Larry Hagman, who played the conniving and mischievous J.R. Ewing on the TV show Dallas, died Friday at Medical City in Dallas, of complications from his recent battle with cancer, his family said.
He was 81.
“Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,” his family said in a written statement. “Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.”
The role of J.R. transformed Mr. Hagman’s life. He rocketed from being a merely well-known TV actor on I Dream of Jeannie and the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, to the kind of international fame known only by the likes the Beatles and Muhammad Ali.
Mr. Hagman made his home in California with his wife of 59 years, the former Maj Axelsson. Despite obvious physical frailty, he gamely returned to Dallas to film season one and part of season two of TNT’s Dallas reboot.
Friends were in shock Friday, especially those who saw him only days ago. But those close to him say he knew the end was coming and he was glad to have his family in town for Thanksgiving.
The new version of Dallas on TNT that premiered this past summer was a very well done and worthy follow up to the original. I was a fan of Dallas in the 1980s, so much that I'd remember videotaping episodes on Friday nights while I was in high school marching band during football season and watch it the next morning.
Thanks for the memories J.R.!