Dallas Star Larry Hagman Dead at 81

'JR Ewing' actor also starred in 'I Dream of Jeannie'

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 24, 2012 5:20 AM CST

(Newser) – JR Ewing was a business cheat, faithless husband, and bottomless well of corruption. Yet with his sparkling grin, Larry Hagman masterfully created the charmingly loathsome oil baron—and coaxed forth a Texas-size gusher of ratings—on television's long-running and hugely successful nighttime soap, Dallas. Although he first gained fame as nice guy Capt. Tony Nelson on the fluffy 1965-70 NBC comedy I Dream of Jeannie, Hagman earned his greatest stardom with JR. The CBS serial drama about the Ewing family and those in their orbit aired from April 1978 to May 1991, and broke viewing records with its "Who shot JR?" 1980 cliffhanger that left unclear whether Hagman's character was dead. (He wasn't.)

The actor, who returned as JR in a new edition of Dallas this year, had a long history of health problems and died yesterday due to complications from his battle with cancer, his family said. He was 81. "He brought joy to everyone he knew," said Linda Gray, his onscreen wife and later ex-wife in the original series. "He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented, and I will miss him enormously."

This 1967 file photo shows Barbara Eden, left, and Larry Hagman in a scene from the television show I Dream of Jeannie.
This 1967 file photo shows Barbara Eden, left, and Larry Hagman in a scene from the television show "I Dream of Jeannie."   (AP Photo/NBC, file)
Larry Hagman in 2008.
Larry Hagman in 2008.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
This Feb. 2, 1979, file photo shows actor Larry Hagman next to a camera on the set of the television series Dallas.
This Feb. 2, 1979, file photo shows actor Larry Hagman next to a camera on the set of the television series "Dallas."   (AP Photo/George Brich, File)
This 1981 file photo provided by CBS shows Larry Hagman in character as J.R. Ewing.
This 1981 file photo provided by CBS shows Larry Hagman in character as J.R. Ewing.   (AP Photo/CBS, file)
In this 2004 file photo provided by the National Kidney Foundation, actor Larry Hagman bares his chest to show off his scar from his liver transplant surgery.
In this 2004 file photo provided by the National Kidney Foundation, actor Larry Hagman bares his chest to show off his scar from his liver transplant surgery.   (AP Photo/Eric Miller, File)
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