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Larry Hagman 1931 - 2012: Obituary for 'Dallas' JR Ewing star

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Larry Hagman, best known for his iconic role as oil baron JR Ewing on Dallas, died yesterday (November 23) at the age of 81.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1931, the actor was the son of actress and Broadway star Mary Martin and attorney Ben Hagman. He lived with his grandmother in Los Angeles after his father left the family home when Larry was 5. His mother was often away touring.

Dallas S01E04 - 'The Last Hurrah': Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing

© Channel 5



A mischievousness child, he moved around various private schools before making his debut on the New York theatre scene in the early 1950s. He later starred in South Pacific on London's West End alongside his mother, before serving in the Air Force from 1952 to '56, stationed in London.

It was there that he met and married Swedish designer Maj Axelsson. The couple had two children, Preston and Heidi, and resided in Malibu.

Hagman soon returned to acting with his first recurring role as a lawyer on daytime soap The Edge of Night (1961-63). His first real taste of TV fame came on the NBC comedy I Dream of Jeannie, in which he played astronaut Captain Tony Nelson from 1965 to '70.

Stints in short-lived sitcoms The Good Life (NBC, 1971-72) and Here We Go Again (ABC, 1973) and roles in several TV movies followed, but it was his portrayal of JR Ewing in the CBS drama Dallas from April 1978 to May 1991 that made him an international star.

Larry Hagman as JR Ewing in Dallas

© TNT



The show was a huge hit, attracting record ratings as audiences across the globe tuned in to see the latest exploits of the Ewings. In November 1980, over 350 million viewers watched worldwide to find out Who Shot JR.

Hagman's 2001 memoir Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales about My Life revealed the full extent of his battle with alcoholism. He had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 1992 and had a liver transplant three years later.

He more recently scored cameos in Nip/Tuck and Desperate Housewives, before resuming his role as JR in the new series of Dallas earlier this year.

Hagman revealed in October 2011 that he had been diagnosed with a "very common and treatable form" of cancer, but sadly passed away in his "beloved" Dallas following complications from the disease.

Watch Larry Hagman and the cast of Dallas discuss the show's revival with Digital Spy below:



Photo Gallery - Larry Hagman 1931 - 2012:

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