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J.R. of “Dallas” Dead at 81
There are few people who have watched Dallas who did not appreciate Hagman’s acting and his flamboyant portrayal of an amoral oilman. The Dallas Morning News reported that Hagman died after years of battling with liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and throat cancer, an outcome of decades of drinking.
Hagman was, of course, like many super-villains, a very warm and affectionate person in real life. Linda Gray, who had played the role of “Sue Ellen” in Dallas was with Hagman when he died. In a later email, Jeffrey Lane, the actress’ spokesman conveyed her feelings. Gray said, “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, funny, loving and talented, and I will miss him enormously.”
Dallas was one of the earliest super-hit TV serials and one never forgotten by those who grew up in the 80s. It was one of the few American serials that built a huge international fan base that never wanted to let go. The serial had a revival this year.
Hagman wrote in his autobiography that the character of J.R. was originally not built to be the focus of “Dallas,” but things changed when he began ad-libbing on the set and worked hard to make the character more compelling.
A revival of Dallas started on the TNT network in June 2012 which was to focus on the sons of J.R. and Bobby Ewing.
Hagman was as much appreciated for his affectionate nature as for his eccentric streak. One of the best known real-life stories about Hagman is of licking the arm of actress Lauren Bacall, because he had been warned that the actress did not like anyone touching her.
A man who worked hard and partied harder, Hagman had once told Times that after his death he wanted his remains to be “spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people….”