Bonnie Petrie

TV Icon Larry Hagman, Star of “Dallas” & “I Dream of Jeannie,” Dead at 81

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Claire Greenway/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Iconic TV star Larry Hagman, star of I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas, has died, according to DallasNews.com.  He was 81.

Members of Hagman’s family told the paper that Hagman had died Friday at 4:20 p.m. at Medical City Dallas Hospital from complications resulting from a battle with cancer.

According to the paper, the family said in a 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.”

In a statement to ABC News provided by her publicist, Hagman’s Dallas co-star Linda Gray said, “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 tremendously.  He was an original and lived life to the full.  The world was a brighter place because of Larry Hagman.”  Gray was at Hagman’s bedside when he died.

The son of Broadway star Mary Martin, Hagman started his career in theater and then moved to television.  His breakout role was as Major Tony Nelson in the hit series I Dream of Jeannie, which ran for five years.  In 1977, he got what would become his second iconic role — that of the villain J.R. Ewing in the prime time soap opera Dallas — and it rocketed him to stardom.

The 1980 cliffhanger “Who Shot J.R.” episode of Dallas — in which Hagman’s character was shot but not killed — became a major pop cultural event.  The episode in which the shooter’s identity was finally revealed was, at the time, the highest-rated TV episode in U.S. history.  Since then, it has slipped to second, after being overtaken by the final episode of M*A*S*H.  In case you don’t remember, it was J.R.’s mistress Kristin who shot him.  Hagman reprised the role of J.R. Ewing in TNT’s 2012 reboot of Dallas.

Hagman had health issues in recent years, and underwent a liver transplant in 1995.  He was later diagnosed with throat cancer.

 

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