Saturday, 24 November 2012

Larry Hagman RIP

Dallas Actor Larry Hagman dies aged 81
Actor Larry Hagman, who played the villain JR Ewing in the long running television soap Dallas, has died at the age of 81.

24 November 2012

The actor played the role of JR for more than a decade and was at the centre of one of the most famous cliffhangers in television history when the character was shot in the third season.

Hagman, who had suffered from cancer and liver disease, died in hospital in Dallas, Texas. He had recently reprised his most famous role in a new series of Dallas broadcast earlier this year.

"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," his family said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News.

"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. The family requests privacy at this time."

Linda Gray, a long-time friend who starred alongside Hagman in Dallas as his on screen wife Sue Ellen Ewing, was by the actors bedside when he died.

She described him as her "best friend for 35 years", according to her agent.

In a statement to the BBC, her agent said: "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."

Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas on September 21 1931, the son of actress Mary Martin and lawyer Ben Hagman, a biography on his official website said.

While in England with the US Air Force he met and married his wife of almost 60 years, Swedish designer Maj Axelsson. The couple later had two children.

He became a star in 1965 in the TV comedy series I Dream of Jeannie, in which he played an astronaut haunted by the beautiful blonde genie, played by Barbara Eden.

But it was in 1977 when he landed the role of merciless oil magnate JR Ewing, the character at the centre of the show Dallas, that his worldwide fame was cemented.

The series ran for 13 seasons and on November 21, 1980 more than 350 million people tuned in to find out "who shot JR".

Hagman refused to be defined by his most enduring role, acting in films such as Nixon and Primary Colors.
But he also had health problems. In 1992 he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and three years later he had a liver transplant.

In October last year he discovered a tumour on his tongue and was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation before it went into remission in March.

Earlier this year he appeared in a new 10-episode series of Dallas, broadcast in thge UK on Channel 5 and on TNT in the USA, with a second series in production and due to run next year.

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