Dallas Star Patrick Duffy Opens Up About His Parents' 1986 Murders

In 1986, Patrick Duffy was flying high, enjoying fame and the success of his hit soap opera Dallas when suddenly, unthinkable tragedy struck.

In November of that year, his mother and father were shot and killed at a bar they owned in Montana. The gunmen, Sean A. Wentz and Kenneth A. Miller, both 19 at the time, were found guilty of the murders and sentenced to jail. (Miller was released on parole in 2007.)

At the time Duffy, had already been practicing Buddhism for 15 years (he’s now been practicing for nearly 50 years) and credits his faith for helping him cope. “There was something about the eternity of life that had set deep inside me,” he says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “As horrific as that was, I didn’t feel disconnected from them.”

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The actor, who is starring in Lifetime’s original holiday movie People Presents: Once Upon a Main Street (premiering Nov. 29), adds that since then, “Many people have come up to me and said, ‘When I lost my mom or dad, I remember how you said you never really felt like you lost them,' " says Duffy. “I thought, as long as I can make something out of it, I’ll be okay.”

After first being introduced to Buddhism by his late wife, ballet dancer Carlyn Rosser — who died of cancer in 2017 — Duffy has been practicing ever since.

“That has been essential to my life for the last 48 years,” he says. “I apply those lessons, hopefully from the time I wake up. Even if I’m by myself, I try. I certainly don’t succeed all the time, but I try to take inventory at the end of the day and say, ‘Was the total output of my life more positive than negative?' "

Once Upon a Main Street premieres Nov. 29 on Lifetime.

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