When Larry Hagman died yesterday, the cast and crew of TNT’s Dallas series had finished filming six of the 15 episodes that had been ordered for the second season. He was scheduled to shoot more scenes this week and his demise reportedly came as a shock to many of those on the show.
A statement from TNT reads, “All of us at TNT are deeply saddened at the news of Larry Hagman’s passing. He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Warner Bros. and executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin said, “Larry Hagman was a giant, a larger-than-life personality whose iconic performance as J.R. Ewing will endure as one of the most indelible in entertainment history. He truly loved portraying this globally recognized character, and he leaves a legacy of entertainment, generosity and grace. Everyone at Warner Bros. and in the Dallas family is deeply saddened by Larry’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time.”
Word is that the current Dallas’ producers and writers plan to start revising scripts and will give JR Ewing a big send-off. Years before the original Dallas ended, Hagman said, “I know what I want on JR’s tombstone. It should say: ‘Here lies upright citizen J.R. Ewing. This is the only deal he ever lost.'”
This will be the third time that Cidre has had to make script adjustments.
When TNT first ordered the new Dallas pilot, Hagman was holding out for a lot more money and an agreement couldn’t be reached. Cidre reportedly came up with an alternate script for the pilot that would have incorporated vintage footage of JR from the original series. Warners Bros. apparently liked the approach a lot and was ready to move forward but Hagman finally signed on.
Last October, during the filming of the first season, Hagman announced that he was battling cancer. His airtime was cut down to three episodes just in case he wasn’t well enough for more (remember when JR disappeared off to Las Vegas?). He was ultimately able to appear in all of the episodes.
It’s hard to imagine Dallas without JR Ewing and certainly no one else could take over the role. What do you think? Do you think the series will be worth watching without Hagman? Should the new Dallas come to an end or keep going?
The second season of Dallas is set to begin airing January 28th.