"Dallas" Star Larry Hagman Has Passed Away
LARRY HAGMAN, who you know as J.R. Ewing from "Dallas", died on Friday. He was 81. So, WHO killed J.R.? It was CANCER, specifically, complications from throat cancer. He'd been fighting it for the past 13 months. His family released a statement saying, "He was surrounded by loved ones when he passed. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for."
Hagman's breakout role was on the 1965 sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie", where he starred opposite BARBARA EDEN for five seasons as Jeannie's master, and eventual husband, astronaut Tony Nelson. He then played J.R. on "Dallas" for 14 seasons, from 1978 to 1991, and returned to the role for TNT's new "Dallas" show earlier this year. The second season will premiere in January. He'd completed filming on six of the upcoming 15 episodes.
Hagman's death was unexpected, so the producers are scrambling to find a way to explain J.R.'s abrupt mid-season departure. It's too early to say how that might work, but when the actor who played J.R.'s dad, Josh Ewing, died unexpectedly during the original series, they explained it with a helicopter crash.
Some of Larry's co-stars have commented on his death. Here are a few highlights:
Linda Gray, who played J.R.'s wife Sue Ellen, Tweeted, "So sad to lose such a wonderful dear bigger than life friend. Larry Hagman was one of a kind and will be with us all forever."
Ken Kercheval, who played J.R.'s rival Cliff Barnes, Tweeted, "A friend and long time partner, the other half, R.I.P. Larry Hagman. Your spirit will live long."
Jesse Metcalfe, from the new "Dallas", said, "With piercing wit and undeniable charm he brought to life one of the most legendary television characters of all time. But to know the man, however briefly, was to know a passion and dedication for life and acting that was profoundly inspirational."
Patrick Duffy, who was reportedly at Larry's side when he died, Tweeted, "My friend is taking a break. Pardon my silence." (And he linked to this recent picture of them together.)
He later issued this statement: "Friday I lost one of the greatest friends ever to grace my life. The loneliness is only what is difficult, as Larry's peace and comfort is always what is important to me, now as when he was here. He was a fighter in the gentlest way, against his obstacles and for his friends. I wear his friendship with honor."
And Barbara Eden said, "I still cannot completely express the shock and impact from the news that Larry Hagman has passed. I can still remember, that first day on Zuma Beach with him, in the frigid cold. From that day for five more years, Larry was the center of so many fun, wild, shocking, and in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever." (You can read her full comment on her Facebook page.)
Here's a video of J.R. Ewing highlights from YouTube: