In The News

Tributes are paid to TV star Larry Hagman

Tributes are paid to TV star Larry Hagman

THE actor Larry Hagman, who became known the world over for his portrayal of scheming oilman J.R. Ewing in the TV soap Dallas, has passed away aged 81.

Mr. Hagman had played the stetson-wearing J.R. for 13 years during which time he became one of the most distinctive faces on TV. The series, which first ran in 1978, was seen by an estimated 300 million people in 57 countries.

The actor had recently been seen in the new series of the soap, along with other original stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy.

Born in Texas, Mr. Hagman was the son of actress Mary Martin. As a young actor he toured with his mother in a number of musicals.

His first major success in television came in the 1960s when he played astronaut Tony Nelson in the comedy series I Dream of Jeannie.

He continued to appear in various TV shows and films over the years, but it was Dallas that turned him into a star (see below).

However, away from the cameras, Mr. Hagman was fighting a losing battle with alcohol. He recalled that during his J.R. days he would regularly get through five bottles of champagne while on set.

In 1992, a year after Dallas had ended, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Three years later he had a liver transplant but continued to drink until finally being able to stop in 2003 when he had to undergo further life-saving surgery.

In recent times, he had been battling cancer and passed away at a hospital in  Dallas from complications caused by the disease.

His family released a statement in which they said Mr. Hagman had been back in Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most. They added: “When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for”.

Among those at his bedside was close friend and co-star, Linda Gray. She said the actor had been her best friend for 35 years.

She added: “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.”

To view clips of J.R. Ewing in action, click here.

To see an excerpt from an interview given by Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy to The Hollywood Reporter, in which they discuss the new series of Dallas, click here.

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