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Star trio from ‘Knots Landing’ keep one another in stitches

“Knots Landing” co-stars Michele Lee, from left, Donna Mills and Joan Van Ark pose for a portrait Thursday. (Mark Von Holden / Associated Press)
“Knots Landing” co-stars Michele Lee, from left, Donna Mills and Joan Van Ark pose for a portrait Thursday. (Mark Von Holden / Associated Press)
By Mike Cidoni Lennox Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Nearly 40 years after first forging their friendship while working together on the nighttime soap “Knot’s Landing,” actresses Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee and Donna Mills are now more than just friends – they’re a sister act.

At one point in their interview Thursday night with the Associated Press, the three broke into song: Irving Berlin’s campy “Sisters” from the holiday-film classic “White Christmas.”

“The truth is that we are, in fact, sisters,” said Van Ark, who portrayed the sweet but frequently frantic Valene on “Knots,” which aired on CBS from 1979-93.

“And when we’re together,” Van Ark said, “It’s goofy and fun. When we have our three-way conversations, … we are truly joined soul-to-soul, heart-to-heart.”

Lee, who played “Knots’ ” rock-steady matriarch Karen, stopped Van Ark’s loving ramble, turned to Mills and asked her, dryly, “Would you like to say anything?”

Mills, who played the conniving Abby on “Knots,” shot back a humorously curt, “No.”

And then they laughed.

The three got together Thursday at the Hollywood Bowl for a dinner hosted by the Jose Iturbi Foundation, which promotes classical music to mainstream audiences, and awards grants to musicians. The dinner preceded a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of conductor Gustavo Dudamel serving as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“We always meet for dinner,” Van Ark said. “And if we’ve got a special event like this one tonight, then we have all the more reason to do so.”

December will mark the 40th anniversary of the debut of “Knots Landing.”

Mills said the actress-centric series was ahead of its time in terms of female empowerment in Hollywood. “We were so strong, our characters were so strong, that it was like, ‘Don’t mess with them.’ ”

Might there be plans for an onscreen reunion to mark “Knots’ ” 40th?

Van Ark joked about the characters: “They’ll all have facelifts, I hope.”

And if an anniversary special fails to materialize, Van Ark said there’s Plan B for Lee, Mills and her. “A show that we were going to call, ‘We’re ‘Knot’ Done Yet.’ And we’re not. We’re not.”

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