Larry Hagman, best known as the ruthless oilman J.R. Ewing on TV’s Dallas, has died aged 81. The Texas born actor had suffered from cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Long time friend Linda Gray, who was Sue Ellen in the long running show, was by his bedside.
During the 13 years that Hagman played the Stetson wearing oil tycoon, he was undoubtedly one of the most well known faces on television screens across the globe. At its peak Dallas had an estimated 300 million viewers and was revived earlier this year.
Born in Fort Worth and raised by his grandmother, Hagman later moved to Los Angeles. He followed his mother, actress Mary Martin, into showbusiness mainly in theatre. He became a well known face in the 1960s when he played astronaut Tony Nelson in comedy I Dream of Genie.
In 1978 he took on the role of JR and became its highest paid star. In his autobiography, Hello Darlin’ Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life, he revealed the extent of his long time battle with alcoholism. He was surrounded by friends and family at the time of his death.