Television icon Larry Hagman, best known for playing J.R. Ewing on Dallas, passed away at Medical City Dallas Hospital of complications from cancer on Friday at the age of 81.
"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," his family said in a statement to the press. "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."
Born to Broadway legend Mary Martin, acting was in his blood. Before becoming a household name, Hagman attended Bard College in New York and then did a tour of duty in the Air Force. After meeting his wife while he was stationed in England, Hagman returned to New York and performed on Broadway and then went on to appear in dozens of television and film rolls. He got his big break playing Major/Captain Anthony 'Tony' Nelson in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. He went on to play J.R. Ewing on Dallas from 1978 to 1991 (356 episodes), including two reunion specials.
In recent years, Hagman appeared in several episodes of Nip/Tuck and Desperate Housewives before returning to Dallas this year in TNT's reboot. The show was an instant success and is due to return this January (Hagman filmed 6 episodes).
Hagman announced last year that he had been diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer, which the actor described as "a very common and treatable form of cancer." After undergoing chemo and radiation, he reportedly went into remission earlier this year. He leaves behind his wife of 58 years, two children and five grandchildren.
Photo Credit: Mark Seliger © Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.