Veteran actress-singer Purl set for Feinstein’s show


Linda Purl has had her share of recognizable TV roles through the years.

She portrayed Fonzie’s girlfriend on “Happy Days,” Ben Matlock’s daughter on the first season of “Matlock” and Pam Beesly’s mother on “The Office.

“I feel lucky to be a journeyman actress and have been active through different decades of my life,” said Purl, who also sings and will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel

Purl, 68, said “The Office” attracted a new generation of viewers.

“I gained temporary coolness with my son,” she said. “It’s fun to go around the country and perform because you meet people who have enjoyed those shows.”

Purl said the show is based on her 2023 album, “This Could Be The Start.”

“It’s very joyful to be in the intimate setting (that) cabaret is,” Purl said. “It’s a special, jeweled treasure-box art form. To be in a smaller room and do these beautiful songs with a group of strangers and virtually embrace at the end of the evening and go back to your lives (is special).”

Purl will be accompanied in the concert by her music director, Tedd Firth.

“He’s a phenomenal jazz pianist,” she said. “We’ve been working together for years. It’s all (material) from the Great American Songbook, which is one of the many reasons why we absolutely worship Michael Feinstein, because he has really single-handedly created this space for the Great American Songbook to thrive in and to keep it alive. One of the many reasons that appeals to me is that, more than other eras of music, they are short stories. So, as an actress and a singer, that very much appeals to me. There’s always a beginning, middle and end. There’s a journey and a character behind the voice in the song.”

The songs were a way for people to heal after World War II and the Korean War, Purl said.

“There were great fissures in their lives that they needed to massage and work through,” she said. “They articulate the human spirit with such depth and such poetry, and the music’s not bad, too. They touch on timeless themes and there’s also, as I’ve learned through Tedd, there’s such an elasticity in the songs. You can do them straightforwardly. You can put them into a jazz feel, and they work. These songs can time travel for different eras and different tastes.”

One of her favorites is “I’m in the Mood for Love.”

“It’s engaging, it’s inviting,” Purl said. “It’s fun to be able to share that moment thematically with an audience. It’s a well-known tune, but Tedd just has an unusual treatment of it.”

Eight years after appearing as Richie’s date, Gloria, in Season 2 of “Happy Days,” Purl returned in a regular role as a new character in Season 10.

Purl and her boyfriend, Patrick Duffy, have recurring roles on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Duffy is best known as Bobby Ewing on “Dallas.”

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Veteran actress-singer Linda Purl and Duffy’s Dough partner Patrick Duffy. (Photo courtesy of Linda Purl)

Duffy and Purl have a business called Duffy’s Dough.

“It’s been a big adventure for us with a huge learning curve,” Purl said. “Patrick has had a sourdough starter in his family for over 70 years and Patrick is a wonderful baker. At one point, he said I should start a business with this, and I said, ‘Yes, of course.’”

They reached out to business friends, who advised the couple on a simple model.

“They said they just start doing it all in one kit, so when people receive the package, they have the sugar, the flour, the rolling pins, the recipes and the aprons to get started,” she said.

Purl said they were advised to start with 200 packages and see if they sold.

“We had a packing party and launched in September 2022 and hoped they would sell by Christmas, and they all sold by noon of our first day,” Purl said. “It was great but terrifying news because we had to make a bunch more packages. It’s been going strong ever since.”

All net proceeds go to food scarcity charities.

“That’s our end game,” Purl said. “At this point in our lives, we want to be celebrating with gratitude the fortune that we’ve had, and we want to be part of giving back on a regular basis.”

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