmly believing J.R. has changed. J.R.'s plan works however, and Gary cracks under pressure. Although coming close to drinking due to the stressful workload, Gary restrains himself and realises he cannot make a future for himself at Southfork. He leaves the ranch once more, although he and Valene part on good terms. With history repeating itself, a furious Valene confronts J.R. over his treatment of both her and Gary as he drives her from the ranch a second time. J.R. engineers the situation to appear as though Valene has accepted a cash settlement in return for leaving the ranch, souring Valene and Lucy's newly reignited relationship ("Reunion, Part II"). Valene would later write Lucy detailing what had actually transpired, which would cause Lucy to briefly run away from home in an effort to be with her mother. Lucy never found her mother ("Runaway").
Valene does not return for a year, and Lucy settles into resenting her mother, believing J.R.'s story. When Valene does eventually return the two have an emotional exchange, and an upset Lucy questions her continuous abandonment. Valene takes up residence in a local motel and takes a job at a local cafe, determined to reconnect with her daughter. She contacts Bobby, and sets up a meeting in which he agrees to bring Valene to Lucy's cheer-leading practice. Lucy still refuses to see her mother, and J.R. is alerted to Valene's return to Dallas. Back at Southfork, Lucy finally agrees to meet with her mother, as J.R. arrives at Valene's motel. J.R. intimidates Valene once again, and intimates violent measures if she does not agree to leave. A defiant Valene stands her ground, tired of being unable to see her daughter. Unbeknownst to them, Lucy has viewed the entire exchange from the doorway and realises her mother's innocence. Valene and Lucy embrace as they profess to rebuild their relationship ("Secrets").
Valene and Gary soon have a full reconciliation, and move in together in an apartment in Dallas. Their reunion is kept secret however, even from Lucy, due to their turbulent history with the Ewing family. As Valene and Lucy continue their meetings, a forlorn Miss Ellie considers her lack of a relationship with her son, Gary, as his birthday approaches. She accompanies Lucy to meet Valene, in which she implores her to convince Gary to speak to her. An initially skeptical Gary agrees to meeting his mother, and then proposes a second marriage to Valene. As Miss Ellie realises that a newlywed Gary would not settle in well at Southfork or in Dallas she offers to buy the couple a house in California, as reparation for the Ewing family's behaviour over the years. The couple modestly accept, and are married soon after, with much of Gary's immediate family present. Gary and Valene fly to California with Bobby to view various houses, and eventually settle on 16966 Seaview Circle ("Return Engagements").
Season 1 Edit
Married for a second time, Valene and Gary move into the house on Seaview Circle. Fully acknowledging their tempestuous past, the couple decide not to announce their re-marriage to Lucy in case it fails once again. Bobby accompanies the pair on moving day, and they are immediately greeted by their neighbour Karen Fairgate, who invites them to her family dinner later that evening. Whilst Gary accompanies Bobby to the airport, Valene meets Richard Avery, a lawyer who insists on a neighbourhood gathering to welcome the Ewings. After detailing their past to the Fairgates at dinner, they meet the rest of the neighbourhood; Karen's husband, William 'Sid' Fairgate; their three children, Diana, Eric and Michael; Laura Avery, Richard's wife; and Kenny and Ginger Ward, a fellow pair of young newlyweds living across the street. Sid's rebellious teenage daughter Annie Fairgate, from a previous marriage, later arrives at the gathering. Valene takes an immediate interest in Annie due to her similarities with Lucy. Reminded of her strained relationship with her daughter, Valene begins to regret her move to Knots Landing.
Valene receives a call from Annie the next day, who has been picked up by the police for solicitation. Reluctant to return home immediately, Annie and Valene visit a local beach to talk. Having never seen the ocean before, Valene is in awe of its size and majesty. After relaying her struggles with her own daughter to Annie, Valene takes her back to Seaview Circle. Karen is grateful to Valene for resolving the situation, and their friendship begins. Realising they can make a home here, Gary and Valene resolve to stay in California ("Pilot").
Settling into her new home, Valene takes to running on the nearby beach. She is greeted one morning by the sight of an oil tanker off the coast of Knots Landing. A community council meeting regarding the environment is quickly set up with a representative, Chip Todson, from Petrolux, the company threatening to drill off-shore. Petrolux is revealed to be affiliated with none other than J.R. Ewing, as he arrives in Knots Landing to see the project through. J.R. demands Gary stop his opposition to the drilling project, threatening to reveal their marriage to Lucy otherwise. Valene and Gary collaborate with Karen and Sid to formulate a plan to stop J.R, and are successful in obtaining documents detailing a viable alternative drilling site. Deterred by Gary and Val's new found resilience, J.R. leaves Knots Landing ("Community Spirit").
Valene's family drama continues, as Lucy discovers her parents have secretively remarried. Valene flies to Dallas to comfort her daughter, who is furious with her parents. After explaining their reasoning behind their remarriage, Lucy agrees to return to Knots Landing with Valene. Valene and Lucy enjoy their new home life, however their relationship with Gary becomes strained. Lucy confronts Gary about his absence during her childhood before heading over to a neighbour's, Kenny Ward, party. Upon her return, Lucy announces that their life together will not work, and implores Valene to return to Dallas with her. Before leaving for Dallas, Gary confronts the pair on the nearby beach, admitting his characteristic faults and also illuminating the stability of his new life in Knots Landing. Lucy agrees to stay the week, and the family reconcile ("Home is for Healing").
Valene is horrified when a gang of bikers begin to terrorize the cul-de-sac. She further bonds with Karen, as she advises her to come forward to the police in spite of the gang's warnings. After Karen's daughter, Diana, is kidnapped by the gang, the residents of Seaview Circle confront them on the beach, and resolve the situation themselves ("Land of the Free"). Some time after these events, Valene begins studying in the hopes of completing her High School Equivalency test. Initially afraid of failure, and intimidated by her neighbours' college education, she keeps her studies secret. Realising she needs help with the work-load, she announces her studies to both Karen and Laura, who in turn assist her. Valene passes the test easily ("The Constant Companion").
Richard Avery eventually finds Gary, and the two get drunk together. Gary brings Richard home and, in an attempt to force open the Avery's liquor cabinet, strikes Valene. Sustaining injuries from the broken glass, an ambulance is called for Gary. In order to get Gary committed for acute alcoholism, Valene is urged by Laura to explain his wounds as a suicide attempt. Now under the care of Dr. Charlotte Kramer, a fellow alcoholic and psychiatrist, who brings the seriousness of Gary's condition to light when he admits preferring alcohol to his wife. Gary, reluctant to enter therapy for his condition, escapes from the ward and returns home. Despite professing his desire to change, Valene decides it is not enough in light of recent events, and beseeches Gary to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with her. Gary once again flees to a bar, and a bewildered Valene attends the meeting herself, hoping to gain some insight into alcoholism. As the meeting finishes, a sober Gary arrives, to Valene's relief, and finally admits his condition ("Bottom of the Bottle (Part 2)").
Season 2 Edit
A short time before the beginning of the second season, news that J.R. Ewing has been shot reaches Knots Landing. Being the first major life event that has occurred since Gary's frenzied alcoholic episode, Valene is concerned over how he will handle the news. Gary reassures her however and leaves for Dallas, not before Valene makes her feelings on J.R. clear, stating that she would not mourn his hypothetical death ("No More Mister Nice Guy, Part I").
Gary returns from Dallas, and Sid's younger sister, Abby Cunningham, arrives for a visit. Newly divorced, she brings with her her two children; Olivia and Brian Cunningham. Valene takes an immediate shine to Olivia, who has been behaving petulantly since arriving ("Hitchhike (Part 1)"). She also begins a friendly relationship with Abby, who opts to move in to the cul-de-sac ("Hitchhike (Part 2)").
Valene, now with a high school education, begins classes at a local college, expanding her knowledge of literature ("Chance of a Lifetime"). Some time after, Kristen Shepard arrives in Knots Landing. The sister of Sue Ellen Ewing, J.R.'s wife, Kristen is picked up by police for drug possession at a local party. Kristen, with no place to go, calls Valene who takes her in. Unbeknownst to Gary and Valene, Kristen is in Knots Landing after having been revealed as the culprit behind J.R.'s shooting ("Who Done It"). Initially appearing the perfect house guest, Kristen soon makes advances towards Kenny, currently estranged from Ginger. After being discovered by Ginger, Kristen is confronted by Valene over her behaviour. She reveals her pregnancy and subsequent fears for the future, and hoped Kenny would provide a fatherly role for the baby. A sympathetic Valene consoles Kirsten, who promptly leaves town soon afterward ("Kristen").
Valene assists Karen and Ginger in the running of the local school play, and further bonds with Olivia ("Step One"). Later, she runs into Ginger at the doctor's office. Valene reveals that she and Gary are trying to start a family, and have been for some time. Valene and Gary throw a barbecue later that night, however Gary is called away when Judy Trent calls, revealing her husband's alcoholism has flared up again. Earl hits Judy and drives off, leaving Gary to take her home. Gary's care for the injured Judy quickly turns to affection, and the two have sex. Meanwhile Valene calls the Trent's household relentlessly, concerned for her husband. Gary does not reveal his affair with Judy, and even agrees to see her again ("Breach of Faith").
Gary and Valene's marriage faces new strain, as Gary keeps both his affair and a dubious deal, involving stolen automobile parts, at Knots Landing Motors secret ("Scapegoats"). Abby, who now also works for her brother's garage, fears the repercussions of Gary's actions on the family business. With only two days to raise $50,000 she summons J.R to town, now fully recovered from his gunshot wound. Valene is not pleased at J.R.'s return, and is concerned for his plans for Gary. Abby throws a dinner party, inviting both the Fairgates and the Ewings. J.R. makes his disapproval of Lucy's fiance, Mitch Cooper, clear, and also states his plans for molding him into a traditional Ewing. Valene is troubled by J.R.'s meddling in her daughter's life once again, and storms out. Later, Valene makes Gary promise that he will not make any more deals with his brother. Gary, fearing the wrath of the mafioso men he is dealing with along with Abby's encouragement, does however strike a deal with J.R. ("A Family Matter").
Despite J.R.'s reservations, Lucy does marry Mitch. Gary and Valene return to Dallas to celebrate their daughter's wedding day ("End of the Road, Part II"). After they return to Knots Landing, a sleuthing Abby discovers Gary's affair with Judy. Abby tracks down the couple to a restaurant, and brings Valene, hoping to make their discovery of the affair seem accidental. Gary lies to Valene, stating that he was merely providing support for Judy in the wake of one of Earl's alcoholic episodes. The next day, however, Judy contacts Valene directly and makes her intention to stay with Gary clear. A bewildered Valene confronts Gary with the revelation. After recalling their personal history, Gary and Valene decide to stay together. Judy Trent leaves, not before challenging Abby on her intentions in exposing the affair, believing she wants Gary for herself. A sly Abby watches Judy leave before returning to work with Gary ("Choices").
Valene's life begins to return to normal, as she prepares a report for her college class. A guilty Gary returns to his AA meetings, reassuring Valene of his intentions. Later, Valene confesses the details of her husband's affair to a shocked Karen. Karen then reveals a parallel problem in her marriage, with a young mechanics infatuation with Sid. The two friends grow closer ("Players").
Valene receives a phone call from her doctor, Irwin Harper, indicating a problem with her latest test results. It is revealed that Valene received surgery some time ago to remove a growth; the growth that has now found to be malignant. She is scheduled for surgery immediately, but maintains an optimistic demeanor. Once admitted to the ward, Dr. Harper reveals that the surgery could result in a colostomy. Valene still remains cheery, however Gary is disturbed by the news. He has an emotional and violent episode as he destroys his bedroom and then calls Miss Ellie in tears. Meanwhile at the hospital, the women of the cul-de-sac rally around Valene as she prepares for surgery. Karen remains behind momentarily, and states her love for an emotional Valene. Bobby arrives at the hospital after Gary's phone-call to Dallas, and Valene finally admits her fears of mortality. Gary stays overnight at the hospital, and Valene is taken in for surgery. Bobby confronts Gary over his reckless emotional state, and warns him to be prepared for the worst outcome. Bobby denounces Gary's lack of courage and leaves, as Dr. Harper reveals the surgery was a success with no colostomy required ("The Loudest Word").
Valene recovers from her operation and attends Ginger's baby shower, along with the other female residents in the neighbourhood. The party is interrupted by 3 armed robbers, Rose, Donny and Cal, who seize the ladies' valuables. Karen's daughter Diana manages to evade the robbery, and alerts the police. With police arriving, the burglary quickly turns into a hostage situation as the assailants panic. The robbers focus on a heavily pregnant Ginger, and use her to bait police into bringing them an escape vehicle. Hours pass, and the police do not comply with their demands, prompting the women to resolve the situation themselves. Whilst Abby distracts Cal to the kitchen, Karen and Valene wrestle Rose long enough to give the police an opening. The sun rises as the women return to their families, relieved ("Moments of Truth").
Valene resumes her college classes, and is shocked to find Earl Trent is standing in for her sick professor. Earl reads out Valene's short story assignment, 'The Runaway', in front of the class, and subsequently humiliates her by sternly critiquing it. Earl subsequently approaches Valene in the colleges' library, and apologises. On the contrary, Earl praises her natural talent as a writer, and encourages her to pursue the profession. He then reveals his sobriety and that Judy and he have officially separated. The next day, Karen joins Valene for lunch in the colleges' canteen. Earl joins them, and recommends a list of authors' works for Valene to study. Earl calls Valene that night, announcing his need to drink, and she and Gary find him in a bar. Once there, Earl confronts Gary over his abandonment of his sponsor role in their relationship, and the Ewings leave. Shortly after, Valene confesses to Earl Gary's true motives behind his desertion. Earl then invites Valene to his apartment that night for further tutoring. After their session, Earl's behaviour becomes strange as Valene attempts to leave, angered by his wife's affair with Gary. Earl then states his intention to 'get even' with their affair with Valene, even hinting at force. Meanwhile, a worried Gary attempts calling the apartment, while Earl attempts to force himself on Valene. He stops almost immediately and breaks down in tears, and the two console each other over Gary's betrayals. Gary arrives, and apologises for his actions. Valene and Gary leave, and she later implores him to forgive himself for his affair ("More Than Friends").
Valene continues to nurture Olivia and Brian, as their mother becomes increasingly absent due to her nefarious business dealings. Whilst Abby has yet another rendezvous with J.R., her ex-husband, Jeff Cunningham, arrives to take his children on a scheduled camping trip. Karen and Valene note his erratic behaviour and excessive luggage. After inspecting Abby's house, which has been ransacked, they surmise that Jeff has kidnapped Olivia and Brian, and notify the police ("Designs"). Gary and Abby's dealings with the stolen parts vendor are exposed after a suspicious Karen and Richard scrutinize Abby's bookkeeping. The relevant parties gather at the Fairgates', and a quick-thinking Abby feigns ignorance. Gary agrees to turn himself in to the FBI, hoping that he can cut a deal in order for information on Roy and Frank, the organised crime members responsible for the stolen parts deal. Valene, once again disappointed in her husband's secrecy and actions, confronts Gary. Valene laments the distance in their marriage. Gary and Sid are successful in aiding the FBI in detaining Roy and Frank. Sid becomes the key witness in a potential trial in several months. A rogue mechanic tampers with the brakes on a car in Sid's garage in retaliation, which Sid then drives home. The season ends as Sid's faulty car plunges over the side of a cliff ("Squeezeplay").