‘Dallas’ actor Larry Hagman dies, aged 81

Actor famous for playing JR Ewing loses cancer battle

Actor Larry Hagman, who is best known for his iconic performance as JR Ewing on US TV show Dallas, has passed away aged 81.

The BBC reports that Hagman died on Friday (November 23) following a battle with cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. In a statement released by his family, they said: “Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most. 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.”

Hagman was born in Texas but later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry by starring in musical productions, but made the move into television with a role in US comedy show I Dream Of Jeanie.

In 1978, he started his most famous role as oil tycoon JR Ewing in Dallas and, despite his villainous character, became one of the show’s most recognisable and best-loved characters. He also later went on to star in films including Nixon and Primary Colours and, earlier this year, revived his role as JR for the reboot of Dallas.

In 1992, however, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to his hard-drinking lifestyle – at one point, he was said to be regularly consuming five bottles of champagne a day – and revealed in October last year that he had been diagnosed with a form of cancer.

His Dallas co-star Linda Gray, who played Sue Ellen, paid tribute to Hagman saying: “Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years. He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the full.”

Actress Victoria Principal, meanwhile, who played Pam Ewing, said: “He is unforgettable, and irreplaceable, to millions of fans around the world, and in the hearts of each of us who was lucky enough to know and love him.”