While this news is not surprising, it is certainly incredibly sad. Hollywood lost a true legend on Friday. Larry Hagman, at the young age of 81, passed away after complications from cancer with his family and friends.
Arguably, Hagman created one of the most, if not THE most, iconic TV characters in TV history…J.R. Ewing. A role he recently reprised in the summer reboot of “Dallas” on TNT. Hagman is most known for his role of J.R. Ewing, which he played for 14 seasons on the original “Dallas” run (1978-1991.) Hagman is also known for his role as lovable Major Tony Nelson on “I Dream of Jeannie” (1965-1970) with Barbara Eden. He was also the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin and Ben Hagman.
I remember watching “Dallas” as a kid. I was on 4 when it first came on the air. But one of the first TV episodes I remember watching was on March 21st 1980…the infamous “Who Shot JR” episode. I remember it not so much for the episode itself, but for the way my family reacted watching the episode and how they talked about it all summer long. I remember being in my house at the Jersey Shore and my aunt saying to my mother that she was rethinking it was Cliff Barnes that shot JR and that maybe it was really Sue Ellen. They went back and forth all summer….would it be a big character, would it be a smaller character. And their answer came in November 1981 (but if you want to find out who shot him, you’ll have to watch the show!)
There have been so many iconic TV characters over the years…Lucy Ricardo, Mary Richards, Archie Bunker, Ralph Kramdon, Columbo….but right up there with all of them is J.R. Ewing. And while a good portion of that was due to the writing, in my opinion, it was because of Larry Hagman and his perfect portrayal of the “love to hate him” bad boy Ewing.
The reboot of “Dallas” is currently filming its second season, which is set to premiere on Jan 28th on TNT. At this point, they are 6 episodes into shooting. There are 15 episodes scheduled for Season 2. There is no specific plan on how Hagman’s death will be dealt with on the show but the show runners have said that they are looking at revising scripts and will give J.R. the big send off both the character and the fans deserve.
Rest in Peace Mr. Hagman. I hope you are finally at peace and thank you for years of gracing my house with your talent and charm. You were truly exceptional. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends at this difficult time.