Pop Culture Junkies

R.I.P., Larry hagman
November 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Dallas Star Larry Hagman Dies in Texas

By Associated PressNov. 24, 20121

Larry Hagman, whose predatory oil baron J.R. Ewing on television’s long-running nighttime soap opera “Dallas” became a symbol for 1980s greed and coaxed forth a Texas-sized gusher of TV ratings, has died. He was 81.Hagman, who returned as J.R. in a new edition of “Dallas” this year, passed away Friday afternoon due to complications from his battle with cancer, according to a statement from the family provided to The Associated Press by Warner Bros., producer of “Dallas.”“Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved the most,” the family said. “Larry’s family and closest friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday.”Hagman was diagnosed in 1992 with cirrhosis of the liver and acknowledged that he had drank heavily for years. In 1995, a malignant tumor was discovered on his liver and he underwent a transplant.Years before “Dallas,” Hagman had gained TV fame as a nice guy with the fluffy 1965-70 NBC comedy “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which he played Capt. Tony Nelson, an astronaut whose life is disrupted when he finds a comely genie, portrayed by Barbara Eden, and takes her home to live with him.

He also starred in two short-lived sitcoms, “The Good Life” (NBC, 1971-72) and “Here We Go Again” (ABC, 1973). His film work included well-regarded performances in “The Group,” ”Harry and Tonto” and “Primary Colors.”But it was Hagman’s masterful portrayal of the charmingly loathsome J.R. that brought him his greatest stardom. The CBS serial drama about the Ewing clan and those in their orbit aired from April 1978 to May 1991.The “Who shot J.R.?” story twist, in which Hagman’s character was nearly murdered in a cliffhanger episode, fueled international speculation and millions of dollars in betting-parlour wagers. It also helped give the series a ratings record for the time.

When the answer was revealed in a November 1980 episode, an average 41 million viewers tuned in to make “Dallas” the second most-watched entertainment show of all time, trailing only the “MASH” finale in 1983 with 50 million viewers.It was J.R.’s sister-in-law, Kristin (Mary Crosby) who plugged him — he had made her pregnant, then threatened to frame her as a prostitute unless she left town — but others had equal motivation.Hagman played Ewing as a bottomless well of corruption with a charming grin: a business cheat and a faithless husband who tried to get his alcoholic wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), institutionalized.“I know what I want on J.R.’s tombstone,” Hagman said in 1988. “It should say: ‘Here lies upright citizen J.R. Ewing. This is the only deal he ever lost.’”In 2006, Hagman did a guest shot on FX’s drama series “Nip/Tuck,” playing a macho business mogul. He also got new exposure in recent years with the DVD releases of “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Dallas.”The Fort Worth, Texas, native was the son of singer-actress Mary Martin, who starred in such classics as “South Pacific” and “Peter Pan.” Martin was still in her teens when he was born in 1931 during her marriage to attorney Ben Hagman.As a youngster, Hagman gained a reputation for mischief-making as he was bumped from one private school to another. He made a stab at New York theater in the early 1950s, then served in the Air Force from 1952-56 in England.While there, he met and married young Swedish designer Maj Axelsson. The couple had two children, Preston and Heidi, and were longtime residents of the Malibu beach colony that is home to many celebrities.Hagman returned to acting and found work in the theater and in such TV series as “The U.S. Steel Hour,” ”The Defenders” and “Sea Hunt.” His first continuing role was as lawyer Ed Gibson on the daytime serial “The Edge of Night” (1961-63).He called his 2001 memoir “Hello Darlin’: Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales about My Life.”“I didn’t put anything in that I thought was going to hurt someone or compromise them in any way,” he told The Associated Press at the time.After his transplant, he became an advocate for organ donation and volunteered at a hospital to help frightened patients.“I counsel, encourage, meet them when they come in for their operations, and after,” he said in 1996. “I try to offer some solace, like ‘Don’t be afraid, it will be a little uncomfortable for a brief time, but you’ll be OK.’ “He also was an anti-smoking activist who took part in “Great American Smoke-Out” campaigns.


  • jltplk25
    November 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM
    I'll fix it when I get my laptop charged. :)
  • gmadiane
    November 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    how sad

  • Lulu2216
    November 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    RIP Larry! He played one of the very best bad guys on t.v. I am really sad about this.

  • motherslove82
    November 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM
    That's sad. I wonder what that means for the new Dallas series? No one else can play J.R.
  • colins_mom
    November 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM
    They will probably write the death in.

    Quoting motherslove82:

    That's sad. I wonder what that means for the new Dallas series? No one else can play J.R.
  • monjerm01
    November 24, 2012 at 11:33 AM
  • MamaMandee
    November 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    He sent me a tweet not to long ago after I tweeted how much I was enjoying the show. May he rest in peace! 

  • MamaMandee
    November 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Executives behind the Dallas re-boot are scrambling to change the show's storyline following the death of star Larry Hagman.

    The veteran actor, who passed away on Friday (23Nov12), spent months battling cancer, but he refused to let his illness affect his career and continued working while he was undergoing treatment.

    TV bosses are currently shooting the second series of the relaunched Dallas, in which Hagman reprises his role as oil tycoon J.R. Ewing from the original TV soap, and he had filmed several episodes before he was taken ill.

    It has now been confirmed the show's writing team will have to alter the planned storyline in the aftermath of the tragedy. Viewers had seen Hagman's character vowing to launch a titanic battle for control of the family's business empire at the close of the debut season earlier this year (12).

    A representative for Channel 5, the U.K. broadcaster of Dallas, tells WENN, "Dallas is midway in production on Season 2 and this sad news will be incorporated into the storyline... The team are dealing with the death before they consider the writing possibilities."

    Channel 5 bosses plan to honor Hagman's memory by screening a documentary tribute in his honor, titled A Tribute to Larry Hagman: At home with JR, in the U.K. on Sunday (25Nov12).

  • sara_7106
    November 24, 2012 at 4:08 PM
  • MrsNewman
    November 24, 2012 at 10:27 PM


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