A true television icon, actor Larry Hagman, has died. The star of I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas passed away yesterday in Dallas from complications from his battle with throat cancer. He was 81 years old.
“Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,” his family said in a written 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. The family requests privacy at this time.” Dallas co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were reportedly among those by his bedside.
CBS, the network that aired the original Dallas, released this statement: “Television has seen many stars, but there will only be one Larry Hagman. Larry was a larger-than-life personality, both on-screen and off — a master showman and brilliant actor who brought to life a character that transcended the medium and truly captivated a nation. Today, we mourn the loss of a friend, but remember a man who brought true greatness to his craft and a television character in J.R. Ewing that will never be forgotten.”
Here’s how some of his Dallas castmates are remembering him:
Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing): “Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years. 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 fullest. The world was a brighter place because of Larry.”
Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing): tweeted a photo (below) and simply wrote, “My friend is taking a break. Pardon my silence. Love Patrick.” On Sunday, he wrote: “Friday I lost one of the greatest friends ever to grace my life. The loneliness is only what is difficult, as Larry’s peace and comfort is always what is important to me, now as when he was here. He was a fighter in the gentlest way, against his obstacles and for his friends. I wear his friendship with honor.”
Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes): “A friend and long time partner… the other half. RIP Larry Hagman… your spirit will live long.”
Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing): “At seventeen years old my life took a turn that one could only dream of. I was cast as Lucy Ewing in the iconic show Dallas. Dallas was so much more than a television phenomenon to me. It was my family. I grew up with a mentally ill single mother raising me and no father figure in my life. I lived on my own in an apartment from the age of fifteen. I remember the day I met the force of nature that is Larry Hagman like it was yesterday. (It was actually 35 years ago). My Uncle Larry became the father figure that I so needed and longed for. He taught me how to be professional, work hard but have fun at the same time, and how to respect the opportunities I was blessed to have been given. He was very protective because I was so young, but also expected the best from me on the set of Dallas. He was one of the best actors the world has ever known. To me he will always be my Uncle Larry. I am so so very sad, but cherish the lifetime of memories I have with him.”
Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing): “Larry was bigger than life, on screen and off. He is unforgettable, and irreplaceable, to millions of fans around the world, and in the hearts of each of us who was lucky enough to know and love him. Look out God, Larry’s leading the parade.”
Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs): “Larry was a wonderful actor, an incredible personality and a man who knew the entertainment business. it is truly the end of an era–my prayers go out to his children and grandchildren as they navigate this difficult time in their lives.”
Deborah Rennard (Jr’s secretary, Sylvia): “I am deeply saddened to hear of Larry’s passing.He was enormously kind and supportive to me over the ten years we worked together. I feel truly privileged. to have been able to work so closely with him for so many years. He was a giant in the acting world. His generosity of spirit and sense of play was always present. He was a joy to be around and went out of his way to put his fellow actors at ease. He was like a mentor to me, giving me not only acting tips and encouragement but advice on the business of acting.I will miss knowing he is in the world with us. And believe the lights of Hollywood shine a little dimmer for his absence.My most sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”
Jesse Metcalf (Christopher Ewing on the new Dallas): “It was truly an honor to share the screen with Mr. Larry Hagman. With piercing wit and undeniable charm he brought to life one of the most legendary television characters of all time,” Metcalf said. “But to know the man, however briefly, was to know a passion and dedication for life and acting that was profoundly inspirational.”
Brenda Strong (Anne Ewing): “Being able to work with one of my childhood idols was a dream come true. He was one of the most resilient and positive people I’ve ever known. Larry’s tremendous talent and contribution as an artist is only surpassed by his gigantic heart and how beloved he was by his friends, especially Patrick and Linda. He is a one of a kind and will be deeply missed. My heart breaks for his family’s loss. Quite honestly, I can’t believe he is gone. He lived life to the fullest and was the embodiment of the term ‘light hearted.’ He was and will continue to be an icon in our hearts and minds.”
Jordana Brewster (Elena): “I feel lucky and humbled to have worked with such a great man and actor. We will miss you, Larry.”
Julie Gonzalo (Rebecca): “I had the great honor to work with an incredible man. I’m humbled to have been a part of his life. I will cherish you forever. RIP my friend”
Leonor Verela (Veronica Martinez): “I am grateful to have shared a few moments in life and on screen with Larry Hagman, you inspire me to love life and appreciate every moment.”
Hagman once said that, after death, he wanted his remains to be “spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry.”
Hagman is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, a daughter (Kristina Hagman), a son (Preston Hagman), five granddaughters, and millions of grateful television viewers.
What do you think? Do you have any particularly fond memories of Hagman as JR Ewing?