Larry Hagman, who portrayed the iconic role of J.R. Ewing on
Dallas, died Friday at the age of 81,
according to a statement posted to his official website. The cause was
reportedly complications from his battle with cancer.
"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the
iconic role he loved most," his family said in a statement. "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."
Hagman was working on the second season of TNT's reboot of Dallas, which premieres Jan. 28. The
first season proved a hit this summer, averaging 5.9 million viewers for the
version that matched stars of the 1980s primetime soap like Hagman, Patrick
Duffy and Linda Gray with a new generation of the Ewing clan.
"All of us at TNT are deeply saddened at the news of Larry Hagman's passing," the network said in a statement. "He was a
wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever
thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry
through his performance as J.R. Ewing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his
family at this very difficult time."
Added Warner Bros., in a statement on behalf of Dallas' executive producers, cast and
crew: "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.
As the scheming oil baron J.R., Hagman was at the center of
TV's most famous cliffhanger "Who Shot J.R.?" when he was shot twice by an
unseen assailant in Dallas' season-finale
episode in 1980. When the answer was finally revealed the next season, an
estimated 83 million people watched, making it the highest-rated TV episode at
Though best remembered for Dallas, Hagman's first big TV role was as Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie, which ran on NBC
from 1965-70. He also had supporting roles in films like Fail-Safe, JFK, Nixon and Primary
Hagman is survived by his wife Maj, daughter Kristina, son
Preston and five granddaughters.