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Charlene Tilton became an overnight success in the late 1970s when her show “Dallas” became a massive hit, running from 1978 until 1991. Tilton was only 17 when she began filming the show, and many people in her position would have lost themselves to the many temptations of fame. 

In a new interview, however, Tilton is crediting her church for helping her to stay on the right path in life.

Tilton Was ‘In A Really Good Church’

“I was planted in a really good church when I was on ‘Dallas,’” Tilton, 64, told Fox News. “I also had great people around me. There were other people in the church that were successful in the entertainment industry, like Donna Summer. They were all wonderful examples.”

“And my ‘Dallas’ castmates, even though everybody had their own faith and different religion, they were all protective of me. I was just blessed,” she continued. “Especially in the ‘80s, there was a lot of trouble that you could get into if you wanted to… I was fortunate I didn’t spiral down.”

Tilton also got advice from Larry Hagman, who played her character Lucy Ewing’s uncle J.R. Ewing, the ruthless Texas oil tycoon. 

“I asked [Hagman] one time early on, ‘How do you deal with all of this [stardom] so seemingly calm?’” Tilton remembered. “He said, ‘Well, on “I Dream of Jeannie,” I just took everything so seriously. That made me have a nervous breakdown.’ I go, ‘Yeah, funny.’ And he goes, ‘No, no really. That’s a part of my life I wasn’t really proud of.’”

“But he learned from himself, and he really became a shining example to all of us on-set,” she added. “He used to always say, ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ And he lived by that. He had an infectious laugh. He just got so much joy out of everybody. He was eccentric and joyful. I loved that he was never too big to talk to anybody, as big of a star as he was.”

Hagman sadly died in 2012 at the age of 81 after a battle with cancer.

Related: Kelsey Grammer Refuses To Apologize For Being A Christian – ‘I’ve Found Great Peace In Jesus’

‘God Had His Hand On Me’

Tilton believes that it was both God and her fellow cast-mates that protected her from the downsides of Hollywood stardom.

“I will tell you honestly, God had his hand on me,” she stated. “He was protecting me. And I was with a great group of people. The cast had a stellar work ethic. Even though I was young, they expected me to be as professional as them. You always show up early, you know your lines, you’re prepared. Larry Hagman started that from day one. No divas, no prima donnas. We’re all in it together.”

“I learned the importance of having a really stellar work ethic with those people,” Tilton added. “And it has served me well because every producer and director I have ever worked for, I worked for them again. I’m blessed. And that is because of those people [from ‘Dallas’] that kept me so grounded.”

Related: Mark Wahlberg Refuses To Deny His Christian Faith Even Though It’s ‘Not Popular’ In Hollywood

Tilton’s Life Today

Tilton is still acting to this day, with her most recent project being the faith-based film Heaven Sent, and you can check out a trailer for that in the video below.

These days, however, Tilton’s favorite role is the role of being a grandma.

“I have a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old grandson,” she said. “I am with them every day. They are the joys and loves of my life. They just keep me so happy. I’m fortunate that I get to be on a set and work. But being a grandmother is the thing that gives me the most joy.”

We’ve lost countless young stars to the temptations of fame over the years, so we’re glad to see that Tilton managed to avoid those pitfalls. Her story just goes to show how powerful and important a strong relationship with God really is! 

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