R.I.P. Larry Hagman: 1931-2012
For at least two generations of TV audiences throughout the world, Larry Hagman embodied all the extreme attributes of a man you love to hate with his cunningly colorful portrayal of amoral Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing in Dallas, the phenomenally popular prime-time soap opera.
It’s scarcely an exaggeration to say J.R. broke all the rules – including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s much-quoted dictum that there are no second acts in American life. Twenty-one years after the original series ended its 1978-1991 run on CBS, Dallas was successfully rebooted last summer on TNT – and J.R., once again played by Hagman, returned to the scene of his crimes, much to the delight of both longtime fans and first-time viewers.
At the time he passed away Friday at age 81 – in Dallas, appropriately enough, with co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray by his side -- Hagman reportedly had completed only six of the 15 episodes slated for the second season of the new Dallas series. But never mind: Thanks to J.R., he had already achieved a unique form of pop-culture immortality a long time ago.
Dallas executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin, Warner Bros. TV, and the series’ cast and crew praised Hagman in a joint statement: "Larry Hagman was a giant, a larger-than-life personality whose iconic performance as J.R. Ewing will endure as one of the most indelible in entertainment history. He truly loved portraying this globally recognized character, and he leaves a legacy of entertainment, generosity and grace. Everyone at Warner Bros. and in the Dallas family is deeply saddened by Larry's passing, and our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time."