Greg Sumner

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Greg Sumner
Knots Landing character
Portrayed byWilliam Devane
Duration1983–93, 1997
First appearanceOctober 20, 1983
(Episode: Marital Privileges)
Last appearanceMay 9, 1997
(Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac)
Created byDavid Jacobs
CEO of Sumner Group Logo.png Search Greg Sumner on Amazon.

Gregory "Greg" Sumner[1] is a fictional character from the CBS soap opera Knots Landing, a long-running serial about middle class life on the fictional cul-de-sac known as Seaview Circle in Los Angeles, California. He was played by actor William Devane between 1983 and 1993. He debuted in the fourth episode of the fifth season. Devane remained a principal actor in the series until the final episode. The character made his last television appearance in 1997, when he appeared in the Knots Landing reunion series Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac.


During the planning stages for the fifth season, the producers of the series decided to add a new male to stir up the pot. Devane explained his casting, "They brought me in for 8-10 episodes and said we’ll try it for that. Donna Mills came on the show as a female antagonist, about a year before, so now they wanted to have a male antagonist. I was cast as a Senator to shake things up".[1]

During the thirteenth season in 1992, Devane resigned from his role as Greg due to the production schedule. Devane said: I resigned. I had had enough. It had gotten so absurd. And I was offered a deal with ABC. I left Knots Landing because I didn't want to go in the toilet with this shit. The problem really comes down to the writing and trying to come up with good stories and most of us just said, “ we've done good work and let’s be proud of that and not have the show’s legacy ruined.”". Another reason he resigned was due to the L.A. riots inspired story. "It’s one of the reasons I left. It didn't help, that’s for sure. Ted turning the seawater into fresh water or whatever the hell he did was better".[1]


One of Greg's notable relationships was with Laura Avery (Constance McCashin) who became his second wife. Devane described this as his favorite story and spoke of his co-star Constance McCashin: "I liked the Laura story. The whole thing. Constance is very smart and very quick so it was a joy to work with her. Our dynamic had elements of Tracy and Hepburn in it. At times we were able to do sophisticated comedy and I would have liked to do more of that. Not enough for my tastes, but when we did it, it worked well".[1] Greg also had on and off again affair with Paige Matheson, and short marriages to Abby Cunningham and Anne Matheson.


Before his arrival, Greg went to Law School and met Mack MacKenzie (Kevin Dobson) and they became friends. At this time, Greg was a committed environmental idealist. Greg became smitten with Mack's girlfriend Anne Winston but married Jane and they had a daughter called Mary Frances. Greg appeared in Knots Landing when he was running for Senator. Gary Ewing donated to Greg's campaign, believing Greg to still be a committed environmental idealist like himself, but Greg had now become a cynical politician who was interested in playing power games at any cost. This turned Greg and Mack's former friendship into a complex love-hate relationship, with the moral crusading attorney Mack despising Greg's turn to the dark side, and Greg viewing Mack's no-nonsense crusading methods as going about things the wrong way. Greg also had an affair with Abby and Laura. Greg won the race for Senator when his wife Jane ask for a divorce.[2]

When Paul Galveston turned up, he wanted Greg to take over Galveston Industries, but Greg refused to get involved and told Paul to stay away. Greg revealed to Laura that Paul was his biological father and was still determined to win Greg's approval after years of failing. Greg despised Paul for taking his legal father's place soon after he had been killed in the Korean War, and for Paul having had an affair with Greg's mother for years beforehand. Greg's mother Ruth (Ava Gardner) inherited Paul's company and passed it onto Greg, who renamed it the Sumner Group. Ruth appointed Abby to break up Greg and Laura and she succeeded.[3] Greg's new assistant Peter Hollister tried to convince Greg that he was his half-brother but it was a lie. Greg managed to win Laura back and they married and had a daughter called Meg.[4] Greg was devastated when Laura died of a brain tumor. Unable to bring up Meg alone, he asked Karen (Michele Lee) and Mack to adopt her, which they did.[5] Greg hired Paige Matheson (Nicollette Sheridan) to work with him at the Sumner Group and they began an on/off affair. Greg decided to marry Abby as he believed she would be a good political partner when he wanted to return to the world of Politics. However, Paige ruined his chances of running for Mayor.[6] When his daughter Mary Frances returned, she was shot dead by a sniper, who went on to shoot and poison Greg.[7] When his medical records were leaked, Greg's sister Claudia Whittaker (Kathleen Noone) and his niece Kate (Stacy Galina), who looked a lot like Mary Frances, showed up. Greg married Anne Matheson but it was short lived.[8] When Greg was going through a mid-life crisis, he split his company and gave shares to Paige, Claudia and Meg. When he realised he wanted his company back, he bought Claudia's shares but Meg's shares were sold to Paige, who gained control of the Sumner Group.[9] Greg and Paige finally got together but their relationship ended again when Greg didn't want to have children with Paige.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Knots Landing Character: Greg Sumner". CBS. Retrieved May 5, 2013. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "profile" defined multiple times with different content
  2. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  3. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  4. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  5. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  6. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  7. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  8. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  9. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  10. "Knots". Retrieved May 5, 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Greg Sumner at
  • Template:IMDb character

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