Indeed, after Wopat showed up for his Dukes of Hazzard audition, he got the part of Luke Duke almost immediately. His character was one of two cousins who got into shenanigans in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, usually evading Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane along the way.
Luke was the older and more sensible Duke cousin to Bo as well as the one who usually came up with the pair’s schemes. Most notably, he was also the first character on the show to perform the famous “hood slide” across the family’s car, the General Lee. And although that slide was actually a complete accident on Wopat’s part – not to mention one in which he injured himself in the process – it nevertheless became iconic.
The show, too, became a big hit – something for which Wopat hadn’t been prepared. “One thing I can assure you nobody knew is [that] Dukes would be such a hit and run for so many seasons,” Wopat told the Delaware County Daily Times in 2016. “We looked at it as a mild entertainment program that might get a following from guys who liked souped-up cars. It was a surprise when we became so popular. I always figured I’d have some career in musical theater and maybe build a reputation from that.”