Saturday, 24 November 2012

RIP Larry Hagman (1931-2012)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

TV legend Larry Hagman, 81, has died following complications from throat cancer. He was most famous for playing Texan oilman J.R Ewing in classic '80s soap Dallas, which was revived with Hagman's involvement earlier this year. Others may remember him as astronaut Tony in 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, as well as for memorable appearances in the movies JFK, Nixon and Primary Colors.

I'm a little too young to have a deep attachment to Hagman's work, as I was under-10 during the heyday of Dallas, but such was the acclaim and popularity of J.R Ewing that you couldn't really escape him. That hat, that grin, that accent, the twinkling blue eyes... as J.R he was arguably the small-screen's greatest ever villain. I very much enjoyed his performance in TNT's update of Dallas this year, which was even more remarkable considering his age and ill health.

It'll be interesting to see what the producers of Dallas do in the wake of Hagman's death, as I assume he must have filmed scenes considering its January premiere. Given his battle with cancer, did the writers have a contingency plan from the get-go?

Hagman never really escaped the role of J.R Ewing after Dallas finished; in many ways just waiting around for the show's occasional return as TV Movies before the recent comeback. But it was the role of a lifetime and made him a household name, while cementing that character as a global TV icon. I wish he'd been given other roles to play in the '90s that could have helped bury J.R to an extent, but most actors would give their right leg to play such an iconic role... so you can't get too upset.

Hagman is survived by two children, Heidi and Preston.