The Dukes of Hazzard was one of the most popular TV shows of the early 1980s. Anyone who had a TV set from 1979 to 1983 would have surely watched even just an episode of this action-packed, and a lot of times, funny program that displayed the antics of the “The Duke Boys,” Bo and Luke, who were actually cousins living in Hazzard County, a fictional place in Georgia. Adding spice and to target the male demographic, as if the flashy cars (including a customized 1969 Dodge Charger stock car named General Lee) and the action sequences of the show were not enough, included in the show was another cousin, the very pretty Daisy Duke.
Actually, the show was highly popular up to the last season it aired in 1983 and did not suffer the “jumping the shark” curse of other programs on TV. The three main characters were quite memorable, and really made a mark on television history. Here’s a trip down memory lane and see what has happened to them ever since the show ended.
Luke Duke was the older of the Dukes, known for being the dark haired one. He was played by Tom Wopat. As he was the older cousin, he displayed a more mature attitude and was always the one who thought of ways to get out of the troubles the duo typically got into. He was known for always wearing a blue shirt (a checkered blue shirt on the first season and a plain blue one during the second season) plus a denim jacket. There was really no episode that explicitly said that he was the older cousin, although it was implied in an episode entitled “Happy Birthday, General Lee,” as Luke was already in the Marines while Bo was still studying in high school.
After the show folded in 1983, Tom Wopat had a steady stream of work, especially in the music scene. He released many albums in various genres including pop and country. He also starred in various TV projects including A Peaceable Kingdom in 1989 with another TV star, The Bionic Woman’s Lindsay Wagner, as well as Cybill Shepard’s eponymous sitcom in the mid-1990s. He also starred for a couple of years in the soap All my Children.
His musical career went as far as the theatre, as he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1999 for the category of best actor in the musical Annie Get Your Gun. He starred in the daytime drama from 2001 through 2002. He still has starred in Broadway musicals in the recent years, such as A Catered Affair in 2008, where he received his 2nd Tony nomination. Just last year, he was seen on the big screen as US Marshal Gil Tatum, in the Oscar winning film Django Unchained.
Now, we go to the wilder, more free-spirited Bo Duke, played by John Schneider. He was known for being the Duke with the blond hair, the type who acted recklessly and thought of the consequences later (or let Luke think of them), and also got quickly distracted at the sight of an attractive lady. The one who always wore a yellowish shirt, he eventually showed a bit of maturity in the latter episodes.
As for the actor, John Schneider continues to be a very busy Hollywood fixture. Through the years, he has been seen in a variety of TV shows like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Desperate Housewives, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. In the 1980s, he also ventured in music as a country singer. He released a total of nine albums, with a good number of singles charting.
In 2010, he appeared in the TV shows Hot in Cleveland and Leverage. He was also seen in movies such as October Baby and Hardflip. Known in Tinseltown as an animal rights activist, he has been seen in charity fund-raising events that celebrate the humane treatment of animals.
Of course, who can forget Catherine Bach who played Daisy Duke? Her character was so popular that she had her attire, shirt and cut-off jeans, named after her. Her poster which showed her wearing what else, but “Daisy Dukes” is one of the most popular posters in history, selling more than 5 million copies. Those legs were so popular that she even had them insured for a million dollars when the show was still being taped.
Catherine Bach, since the show stopped airing has been appearing in various television shows, the most popular of which is her inclusion in the soap The Young and the Restless in 2012.
The Dukes of Hazzard was very popular up until 1983 when Tom Wopat and John Schneider had issues with their salary. They were hastily replaced by Byron Cherry as Coy Duke and Christopher Mayer as Vance Duke. The original Dukes came back before the fifth season ended, and although the ratings recovered slightly, the show did not reclaim its former glory. But then, even as the show ended, we saw how its three stars continued with their careers and being successful at that. Of course, the three were present to reprise their roles on the two made for TV movies, “The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!” in 1997 and “Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood” three years later.