Larry Hagman, famous for playing J.R. Ewing on CBS' Dallas, passed away on Friday evening from complications with cancer. He was 81 years old. Hagman will die once more, as he lived, on television when the Dallas remake returns in the spring.
Hagman became one of the most famous villains in television history during the initial Dallas run on CBS during the late-70s and through the 1980s. J.R. Ewing was the evil head of a Texas oil family. Ewing wasn't as friendly or as personable as Jed Clampett, let's put it that way, and Hagman loved playing such a reviled character. "Few actors enjoyed their fame as much as Mr. Hagman, who traveled the world handing out fake $100 bills with his face on them," writes the New York Times' Bill Carter. Susan Durrwachter, a producer for Piers Morgan Tonight, tweeted this great picture of Hagman, Morgan and Cee-lo from earlier this year:
Cee-lo looks so happy!
Dallas' "Who Shot J.R?" story arc is one of television's famous and set ratings records when it aired. The Simpsons brilliantly parodied it with a "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episode, and a Saturday Night Live sketch based on the episode famously resulted in one of the few times a cast member said, ahem, the f-word on air.
Hagman reprised his role on TNT's Dallas remake, and The Atlantic Wire's Richard Lawson said Hagman was one of the bright spots of the show. So, fittingly, the Hollywood Reporter's Philiana Ng reports the producers are going to work his death into the show so they can give give Hagman, and Ewing, a proper send off when it comes back on air.