Larry Hagman, 'Dallas' Star, Dead at 81
Playing one of the most lovable villains on the small screen from 1978 to 1991, Hagman reprised his role as J.R. on the TNT reboot of the show this summer—but not before announcing that he had a "treatable" form of cancer.
“As J. R., I could get away with anything — bribery, blackmail and adultery,” Hagman said after being diagnosed. “But I got caught by cancer.”
But this wasn't the first time the veteran actor had dealt with health issues. In 1992 he developed cirrhosis from heavy drinking and a few years later, underwent surgery for a liver transplant.
Despite his health problems, however, Hagman was said to have been excited about playing the oil tycoon again.
Co-star Linda Gray, who played Sue Ellen Ewing, Hagman's wife on the show, said of his passing: "Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years, and he was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he new. He was creative, generous, funny, loving, and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest. The world was a brighter place because of Larry Hagman."
Before Hagman became synonymous with Dallas, he was, for a time, equally as popular for his role as straight-laced Major Tony Nelson in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Co-star Barbara Eden, also shared her thoughts upon hearing the news about his death.
"I still cannot completely express the shock and impact from the news that Larry Hagman has passed...," Eden stated. "Larry was the center of so many fun, wild, shocking…and in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever."
Hagman is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Maj Axelsson, along with his son and daughter, grandchildren, and half sister.
In a 1980 interview, Hagman once said about death: “Life is terminal, death is not. I think death is just another stage of our development. I honestly believe that we don’t just disappear. We don’t go into a void. I think we’re part of a big energy curtain, an energy wave, in which we are like molecules.”
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